It's Never Too Late to Become What You Were Meant To Be

by Larry Steward, Work In Retirement Coach
(Aiken, SC)

It's taken me a long time to uncover and appreciate what I was truly meant to be. During all my working life, I have reinvented myself so many times I have become a transition expert! But with all the changes I've made along the way, I never felt I was fulfilling my true purpose.

I hope I can inspire those of you who may be on the fence in terms of making a big change, that if I can do this, you too can improve your life by showing up in this group, sharing your story and by being open to making some changes.

I am now 75 and looking forward to this change as the most exciting and rewarding period of my life. It takes some effort and some time but it's worth everything you need to do to start living your life the way you want it to be. Just by being in this group you have a head start, so stick with it.

It was four years ago when it all came together for me. The experience was like being in a dark room and suddenly the lights turned on. I was saying to my wife that my body could not take much more of the home improvement work I was doing and she said - you should consider going back into coaching. Just like that, I knew that was the answer and made a commitment to start the process.

What made this change different than all others before was that it had to include my wife. An important part of our plan was to relocate. For the first time since Susannah and I married over 30 years ago, we decided to finally work together as a team. We succeeded in finding work for both of us on a horse farm and that put our relocation into motion. We left the expense and cold winters of living in the New York area behind as we ended up in Aiken, South Carolina. We were both of retirement age then and had agreed we would continue working but only doing things we enjoyed.

Any transition like that may require paying your dues with other work until you find just what you want, however, as long as you have a purpose and are moving towards it, your life along the way will be changing for the better.

So how do you find your purpose and passion?

You may now be unhappy and tired. You keep thinking to yourself: I need to find something different. But then your brain skitters to a halt because you have no idea where to begin. It feels so overwhelming.

So, you stop thinking about it. And you are back to where you started—unhappy, tired, and totally stuck.

Any of this sound familiar?

It took me a long time to find my ultimate passion. I talked about the need to find my passion all the time. But I couldn’t get my mind around it. It was so big and hard to figure out.

So, I would get overwhelmed, do nothing, and months would pass. And that’s the unexpected problem with the whole concept: For most of us, the idea of “finding our passion” is the same as finding the holy grail—something so insanely big that it only happens to the special few who are supremely talented.

However, before you give up hope, think about it this way. If you break down the components of passion into a formula, it is really just interest + engagement = passion. No really, think about this: When you’re really passionate about something, you’re both interested in it (you think about it, maybe read about it), and engaged in it. You actively participate in it.

The same is true for me in terms of becoming a "Work in Retirement" coach. Not only do I spend a ton of time thinking about both working in retirement and coaching, I read up on everything related to it, I speak on the topic, I write whenever possible (hello, this article!), and I am actively coaching people.

So now it’s your turn: What are you both interested and engaged in right now? What are you not only thinking about, but you are also doing?

Start there. Share your thinking with the group and let us help you along.

Comments for It's Never Too Late to Become What You Were Meant To Be

Click here to add your own comments

I totally agree!
by: Larry Steward / SC

Thanks for filling us in on your work Joe. Good for you - keep it up. I totally agree with your statement - "The ideal would probably be a combination of leisure and work possibilities including hobbies, gigs and other projects". I would like to see more of your comments on this as people start sharing their stories and issues with us.

Retirement Projects
by: Joe W.

Hi Larry! I think that your entrepreneurial process is of textbook quality and a great role model for our discussion group. About my 'Seniorpreneur Project' the topics I cover include lifelong learning, financial education, financial literacy, leadership, and the benefits of social and/or business entrepreneurship for the 50+ demographic. My focus is primarily in the 'research area' for these topics on a global basis. At the present time I'm calling out wherever I hear or see ageism. Locally in the Province of Alberta there is a hands-on study to find out what is missing in our own entrepreneurial eco-system.

I think that Entrepreneurship is for Everyone including the older 50+ entrepreneurs however; at least here anyways ageism is still a huge obstacle which must be addressed for the benefit of all ages. I also believe in collaboration between older and younger entrepreneurs for their own mutual benefit.

It's my understanding that our group here could benefit from some hands-on help in their transition from a traditional job to some real possibilities to work on during their retirement stage. Unfortunately, many seniors are going through some serious personal problems that will make the desired changes more challenging than usual. On the other hand, there are a significant number of Boomers that are not as ambitious and prefer to live a leisure based retirement. The ideal would probably be a combination of leisure and work possibilities including hobbies, gigs and other projects. Before all of this can happen we'll need to consider factors such as health and wellness, risk acceptance and the desire to learn something new everyday.



Hi Joe!
by: Larry Steward / SC

Hi, Joe W. Thanks for your response to my article. I understand you are a retirement coach as well. I am interested to learn more about what you are doing in your work as a Seniorprenuer.

You raised some interesting questions about my story of how the decision was made to return to coaching. You're very perceptive Joe. Let me add some detail. It is true I give my wife credit for seeing something more clearly than I did at the time. I knew I needed to make a change and had not considered all my options at the time she said I should return to coaching.

I have submitted other articles on Retirement-Online about my background but did not include so much in this article. To fill in some background you should know I ran a career management service in New York City for three years before I joined the corporate outplacement firm called Drake Beam Morin. I spent the next 10 years working with executives and managers in mid-career transitions. Much of that work involved supporting those who were interested in starting their own business in some form or another.

I loved that work but I still had a burning desire to start my own business again. The business I decided on was home improvement contracting because after owning six properties over many years and doing much of the fixing up work myself, I knew that was something I enjoyed and by then I had developed some good skills.

The time period was around 1995 when I made this transition. I ruled out starting my own outplacement service as that would require a big investment and a team of people. And, the thought of doing career management services out of my home was not appealing either.

So, after almost 20 years of home improvement work, the suggestion from my wife to return to coaching finally made sense in that the possibility of launching a service on the Internet that could attract people from around the world was mind-boggling to consider. My wife knew how much I enjoyed my previous career management work and how natural I was at presenting workshops and coaching executives in transition.

That was decision number one. I then had to decide what type of coaching should I do and who would be my chosen target audience? As I was in my retirement years at the time and as I learned how many people of the Baby Boom generation were retiring, I knew I would find a need I could serve for this huge wave of people making the challenging transition to retirement. I had my own experience of not only crossing into my retirement years but continuing to work as well. When I learned that so many retirees were not financially prepared and considering to work in their retirement years, my plan was solidified.

I had other options I considered like helping those leaving military life and looking to convert that experience to find work in civilian life. I also considered flipping houses and restoring cars as I had experience in those areas as well.

The idea of working on horse farms started as a conversation about the best way for us to manage a relocation from New York to South Carolina. It was my idea to try working together for a change. We were both involved in different professional careers previously. However, working together was something we previously thought would never work well before. The idea that she as the horse expert and me as the property improvement person was an appealing combination. As it turned out, we got hired right away after finding leads on the Internet.

As I explain to those I coach, often times you need to pay your dues to build the bridge to where you are now to where you want to go next. The relocation goal was an important part of our longterm plan to leave the cold behind, lower our overhead costs, and beef up our savings to reach our next destination. Part of the package when you work on horse farms is that you get free housing to keep you on the property where all the work needs to be done. With both of us working six days a week, being paid cash every week with not much time to send it, and both of us collecting social security, we built up our savings quickly.

Our next move was to pull away from the heavy-duty horse farm work and buy a home to set ourselves up as independents and finally launch our ultimate work plans for our retirement years. In my wife's case, she serves as a free-lance writer and editor for owners of mostly luxury product websites, plus she works part-time in a local saddlery store and has plenty of time to ride her horse in all kinds of events. In my case, I am focused on getting 100% engaged in my Working in Retirement coaching practice that has been in development stages as I continued full time running my other services.

Whose Passion Is It?
by: Joe W.

After reading this article I was intrigued by your process in finding a retirement lifestyle for the both of you. My understanding is that being a "working in retirement" coach or consultant and the idea of a 'horse farm' both of these ideas came from your wife.

In my research, I found that in order to become really passionate and happy about something in retirement we should search for ideas that come from within ourselves and not from outside influences.

I think that it's important that both husband and wife agree on some important retirement activities however; both should still have the freedom to choose. The question is- If you could go back to your pre-retirement stage what would be some of your unfulfilled dreams outside coaching and the horse farm?

Joe W.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Larry Steward: Writer/Blogger .