Reinventing your life – What really works?
The whole ‘life reinvented, life reimagined’ mini-universe continues to grow, as one would expect, given the fact that Boomers make up about a quarter of the entire population of the U.S., and every year, every month, more of those Boomers join the over-sixty and ‘retired’ cohort.
Browsing through the AARP Life Reimagined website, launched in 2013, raises a question or two. One thing that shows up repeatedly on the site are links to news stories, videos and websites where we see people telling stories about the sudden inspiration that launched them on a new career, or giving advice to those who haven’t yet been blessed with a new insight, about how to make that happen. Or laying out the six essential steps to invigorating reinvention.
So I imagine the guy we are trying to reach – he’s sitting on the porch of his summer cottage on a little lake somewhere near Traverse City, MI, laptop in front of him, and reading this stuff. He’s been reading it, or something like it, for weeks, hoping to get a clue that will launch him on his next mission in life.
He’s got to be thinking, “Enough of stories about other guys! I’m glad they’re finding their passion. I don’t happen to want to do any of this stuff that seems to light their fire. What do I do, or where do I go, to find something that connects personally and individually to me? Where do I find someone or some thing which takes me through my own, personal set of hopes, wants, needs, concerns and fears, to get me to a vision, a goal, a vivid little mind-movie that tells me where I’m going?”
Well, one of the answers that guy is likely to get, if he asks some of his friends that very question, is “It’s obvious! Get a Life Coach. You’re lucky, we are living in a time when there are so many people struggling with exactly what you are struggling with that the universe has answered by supplying an entire new version of what we used to call consultants, or shrinks, who now specialize in what has come to be called ‘Life Coaching’. For anything ranging from $50 to $300 an hour you can have extended phone conversations, or face-to-face sessions, with someone who will ask you questions about you, and feed back what they are hearing, until you come up with what you really want to do.”
There’s clearly something to be said for this approach. Primarily, it’s not about giving advice about what to do, or telling stories about other folks who have figured it out. Instead, it focuses on the ‘coaching’ or ‘facilitating’ dimension of giving help – applying ‘coaching’ models, essentially exploring and asking questions, to help the ‘client’ figure things out for himself. It’s probably the only approach that really sticks – what the client figures out for himself is what he is in fact going to do.
So, take it one step further – imagine going down that self-exploratory road with a bunch of other guys who are struggling with exactly the same question at this moment in their lives – “WTF is next?” Get a chance to hear some other stories, face-to-face, not about fabulous second careers, but instead about other guys’ experience with the struggle of not knowing what to do, and of the feelings of anxiety or concern that come along with that. And, maybe, the spouse that watches the struggle, and says, “Harry, you’ve got to figure something out and get off that couch.”
Then, with the same bunch of guys* and a couple of facilitators, or ‘coaches’, ask yourself and each other the questions about your particular and very personal set of interests, concerns, wants, needs, hopes, fears, passions – what are those, and maybe most importantly, what’s keeping you stuck? The proposition is, and the actual results suggest, that going through an experience like this, in a short, focused period of time, with other struggling and motivated people, will get immediate results. You emerge with a direction…and that’s exactly what’s needed, ‘a direction’ and easily doable first steps.
*We are often asked, “Why only men?”
Because we’re two men who have addressed these very same issues…because we understand men and what they need to get unstuck, and get on with the rest of their lives. A women’s module is in development…with qualified women as part of the team.