So what happens when the day finally arrives for you to set the steering wheel down and finally take the rest you’ve worked so hard to achieve? How do you build an empowered retirement?
As an entrepreneur or leader in a business or organization, you have been tasked with a monumental task:
- Craft a strategic vision.
- Develop business plans.
- Implement strategy.
- Inspire teams… the list goes on into a never-ending churn of entrepreneurial drive.
Early morning flights, late-night meetings, and countless opportunities define the life of a passion-struck leader.
However, for many passion-struck leaders and entrepreneurs, retirement is both a hope and a nightmare. While you hope that your job is preparing you for the financial security of retirement, your relentless drive and passion can make you wonder what exists on the other side of that fateful day. Will there still be goals to reach, jobs to complete? Desires to see come to fruition?
For Giles Stewart, a tech-sector intrapreneur who recently retired from a career spanning companies such as GE, NBC, Lowe’s, Dell, and Acelity, discovering his passion for life in retirement required him to return to the reason his career flourished — an invitation to empowerment.
The Invitation To Empowerment
Before you can discover your passion potential in retirement, you must start with the journey that led you there.
At some point, every individual reaches a crossroads when they must reckon why they exist in their role and their career. Far too many potential passion-struck leaders never realize the full extent of what they have to offer. Instead, they spend most of their vocational lives allowing others to guide them toward a future they would have never chosen for themselves.
Simply put, they’ve never been invited to participate in crafting the vision. They’ve never been empowered to realize that they themselves can drive, guide, and lead rather than follow.
For Giles, that invitation to an empowered retirement came when he was asked a simple question while helping lead the charge of IT development at Lowe’s Home Improvement. While trying to live out the expectations placed on him for his role, Giles had an encounter with John Miles — who was supervising Giles at the time — that changed how he viewed his life forever:
“I remember you looking at me, John, and you said, You know, it’s fine that I have my vision for this IT command center. But, Giles, what is your vision for the command center?
In my whole career up to that moment, no one had ever asked me that question.
Nobody had ever empowered me to make a difference based on my vision.”
Many never realize their full personal and vocational potential until they are shaken from their slumber by the alarm bells of passion. By accepting that invitation to unleash his own passion, Giles discovered an entrepreneur’s strength and energy that helped him thrive the rest of his career.
I carry that same energy with me now. From that one moment to the next day, the next job, and until the day I retired. I still carry that energy with me — that passion and that vision to make something my own. I’m thankful that I was asked that question that day.
So why do so many passion-struck leaders lose their edge when it’s finally time to put down the project list and budget lines? To truly take advantage of the last chapters of life, those who were once driven by the opportunity to change the world must take that empowered invitation into the next season.
How To Build An Empowered Retirement
How does one build an empowered retirement that leaves an impact? The answer may be found in preparing yourself to take the power your vocation gave you into your final chapter.
1. Make a Choice to Accept The Invitation Once More
Giles’s experience at Lowes led him to take on more significant challenges in his career than he could have ever imagined. From impacting culture at IT firms to leading IT development initiatives at Dell, the invitation to empowerment carried him to that fateful day when all he had worked for could finally pay off.
Yet, for Giles, the early days of retirement left him searching for meaning. Once again, he wasn’t living the life he designed. He was living out the world’s idea of retirement — hobbies, relaxation, and rest.
I was never really a guy with big hobbies. My passion was always my work. So in retirement, I kind of let myself go. I gained weight, my health going downhill, and I was struggling with high blood pressure. I got to a point where I said, “I have to do something about this.”
The key for Giles and so many other passion-struck leaders is to hear and accept the invitation to an empowered life. When you decide that you must do something about your life, you can design that life you want to live once more.
2. Reignite The Spark Of Passion
The drive that led you to success in your career doesn’t just disappear. Sometimes it goes dormant, waiting for that moment when it is sparked to life by invitation to something greater.
For Giles, he tried to regain his health with various exercise regimens to no avail. It wasn’t until he was introduced to rowing that the spark reignited the flame of passion in his life.
My wife had gone to Florida to visit her parents and her brother. She learned that her brother had taken up indoor rowing because he had some of the same issues as me. She came home and said, “Why don’t you give rowing a try?”
That invitation was the spark that ignited a passion that overflowed into every aspect of his life. Soon Giles’s rowing led him to a healthier lifestyle, a new interest, and a reason to share his passion with the world.
3. Share Your Passion
Retirement isn’t the end of your impact potential. In fact, it can be the best place to share your wisdom, experience, and passion with those coming behind you.
Giles’s newfound passion for rowing led him from the exercise room to the keyboard.
“I decided I wanted to write about rowing. It started with how important it was to me, and I wanted to share the benefits that I’ve experienced from it.
Then, in one of my recent blogs, I talked about the correlation between rowing and mindfulness. That opened the door to a brand new way that I could share about how mindfulness and exercise can be used to boost focus and performance in every season of life.”
Like Giles, those who have made the journey to retirement have vast amounts of wisdom and clarity those who are just starting out need. Not only can they encourage those just getting started in their vocations, but they can pass the baton to those nearing the end of their careers to transition to an empowered retirement lifestyle.
Giles took the invitation that was extended to him years earlier to create the life he wanted to live and carried that power into his retirement. While he may have been sidetracked here and there, the invitation of passion-struck leadership never leaves those who have accepted the call.
Empower Today To Prepare For Tomorrow
So how will you use your retirement to change the world? If you aren’t there yet, how can you take the invitation to an empowered life to lead as a passion-struck leader? How you start planning today — both financially and passionately — will determine who you will become when you get there and the empowered retirement you create.
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