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What will you put on your business card? – Reinventing Yourself after 50

  |   reinventing yourself after 50

by Larry Gard, Ph.D

who am I?In the next decade scores of baby boomers will be thinking of retiring or selling their businesses.  For most people this feels like uncharted territory, a bit like reinventing yourself after 50.  Here are some questions these individuals ought to consider:

1. Have you accomplished professionally what you had hoped to?  If not, can you accept what remains unfinished?
2. How do you imagine other people will think about you and treat you once they find out you’ve retired and/or sold your business?  How will you respond when someone asks you “what do you do for a living”?
3. How will you structure your time?  Will you need to have a new routine in place immediately or will you be comfortable allowing one to emerge gradually?
4. What are your assumptions and beliefs?  What do you anticipate will happen once you decide to stop working?  Are you clinging to assumptions that may not be warranted?
5. How will your roles change (in your family, company, community) once you leave work?  How will it feel to relinquish some of these roles, and what new ones might you take on?
6. Can you tolerate not being involved in business decisions, not being in the loop, etc.?

Other points:

If you wait until the exit decision feels perfectly right, you might be waiting a long time.  Don’t expect that this decision will be without some misgivings and uncertainty.  Use those feelings to further inform your planning process but don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by them.  Work with skilled, trusted advisors who can make sure that you’ve examined all aspects of the matter.

To manage this life transition successfully you must be honest with yourself – not just about what is important to you moving forward but also about what concerns you.  For example, some people remain in their business long after they should because they have no idea what they want to do next. They continue to work, by default and sometimes against their own interests, because they’re unwilling or unable to grapple with what the alternatives might be.

My last piece of advice for business owners and late career professionals is the same that I give to people attending a party:  Leave while you’re still having a good time!

About the Author:

Larry Gard is a consulting psychologist at Hamilton-Chase Consulting in Chicago USA.  He is also an STPI-trained Transition Advisor.  You can learn more about Larry on his profile here.


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