Let’s face it, for a lot of us who the world calls Boomers, Elders and Older GenXers (anyone 40 and over) life is more challenging today than it was prior to the financial crisis of 2008. We have watched our investment accounts shrink, the value of our homes and real estate decline and our ability to find meaningful employment tumble. Those of us who own or want to start a new small business also find it harder to get loans and, in many instances, our lines of credit have been significantly reduced.
Not a pretty picture, especially when you consider the demographic shift that is happening that will result in more than 50% of our population being over 50 for the first time in history. When you add in the fact that our elected officials at the national, state and local levels do not appear to have our best interests at heart, the picture becomes even less attractive.
In fact, based on the rhetoric that issues daily both sides of the political aisle, a number of these elected officials (especially the fiscal reactionaries in both parties) appear to believe that ‘we’ (the over 50 crowd) are the problem. So they want to reduce or eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, turn social security into a bonus pool for Wall Street and even increase the retirement age. They are hoping, of course, that they won’t have to face the truth that the real problem lies in the unfair tax cuts granted to the wealthiest, the absurd tax incentives given to corporations, many of whom pay little or no taxes at all and their stubborn resistance to implementing a quality, single payer health care system for us, like the one that they benefit from themselves.
Instead the only thing our elected official can talk about is cost cutting. Somehow they seem to have forgotten that you build the future with a combination of real investment and fiscal responsibility not with budget reductions alone. But when someone is only interested in grabbing a bigger piece of the financial pie and accumulating more political power and not the well-being of the majority, our quality of life, fairness and justice, and our national responsibility to take care of our own, then they focus only on the numbers.
So I say it is time those of us who already belong to the over 50 crowd and those of us who are joining us at the rate of 1 every 7 seconds to stop relying on these self-obsessed dandies with limited personal agendas and start doing things for ourselves.
And the first of these things is to admit that we have a lot more power than we sometimes remember – voting power, buying power and knowledge and experience power. In short, we control a significant amount of this country’s wealth, spend more than 2 trillion dollars annually and know how to get things done. And if you have any doubt look at what we have accomplished in civil rights, human rights, woman’s right, the environmental movement and more.
This leads to the second thing we would be smart to do. We have to stop letting those who want to divide us and manipulate us have their way. Instead, we can remember that those of us who are in the second half of life have a lot in more essential things in common than the superficial things people use to separate us. So it is time we start speaking out with one voice on the issues that directly impact our lives today and our future. (You can learn more by becoming a free member of the AgeNation Community at www.AgeNation.Com/Join
We also have to stop listing to those who suggest that we are over the hill and out of luck. We need, in fact, to stand up on our hind legs and bay at the moon of new possibilities. We need to re-invent and/or invigorate our own careers and stabilize and rebuild our financial futures by remembering who we are, by refining our current skills and developing new ones, by redefining our priorities, by learning about great new business and investment opportunities and by taking a close look at the kind of legacy we want to leave to those who follow us.
So how do we do all or some of this? In the coming weeks and months a number of authors and experts will use this column to recommend a variety of practical and necessary things each of us can do to turn our challenges into remarkable opportunities. They will introduce you to new opportunities, share their strategies, and recommend books and articles, and online and live programs you can take. (You can get a jump start on this today by clicking on the THRIVE slide above and getting your free Volume One of this great library of information. You can also click on the FaceBook symbol on the home page or go www.facebook/agenation
In addition, here are a few steps you can take today to get started on the road to reinventing and reinvigorating your career and your life.
1. First Things First –
As the old Chinese adage suggests, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.’ So one of the most important things any of us can do to ensure that we our years ahead are filled with the kind of career opportunities we want, the kind of our financial stability we require and the level of genuine meaning and purpose in our lives we want is to take a close and honest look at how our life is going right now.
You can start by making a list of what is working and what is not. List the resources (tangible things you own, skills you possess, individuals you know, etc.) you have that you can use to meet your practical needs. If you are currently employed, ask yourself if you like what you are doing and if it makes best use of your talents? Do you feel valued and are you contributing something that is worthwhile? Does what you do provide you with the money you need? And what about your physical and emotional health, the quality of your relationships, and our living environment? Yes, the first step in the process of creating the kind of life you want involves your taking stock of “what is” going on here and now.
2. Create A New Vision For This Next Stage Of Your Life –
The second essential thing you can do is to get to work on a new vision for this next stage of your life, one that takes into consideration the things you have identified as currently working and not working. This is your starting point.
And please remember the more specific you make your new vision, the easier and quicker it will be to manifest the kind of life you want for as the old cliché goes – if you don’t know where you are going, you’re likely to end up there.”
So take the time to describe the essential elements of this new life. And be bold and imaginative. Make it an ideal scene and not just something you settle for. And even if you believe this ideal scene is out of reach for you at this moment based on where you are at the moment, do it anyway. Let your heart and your imagination loose. What do you really want to do to earn a living and contribute something of value? What skills do you need to work in this field or to open that kind of business you want? Where do you want to live? What kind of financial stability do you want to have?
Don’t forget to include your personal relationships in your ideal scene. Your health, the contributions you want to make to your family, your community, and to the future. And remember be bold and imaginative because you have the right to live the life you were born to live.
Finally please remember Management Guru, Peter Drucker’s sage advice, “If you want to know the future invent it.” For in the end, “we are the ones we have been waiting for.”
And this is only the beginning. As I said, in the coming weeks leading authors and experts on careers will share their insights, strategies and opportunities with you here in this column. You can also learn more by joining the AgeNation Community for free at www.agenation.com/join. And don’t forget to get your free copy of Thrive, Volume One, it includes insights from Mark Victor Hansen, Dr. Hyla Cass, Jeddah Mali, Michael Gelb, Robin Fisher Roffer and Sedena and myself
So here’s to a bright and remarkable tomorrow that we can start living today! Here’s to all of us being able to say – “Over the hill and out of luck? Not a chance!”
George Cappannelli is co-Founder of AgeNation and President and CEO of The Information and Training Company. He is an world-class consultant, author and expert on change. Over the last 25 years he has worked with hundreds of leading organizations, the people who run them and hundreds of thousands of individuals in the public sector. He books include: Say Yes To Change, Authenticity, It’s About Time, I Dream of A New America and the soon to be released, Do Not Go Quietly, A Guide To Conscious Living and Wise Aging in the 21st Century. For more information on consulting and coaching services visit www.agenation.com/consulting or www.georgecappannelli.com.
Category: Careers/Skills Development