I’ve reached the age and stage where most of my career is behind me. It wasn’t that long ago when I was on that hamster wheel working hard to progress and demonstrate my potential to senior management. The time went by so fast and it still surprises me that I’m now the oldest one in the room at every meeting. However, I’m still energized by the opportunity to add value by leveraging my thirty years of experience and developing the next generation of HR leaders. I thrive when I’m working in my areas of strength, I’m challenged intellectually, and I can tap into my passion for developing others. The truth is we all want to thrive regardless of our age and stage.
Unfortunately, many people get to this point in their careers and they are just biding their time until retirement. It’s so easy to slip into survival mode when you’re not inspired or motivated at work. Yet, we all have a choice. We can fight to remain valid while the world changes around us, we can retire on the job and wait until someone else makes the choice for us, or we can learn how to thrive. Thriving is not about being promoted or achieving a specific position, it’s being energized by knowing that you’re adding value. I’d like to recommend seven strategies for thriving well into the later years beyond eligibility to retire.
1. Focus on giving instead of getting. One of the seven habits of highly effective people is to look for the win/win. However, at this stage, our focus should be on helping others to win. Think of yourself as a servant and be generous with your time and information. I find that when others win, we all win.
2. Define your wheelhouse. By this age, you know what you’re good at and what motivates you. Consider what inspires you and what you’re passionate about. When you are thriving your performance is outstanding because you are leveraging your strengths.
3. Clarify how you add value. By knowing and communicating what you bring to the table. Be intentional about communicating how you contribute and volunteering to do work in those areas. Opportunity won’t knock unless there is a door.
4. Rebrand yourself as a consultant. Your wisdom is valuable. Every business challenge can benefit from understanding the historical context for the problem. You are a living encyclopedia of knowledge so become a trusted advisor. Describe yourself as an internal consultant.
5. Invest in the success of others. Look for ways to train others in the areas where you are highly skilled. This is an opportunity to create a lasting legacy within the organization.
6. Practice contentment. If you constantly focused on getting more, you’ll never have enough. Learn the art of gratitude and you’ll find more contentment with life and all of the things you’ve enjoyed along the way.
7. Manage your energy not your time. Balance is elusive. However, you learn when and what your body needs over time. Eat healthy snacks. Get plenty of rest. Plan your leave based on things that restore your energy. When you manage your energy, you find you have more time to do the important things.
This is my list of things that help me to keep thriving. It’s no longer about the job itself. It’s about having the right mindset. Let’s set our intentions on continuing to thrive because life isn’t over yet!