027: Finding Adventure & Purpose Later in Life with Hans Finzel and Rick Hicks
Hans Finzel hates the term retirement – and he really hates the idea that retired people don’t have anything to offer the world. He and his friend Rick Hicks are both PhDs and former CEOs who left their roles as they approached the age of 60, but they now spend their time conducting studies, researching, and writing.
In their new book, Launch Your Encore: Finding Adventure & Purpose Later in Life, they share real examples of individuals who have transitioned from full-time jobs to volunteer work, ministry, or even entire second careers. They want you to craft a game plan for life after your main career that will position you to succeed personally and make positive contributions to society – and never think about the idea of retirement the same way again.
Today, Hans and Rick join the podcast to talk about why hanging out on the couch for 30 years isn’t a viable option, the importance of passing the torch on to others, the dangers of losing touch with the outside world, and a variety of exercises you can use to envision – and realize – your second act, even as you’re still in your first. You’ll hear a number of stories about highly intentional, powerful encores – and how you can build a healthy, satisfying life in retirement.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- Why some people love – and others hate – the idea of retirement.
- The reason your risk of depression and suffering from physical conditions goes up as much as 40% when you retire – and how you can avoid these dangers as you transition out of your first act.
- What you should do to prepare for your future if you’re approaching retirement age, don’t have a Plan B, and lack the savings needed to retire.
- The reason “elderlescence” is becoming a stage of many life cycles – and the developmental task that defines this phase.
- How Hans and his wife found their greatest contributions going forward as he prepared to transition into retirement.
- Why boomers who are hanging on to jobs for the wrong reasons need to power through fear, launch encores, and get out of their comfort zones.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. It’s comfortable to stay in that position and it’s uncomfortable to think about moving on, but that’s where life is going to begin for you and where your encore is going to begin for you.” – Hans Finzel
Launch Your Encore Personal Workbook
From Chapter Eight: Try A Life Map
Launch Your Encore: Finding Adventure and Purpose Later in Life
MillennialBoom: Helping Millennials and Boomers Thrive Together in the Workplace
Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition
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Casey: Welcome to the Retire With Purpose Podcast. This is your host, Casey Weade, and joining me today we have two very special people. We have Hans Finzel and Rick Hicks, both PhDs and we’re going to be focusing on their book titled Launch Your Encore: Finding Adventure and Purpose Later in Life. Welcome to the podcast, gentlemen.
Hans: Thanks. Good to be with you.
Rick: Good to be with you. Yeah.
Casey: Well, hey, I’ve got to kick off with the obvious question. You told me I had to ask as we kick this thing off and that is how did you go about writing the book. I just find it really interesting as I dove into the first quarter of that book and finding that this was kind of a new thing that you guys were studying that hadn’t really been studied before. So, what was it that brought you to a point to say, “Hey, we need to write this book, we need to do this study, we need to get this out there?”
Hans: Okay. Well, I’ll start then Rick could pick it up but, first of all, I hate the word retirement. I don’t think it’s a biblical term, it’s not the Bible, and as I got older and started losing my hair, eventually people will start asking you, “Are you retired yet?” and I absolutely hate that question because I don’t believe in it because to me, it kind of oozes the idea that I’m no longer worth anything. I have retired to the couch. So, Rick and I have been friends for a long time. We were both CEOs of major mission agencies, global missionary agencies, and that’s how we got to know each other through a fellowship of mission executives. And when we both reached about 60 years of age, we just had this feeling that we needed to move on to the next thing to let the younger generation lead. As boomers, you know, one of our tendencies is to dominate and to keep dominating when we need to step back and let the next generations take over. So, we knew we needed to kind of move on, but we didn’t believe in retirement, so we started thinking encore. What can we do next that’s actually going to be, could be more fulfilling than what we’ve done in our main act career? I was a CEO for 20 years and that was a lot of work and a lot of joy and a lot of purpose and so we started thinking what are we going to do next? And then we decided let’s write about our journey. That’s my story. I’m sticking with it.
Casey: Yeah. And, Rick, you have kind of studied life transitions. Is that correct?
Rick: Yeah. I have a Ph.D. in Developmental and Organizational Psychology, simply put, how you grow and develop over time and apply that in a work environment. I’ve always been interested in what happens at different stages of life. You know, when you’re 20, certain things going on in your world and you have to deal with or you’re 40. Further in 60 is different. Yeah. So, my growing up was kind of fun because I always knew what was coming next and I started studying this stuff pretty early. When I was in my 20s, I actually knew psychologically what would be coming in my 30s because I’ve studied it. When I was in my 50s, I knew what would be coming in my 40s. I was kind of in a sense one step ahead of the game, knowing what these little tasks would be and we have these tasks all the way through to the end of our life. Well, every decade I kind of knew what was coming next. Well, when I got into my 50s, I kind of been reading more about what’s going to happen in the 60s and when you turn 60 and beyond, it’s like virtually nothing written on them. All the developmental psychologists, old guys that study this, they kind of take it right up to 60 and they kind of go, “Well, good luck, guys. There’s not much after that. So…”
Casey: Emily, could we pause for a second?
Casey: Emily, is there any way that you could offer any advice to Rick to make sure we’re not getting this voice fluctuation? He’s cutting out a lot and I’m having trouble understanding him.
Hans: Rick, do you have headphones like I do?
Rick: Yeah. Let me get my wife’s headphone.
Hans: Yeah. It’s not working. I’m having a hard time hearing him myself. Shoot, I should’ve – well he and I have done a lot of these but…
Emily: You know, if his wife has a Mac and they have earbuds, they can use the same earbuds you’re using, Hans.
Hans: Yeah. They do. She does have a Mac I’m pretty quite sure.
Emily: Well, actually, yeah, she has a laptop and he has those earbuds, it’ll work.
Hans: Yeah. I think that – yeah, that audio just wasn’t working.
Emily: I couldn’t get back over to the computer as soon as Casey was going, “Emily.” He’s like tripping over chairs here. Okay, Rick.
Rick: How are we now? Are we better now?
Emily: Did you plug it in?
Rick: I plugged it in. I can hear you in my earbuds. Can you hear me?
Hans: Yes. That’s better for sure.
Emily: All right. So, I recommend.
Rick: How about the first try we’ll get this.
Emily: I recommend that you start with when they turned it over to you.
Hans: Yeah. That’s a good place because I finished mine and I said, “Hey, it’s my story. I’m sticking with it,” which you can cut out if you want to.
Emily: Right. No, that’s fine. So, I’m going to go on mute and Hans has just turned it over to you, Rick.
Rick: Okay. Well, I got interested in writing this book because I’ve always kind of been interested in what happens at different stages of life. I have a Ph.D. in Developmental and Organizational Psychology, and that’s simply studying what happens at different stages of your life and how you apply that in a work environment. So, I’ve always kind of been ahead of the game in the sense that I knew what was coming in the next decade of my life because I’d studied it. So, when I was in my 20s, I kind of knew what the developmental tasks were in my 30s, so I could prepare for them when I was in my 30s, 40s, and so on. Well, when I got to my 50s, I kind of started looking ahead to say, what’s going to be taking place when I’m in my 60s? And there was not much written at all in that topic. And so, all the writers, all the developmental psychologists, and the Christian writers, and all these guys they kind of all stopped at 60, and they kind of say, “Good luck. I hope something happens well.” And the theory used to be that you would kind of retire at 65 and die at 68, then you didn’t have to worry about it. But now people are dying at 68 or 78 or even now even 88.
People are living so once you retire whatever retirement means, and again both Hans and I agree, we’re not big fans of the phrase, retirement, but once you stop your main thing, what are you going to do when people used to say, “Well, I’ll just kind of hang out and hang out with the grandkids and maybe get an extra golf in.” But now that you’ve got maybe 30 years left after that, it’s really you need to be intentional about how you’re going to find meaning and purpose in that last 30 years of your life, which we call the encore and so the whole book is laid out the same. Think about where you’ve been, think about where you’re going, you may have 30 great years left, and that’s actually got me interested in the topic.
Casey: Well, you have both said that you hate the word retirement and you said I think a few times in the book and I find that it’s not the case with everybody that I meet with. There are some that I sit down with that just absolutely love retirement. They love the idea of retirement. They love the word retirement. It’s just this glory land that they look forward to their entire lives. And then there are others that won’t, I mean, I’ve got a new book coming out called Job Optional. The original title was Retire With Purpose and I had some feedback reveals that, “I don’t want to retire and I don’t like the idea of retirement, so why would I ever pick up this book?” I like the idea of Job Optional a little bit better and that appeals to a broader audience. So, why is it that with all the interviews that you’ve done, the coaching that you’ve done over the years, what do you think it is that some people just really hate retirement and other people really love the idea of retirement? What’s different between these two?
Rick: You want me to take that first, Hans?
Hans: Sure. You go for it.
Rick: Well, a lot of them has to do with how you feel about your work and when you’re exiting the workforce and I know a guy that’s 92 years old goes to work every day, started the company, loves the company. The guy is going to die with his boots on, he finds meaning and purpose in his work, he’s been able to adjust it, and he finds meaning, purpose, and joy in work. I have kind of a little part-time thing that I do right now. I feel the same way. I don’t want to stop what I’m doing. So, if you enjoy that then it’s like, “Well, why would I want to stop and just sit around and watch TV all day long?” On the other end, there are people that kind of so they want to kind of keep it going. Now, we have a section in the book we call that kind of rolling retirement and that is you may not be doing it full time but you’re still going to stay in, in case you enjoy it. There are others that’s just work has been work. They haven’t found joy, they haven’t found meaning, and they just say, “As soon as I can get out of this workforce, I want to,” and to them, we say, “Great. Get out if you want to call it retirement, you can call it retirement, but our point is, you still have to find meaning and purpose and it’s going to look different than it did in the workforce.” What would you add to that, Hans?
Hans: I think it has a lot to do with wiring. Casey, you’re absolutely correct. Some people, as we interviewed them, love the thought of doing nothing and others hated the thought. I think about I have a friend in South Carolina. His name is Ed and he’s retired. He’s my age, but he’s been retired for 10 years. He has three homes. One in the mountains, one on the beach, one on the lake. He and his wife spent all their time traveling and goofing off and he’s wired such that that’s – I just was hanging out with him two weeks ago and jet skiing and I was like, “He just doesn’t care about doing anything meaningful or purposeful. He just loves playing,” and I decided it’s a wiring thing. And I’m wired, you know, my StrengthsFinder’s profile is strategic maximizer. I’m a type A person. I’m a high D. If I’m not doing something that’s contributing, I’m not happy with myself, but I’m not everybody and I think one thing Rick and I learned is you can’t paint the entire retirement landscape with one brush. It depends a lot on the person’s wiring and personality.
Casey: And you talk a lot about this idea of meaning and purpose and you say in the book the boomers need to be intentional about finding that meaning and purpose. And I would think that even those that love the idea of retirement, they hate the idea of retirement, regardless of that is, maybe that meaning and purposes is skiing. Maybe that meaning and purpose is spending time with grandkids or sitting on the porch and reading books. Why do you think it’s so important for boomers to be intentional about finding meaning and purpose?
Hans: Well, I’ll start with that and I think that the boomers could be the largest volunteer army in the history of the church and that’s one thing that think about all that wisdom and knowledge and how many churches need help and even volunteerism. I don’t like that term either because it almost sounds like, “Well, it can’t be really important work because you don’t get paid.” We got to get over that because I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to give back, to do good, to help the church, to help missions, to help ministries. So, to me, for both of those, that’s another message we want to convey is, “Hey, maybe in your career, you didn’t have enough time to really do all you want to do for the church but now you do so think about it and get engaged.”
Rick: Yeah. I think I would add to that that even depending on what you want to do after you don’t do your main act anymore, so the encore, you just need a reason to get up in the morning. That’s kind of what we’re talking about in the meaning and purpose idea is if you just you have nothing to do, you’re going to get up, you’re going to watch TV, you’re going to go to bed. After a while that wears on you and Henri Nouwen wrote an interesting article and it has to do with how you’re going to look at life and how it impacts even your health, and he talks about when you get to this kind of fork in the road of your life, if one serves no demands on you showing up to work and doing things, if you just sit around and you’re kind of in a bathrobe couch person, eventually that’s going to actually have a negative impact on your health, on your mental ability, on your ability to relate to society,” and he calls that going to the dark side.
Now, he wrote this, by the way, before Star Wars was written and all that and he calls that the dark side and he says, “Or you can choose to go to the light and that is be thankful, be engaged, give back to community.” Even if you’re the Jet Ski guy that just wants to go around and have fun, you’re going to be a positive person in the community. You’re going to share some of the wisdom you have and that doesn’t necessarily mean a job or work. It just means a positive way to contribute to society. And the study shows that your health is going to be much better if you’re actually going to the light if you have that reason to get up and you’re going to live longer so that’s one of the reasons.
Casey: Well, you’d stated in that section of the book, on the dark side that retirement is found to increase the chances of suffering from clinical depression by 40% and a 60% increase when it comes to suffering from physical conditions. And this is I think what started as entering the dark side, as you called it. So, can you just expand on what the dark side is? What is the dark side and not as it applies to movies necessarily, but how it applies to retirement?
Rick: Well, let me make it as simple as possible. If you get up in the morning and you have no one to talk to, you have nowhere to go, you have nothing to do, and you literally just sit on your couch all day long, you just start going inward and you don’t have the ability to grow, to develop, to expand. Then again, I think it’s an important part of life. I think God put us in our heart that we serve, that we’d be part of a community. That’s the concept of the church that we don’t just get up on Sunday morning and say, “I can read some Psalm and I can sing a hymn.” We have to be a community. So, on a dark side is if you just go and do your own little living room cave, then you just kind of start losing touch with people, then your grandkids don’t want to come over to grandma’s weird house or grandpa’s in this case. It’s like, “Why? Her house smells funny and she’s weird and her hair,” and all of a sudden, you just start detaching from society and it really you spiral down. We kind of all know those bathrobe type people. It could be male or female of course. So, that’s the idea of that you just kind of – you just start to stay on your own and you really lose touch with life and that just takes an emotional impact in a huge way.
Casey: I’ve seen people enter this so-called dark side. So, I guess, how do you know that you’re starting to head that way? How do you know that you’re headed towards the dark side? And how do you make sure that you don’t end up there? What advice would you give people to escape the dark side maybe if they’re already there for that matter?
Rick: You want to take that, Hans? Or you want me?
Hans: Well, one thing that you notice is withdrawal. I mean, Rick already mentioned you turning inward. I see it as a withdrawal. This happened to my father-in-law after my mother-in-law died. He’s in his 80s and after she died, he wouldn’t go out of the house, he wouldn’t take care of himself, and that’s what I call a dark withdrawal. You lose your friends, you don’t hang out anymore, you don’t go out and do stuff, and it’s a withdrawal. It’s a sad shutting down and withdrawal and that’s the best way I can describe it.
Casey: Have you met anybody that’s been in that stage, just deep into that stage that maybe you’ve helped get out?
Hans: I can’t think of anybody, myself. Rick, I don’t know if you’ve seen anybody turn it around. For me and my father-in-law, it was kind of frustrating because we confronted him about it, but he just didn’t care and sadly he withered away in that dark side.
Casey: Do you think there’s a way out? Or once we get there and we’re stuck…
Hans: I know there’s a way out. Go out. Every community nowadays there are 8,000 to 10,000 baby boomers who are turning 65 every day. Every community across America is now catering to us giving options, classes of men’s opportunities. Yeah. Just get out of your house, take a swim, exercise class, take a computer class. I was at the Apple Store the other day. It was kind of cool because there are all these old baby boomers around the training table, getting trained how to use their computers. And I thought, “See, that’s what you do. You get out, you learn, you grow, and you stay involved.” So, that’s the way to do it. Just put on your clothes and get out of the house. That’s what Rick and I both advise people who were going down that withdrawal stage.
Rick: You know, I don’t know if I’m a big fan of this but when you look at all of these retirement communities that are cropping up all over the country en masse. Just down the road from where I live there are 55,000 people who live in a retirement community. My sister lives one at by Palm Springs another 45,000. Now, there are pros and cons and I’m not trying to promote those but one of the upsides of those things are you could go out to dinner every night in their little dining room and you have people to interact with. They do have things to get involved within the community, but then back to what Hans was saying is, you know, in the book we give this whole list of ways that you can be engaged in the community of take some your experience and maybe teach or volunteer at a local college, do classes at your church, just get involved in that way, community centers, volunteering at schools.
There’s just all kinds of things but if you want to take that acquired wisdom that you have and apply it, there’s all kinds of places where we can do it and the biggest feedback that I get from that is like, “Well, in my life, I haven’t acquired any skills or I don’t really have anything to offer society,” and I would say and this is the way to get people into the kind of mentoring and helping younger people, if you don’t talk about anything other than your failure, you can help a younger society really keep out of some major snags of life. And a lot of people don’t admit that they have these successes or big victories in their life, but we can all admit that we have failures and if we can just say, “Hey, you know what, when I was 18, I did this. This is really stupid. Don’t do this.” Just share your failures is an awesome way to help other people not go down that same road.
Casey: Well, you talk a lot about the benefits of wisdom and sharing your wisdom in the book. I loved one of the things that you mentioned, which is just make a list of the top 10 things that you’re really good at and that you could share with others if you had the chance. How was that strategy helpful for you? And one of the things you said that I like, you said, “I don’t think that people can just google this stuff.”
Hans: Yeah. You know Rick and I both, we haven’t really shared the rest of our story, but we both resigned our CEO positions early whereas people expected us to go until 65, 66, by the way, which is a total society arbitrary number, but it’s become the cultural norm. We both decided when we turned 60 to allow our organization replace us with younger people, but we were very intentionally pursuing our encore and it’s been, okay, six years later, it’s been an exciting journey for both of us. Rick, you can speak for yourself, but for me, it’s a time when I now can do the things I love the most. I love what I do, and I do what I love. In the main act career, you often have to do things that are unpleasant. But at this stage, I can choose who I work with. I can choose the kind of work that I do, and it’s been very fulfilling.
Casey: Well, you talk in the book about hitting the lottery and asking yourself that question. If you hit the lottery, what would you do next? What would be an incentive? That’s asking a question what would be your encore? And sometimes I think on the way to retirement, it just doesn’t feel like we’ve hit the lottery yet but when we transition retirement, we really have a solid financial plan and we know that we’ve always got that to fall back on. We’ve got retirement income. It’s kind of like hitting the lottery because we don’t have to work anymore, and we can start really focusing on the things that we get the most joy out of.
Hans: Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up, Casey, because we do need to address the people that have not won the lottery.
Rick: Yeah, that’s right. That’s where I was going to go too. Go ahead and I’ll…
Hans: Because after we wrote this book, we’ve gotten emails from people and they’re like, “Hey, you know what, I don’t have that magical situation. I am stuck in my job and I have not prepared financially for retirement. I can’t stop working and I’m in a rut. What do I do? So, there are a lot of folks that don’t have this magical opportunity that Rick and I had to sort of configure a life the way we wanted. So, we probably should address to those people a little bit and the first thing that I like to tell somebody like that is, “Work on a Plan B while you’re still in your Plan A.” Yes, you have to keep working but I’ll find if I dig into their psyche and who they are, that they do have other things like, yes, the question, well, if you had enough money, what would you do? And then you start finding out what their real true love and I say, “We’ll try to work, do that on the side while you’re still doing your day job and maybe God will open the door as the years go on for you to transition to the thing you love. So, that’s an important thing to remember.
Casey: Well, I think that’s really important and maybe this is a question kind of directed towards Rick, talking about these life transitions. One of the things you’ve said is transitions made by choice rather than imposed are much easier to navigate and you went on to talk little bit about ounce of stability and I wondered if what you said there is, it doesn’t have to be hard, hard transition if we’ve already identified or started create this second identity, can it lead us down that path a little smoother and it doesn’t have to be as hard of a transition. Does that make sense?
Rick: Well, yeah. To me, and this is just a follow up with what Hans was saying is that there just comes a time in life when you know there’s going to be some kind of a change. But even before that, I think when it comes with transition, I tell people, “Everybody is going to leave their job at some point.” Okay. You’re going to leave your job. Hans left his. I left one of mine. We’re all going to leave our job. Now, you can either stay in your job where you’re no longer effective and you’re kind of fading out and they ask you to leave. That’s called by the way getting fired. You can stay in your job until you just are exhausted and you kind of walk out one day and say, “I’m not going to do this anymore.” Or you can just kind of say, “You know what, if I’m going to leave, how do I want to leave? When do I want to leave? And do I have something to leave to?” Now, that’s kind of what this book is about. It’s developing a strategy. Now, by the way, this happens if anybody’s listening to this and they’re in their 30s or 40s and 50s, you’re still going to leave a job at some point. This applies to everybody but we’re talking about when you end up probably leaving your last main job. So, if you’re one of the people that will say, “I don’t have retirement. I have some medical issues. I’m boxed in, we’re trying to say at least take a look at this and see how you can be intentional about stepping out.
If you actually go to your bosses and actually kind of negotiate an exit plan, sometimes you get a little more out of it. Sometimes it goes a little easier. Sometimes you can even stay on as a consultant or an advisor or help coach the next person along. So, the whole idea here is know that you’re going to leave, have a strategy, and then the book would say, “Before you get to that…” So, we technically wrote this book to people that are like 55 and it’s like you’re not thinking about retirement then, but I will tell you developmentally and I can’t prove this, but I’ve talked to so many people, when you get to about 55 and you start thinking, “I have more years behind me than I have ahead of me. I know I’m not going to do this forever. Some people really love their job and want to stay in it, but some people say, “If I have to do one more budget or if I have to do one more cycle of this or one more lesson plan,” they get to a point where they say, “I just don’t want to do this anymore.” Maybe 55, they may be doing it for five more years but that’s when they’re starting to develop that encore.
If you’re a teacher and you don’t want to teach anymore, what can you do that you like, and this is now being intentional going back seeing what you’ve enjoyed, what are some things that you can start adding into your life if you volunteer one evening a week? And you kind of go, “Oh, I don’t really like doing that either?” Well, then you find something else and you keep experimenting until you say, “I can find something that I actually enjoy doing.” You do a little more and a little more then maybe negotiate with your job and you go, “Hey, how about if I because I’m getting older, what if I go four days a week?” And then you do one day a week that what your encore is. So, if you have a plan, the more you have a plan, the more likely you’re going to find something that brings meaning.
Casey: Sure. Even if we love our jobs, we find meaning and purpose, where we’re currently at. It might not always be that way. Eventually, we may be forced into retirement. So, starts thinking about and start planning today. I really like that idea and that concept. Rick, I want to ask why this almost obsession that you’ve had over the years with life transitions and these different developmental stages? Why has this become such a focus of yours?
Rick: Well, you know what, it’s just something that you see every single day. You see people leaving jobs. You see, I mean, just take a look at where you work today and go back six years. How many people aren’t here that were here six years ago? Well, people are constantly leaving. Look in your neighborhood, how many people don’t live there? We’re always in a constant state of transition and I discovered that kind of early. I lived in a situation where we’re from Indiana. We moved back to California and every summer my parents sent me back to our farm in Kentucky and it’s like for me, life was there are just these changes. And I as a kid, I had a hard time adjusting what that. Once I kind of got into the academic world it’s like, “Why is that? Why when things come up, why can’t I adjust?” And it’s always intrigued me and you just see it every day of your life almost and that’s the fixation with that and I found out that there are actually ways to deal with transition in a positive way and it can actually get you through it. So, that’s what got me interested in it. I find it fascinating.
Casey: What have you found in your studies about this transition that really hasn’t been studied too hard? When you are really digging into this transition and retirement, what was it about it that really helped you grasp the concept and ease into it a little better?
Rick: Now, you’re talking about specifically how to do the transition? I’m just trying to clarify your question.
Casey: Yeah. Well, what was it about that transition into retirement, in your studies that you found really interesting and really helpful?
Rick: Well, I guess the theme that we’ve been talking about so far is that if you’re intentional, you have a better chance of ending up where you want to be. As I’ve looked at it, those people that just kind of play along with life and they take what comes, sometimes at the end of life, it can be difficult. You know, you can work hard, and you can be faithful and loyal and a good worker and sometimes when it’s all over, I haven’t compared for this stage, so it’s a matter of circumstances. So, let me go back to the kind of conceptual side of this. When we look at all these stages of life, you got childhood, and there’s all kind of stuff written on that developmental state. Then there’s early adult development stuff on that. Then midlife, you know, you used to hear all the stuff about midlife crisis. Midlife has been studied, but this idea of what happens after 60 hasn’t been studied, but so many people are getting into that. And as Hans said, society has always kind of catered to the baby boomers just because of our sheer numbers and now that we realize that there may be this 30-year period after you retire, they’re actually now beginning to call that a stage of life. And some of it refer to it as elderlescence.
Casey: I had to chuckle when I read that in your book. I circled and put LOL.
Rick: But you know, it’s an interesting concept for life stage development. So, like if you go back to like 1905, there was no thing as known as adolescence, okay? It basically you went from childhood right to the workforce and then as society grew, there’s more discretionary money in life then they realize that there was a stage between being a child and being an adult. A guy named G. Stanley Hall came up with that. It’s like, “Hey, these guys are more staying in high school, they’re hanging out with their parents longer. They had this developmental stage of adolescence.” And so, they added that to the lifecycle. What we’re finding exactly the same thing with elderlescence is this is a stage and there are actually developmental tasks that you need to deal with in this stage of life. And so, the thing that encouraged me was, yeah, this is a real thing and there really are things that we can learn, that we can do, and we can be intentional to make this thing be helpful.
Casey: Well, you said 51% of baby boomers plan to work full time in retirement, 28% plan to work part-time in retirement. I think some of our listeners would be stunned by that statistic, but that’s really what’s created this new stage, this elderlescence stage is that we have more time on our hands to do things like this and so there’s more to think about.
Hans: Yeah. Let me add, there’s an old song, “People get ready. There’s a train coming.” I think “Rick and I our number one message is, “People get ready.” We run into so many people and just think, “Ah, I’ll work it out when I get there.” That’s not a good strategy because and I learned this from Rick, this whole thing about what he just said about adolescence. You know, there are a lot of adjustments we go through when we go into adolescence. Think about it, it’s huge and that’s just as huge to go into this elderlescence stage but people downplay it, they minimize it, and they think, “I’ll wing it. I’ll figure it out when I get there.” The number one message we have is don’t wing it. Get ready. There’s a train coming and it might be coming right at you and it might take you out. I learned a lot from Rick as well about transitions. One of the greatest books ever written about transitions is William Bridges, a book called Transitions and the whole point of his book is that we minimize and underestimate what it takes to go from one big transition to another in life. It could be a move like my sister moved from Indiana to Portland in her retirement and that’s a huge transition to move to another part of the country. Or your children move away from you,
that’s a huge transition or you move toward them. And that’s exactly our message is get ready for this huge life stage transition. If you get ready, it could be the greatest thing in the greatest time of your life. And we do meet a lot of people say, “I’m having the time of my life,” and we would wish that for everybody.
Casey: You mentioned in the book the Pew Research Center said people who adjust their expectations as their social networks and lifestyles change may avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation which are linked to illness and the earlier death. And to me, that just sounds like, “Well. let’s envision what those, to me, let’s envision the worst-case scenario and know all the different options, all the different things that could potentially happen, so we can be prepared when they actually occur. Does that make sense?
Hans: It makes a lot of sense and I think loneliness is a huge factor. My wife and I we’re just talking about that this week that we’ve been married 43 years. We love hanging out together. Sometimes we love it so much, to the exclusion of having enough friends.
Casey: That’s fantastic, though.
Hans: Well, it’s wonderful. But you know we thought, “You know, if we run into difficulty, who do we have in our network that we can rely on as friends?” Or we also discussed, I mean, she doesn’t like to discuss this but one of us is probably going to precede the other to glory one day, and then the one that’s left, are they going to have a social network? Are they going to have a support system? Now, we’re blessed we have four children, 10 grandchildren. We have that family network, but I think Rick and I both think you need more. You need a social network to stay plugged into. So, that’s our message. It can be a time of withdrawal and loneliness and you need to be proactive not to let that happen.
Casey: Are one of the techniques that you’ve used to stay connected something you called the tag team?
Hans: No. That was something that happened to me when I decided to leave my job, which we created a tag team. It was a temporary group of people, transition assistance and guidance. It was very helpful to me because I was trying to figure out what am I going to do next then I decided to surround, my wife and I decided to surround ourselves with four people that have known us our whole lives and this is a great trick or tip. Four people that have known us our whole lives who could help steer me in this next career step for me because you can make a mistake that can be very costly. I’ve seen people lose their life savings by at this stage in life, “Oh, I’m going to buy a franchise or I’m going to do something crazy that is a financial disaster,” then they’ve lost their life savings. So, this tag team helped point me in the right direction. I love writing, I love speaking, I love coaching leaders and eventually, that’s the direction I went to and they helped advise me to make wise decisions at this stage of life. That’s a great tip for everybody.
Casey: So, what do this look like exactly? Do you reach out to these individuals? Did you have scheduled meetings? Did you have an agenda? Was it very informal? Was it formal?
Hans: It was formal. I did reach out to these, there were four people from our life that all knew me and Donna for at least 30 years. We actually met together quarterly for a year and then we stayed in touch monthly by Zoom conference calls and the agenda was kind of I did the assessments, the StrengthsFinder’s profile and who is Hans? Who is Donna really? I mean she has her own business career, so it was more about me than about her, but it was an analysis of who am I and what’s my greatest contribution going forward? I guess, you could say it was kind of self-centered because it was all about me, but these people love me. They love me so much and they love us so much and they realize this is a big transition for Hans. Let’s help him make good choices and go through this transition well.
Casey: What do these meetings look like? Did you have a format?
Hans: Oh man, I don’t remember exactly. It was an all day. I remember one of them was down there in Southern California near you, Rick, in Huntington Beach. So, these people live all over the country, so we met at different locales but, yeah, we did have an agenda and I kind of worked up the agenda. I mean, yeah, we would spend the day together discussing not only who am I but what are the various options, things like that.
Casey: What were your biggest takeaways from those meetings?
Hans: Don’t make huge life stage decisions in a vacuum. I run into people who, for example, think, “Oh, I’m going to be an author. I’m now going to be an author. I’m going to write a book and I’m going to make a lot of money and this will be my…” I’ll tell you. Did you know most self-published books only sell 150 copies? Now, this isn’t self-published. Now, we’ve sold more than 100 but I just came out with my 11th book and I’d say it’s hard to make for anybody to make a living on writing books. You probably know that as well, Casey.
Hans: And that’s kind of making the decision in a vacuum. I’m going to quit my job. Another one is I’m going to be a podcaster. I was a podcaster for a couple of years. Now, that’s also a wonderful way to communicate out there, but it’s not a way to make money for 99 out of 100 people. You got to be realistic about your Plan B and not just take a big stupid pill and that’s why I say the number one piece of advice is don’t make a big life change decision in a vacuum. That was the whole purpose of this tag team to help me make wise decisions about what I was going to do next.
Casey: Rick, did you experience something similar? Did you have your own tag team?
Rick: I did not have a tag team, but I probably was thinking about my transition a little longer than Hans was, although I don’t know really. When he started thinking, but I got to a point where when I was the president of an international mission organization and I’ve been doing it for 14 years, they actually have term limits for 12 so I was exceeding the limits. And so, I was just sitting there and I was still good at what I was doing, I was still affecting, we were still growing, increasing but just it weren’t exactly at 55 but it wasn’t too far up. I just started thinking, do I want to keep doing this? And then I mean we were in just a horrible budget meeting one day and I just said, “I don’t ever want to do another stinking budget again.” I mean it’s multimillion-dollar budget and people may get cut, things may happen, you stop a program. It’s just these emotional decisions and you know when I was younger, it’s like, “Yeah. Let’s get the right decision.” I don’t want to make these decisions ever again and I just kind right out of the top of my budget sheet said, “This is the beginning of the end,” and in my brain, that’s when I started thinking about what it is that I want to do.
It took me it was two more years before I stepped out and unlike Hans, I didn’t have a tag team, but I had an accountability group. I had other people that were in my life that it wasn’t a formal thing, but I ran it by what do you think? Should I do this? And most everybody was surprised that I would even think to step down but with the advice when I told them what I was feeling, other things I could be doing, then I got that kind of input. So again, I didn’t do it alone. It didn’t happen overnight, and you are in a kind of this no man’s land when you do that. Sometimes you’re not sure what’s going on in life and you need some people to encourage you.
Casey: It seems like a consistent theme between the two of you to have these people to rely on.
Hans: Yeah. Rick had the opportunity to stay within his organization, but to make a move to, as I look at it, to more productivity. He is the roving man of wisdom globally for his organization, Operation Mobilization, and I just look at his life and think, “How cool is that that he had the self-security to let go of that big position as the president when he’s actually moved over to greater effectiveness?” And I think both of us have learned to get over positional security. You know, so many men get wrapped up in their identity is their position. You know, the second question, a man asks another man after what your name is, what do you do? Why do we ask that to each other? Because we’re trying to rank people’s importance. That’s my theory. And Rick and I both decided to heck with it. You know, the position is not who I am. I want to be in a place where I make a maximum contribution and we have a lot to offer and we both laid aside those positions and move to a place of greater influence.
Casey: It sounds like for both of you, you kind of apply this principle. I interviewed Nancy Collamer not that long ago and she talks a lot about these life transitions. She’s a life coach, transition coach into retirement, and she said, “You really analyze the position that you have,” and I think, Rick, you kind of said this, you hated budgets and said, “I’m never going to do another budget the rest of my life,” but you still had some things you really loved about what you did. You didn’t hate absolutely everything but really taking a look at the job that you currently have. Even if you say, “I hate my job,” there’s probably one or two things in there that you really love that might help to create a secondary identity and some passion that you can really follow into retirement.
Rick: Yeah. In our book, we give five stories of different people that retired and different results in their life. So, one plan doesn’t fit everybody but the one that comes to mind based on what you’re saying is what we call a rolling retirement and that is if you step out of your current role, but there’s stuff that you still want to do. You maybe still need to make some money. You still have relationships, maybe in that place that you want to keep, and some things like that. And so, you step down from your official position and so I guess I probably went into a rolling retirement and you do the things that you want to do and you kind of have a say in what you do and you don’t do. The example we give is my brother-in-law, a guy named Tom, and he was a fire chief up in San Luis Obispo and he got to the point where he did not want to be – he was a battalion chief and an old chief, fort chief for a while and he had said, “I don’t want to run this department. I don’t want to do all these. There’s so much involved in this,” and being a fireman really wears you down. At age 55 he retired. And by the way, if you’re a fireman and you retired, you get a pretty good retirement.
So, then he just said, “But, you know, my whole life has been being a fireman. I love that.” And so, he signs onto one of these companies which is pretty appropriate for the day in which California’s basically on fire, all of them down the coast. He gets called to come in and help run these massive wildfires and there’s like five guys that run a fire. There’s the safety officer and the communication and the head chief. Well, he’s one of the guys and, well, we call here California fire season. When fire season, they call on him, they’ll fight a fire for a month maybe. Come home. Take some time off. Maybe go and do another one, but he just picks and choose when he wants to go. He’s still engaged, he’s still doing stuff, he’s not a man that has to show up to work every day. He’s not doing budgets, he’s not doing performance appraisals of people, he’s doing what he loves, and he’s been able to eliminate what he doesn’t love. That’s the idea of being intentional. See, if you can find that sweet spot.
Casey: Well, Rick, talking about some of the people that you have imparted wisdom from or onto and people you’ve met over the years and went through some these transitions, I found one your stories really interesting, I guess, and I might butcher this name, but Jim Ryun, is it?
Rick: Yeah. Jim Ryun. World record holder in a mile when he was in high school.
Casey: And what lessons did you learn? What was that interaction like?
Rick: It’s interesting. When I was growing up, I enjoyed sports, and I remember the Life Magazine cover of Jim Ryan being on it in high school where he pulled a record in a mile and this guy was an awesome kid from Kansas and I followed his career and then I was a Dean of Students at Viola University at one point and I needed a speaker for something and I saw that Jim Ryun was available so I get Jim to come and speak at Viola University in the chapel. He’s a Christian guy, awesome guy, and really very accomplished. And I said, “Jim, we got students here. Just give us your story,” and he unfolds his story that just blew me away of kind of being able to kind of rollover into something else. Jim Ryun for those people that would remember, the thing that he’s most known for is he was in the Mexico Olympics, had never been defeated in the mile in his life. Unquestionably, he’s going to get the gold medal and on the qualifying round, he gets an elbow at the track, knocks him off the track, he falls down, and he doesn’t make the qualifying heat and he was fouled but it was the last trial heat. And so, they said, “You’re out,” and there’s no other trial heat for you to get into the finals. You’re out.
And they should’ve let him in but there’s nothing else to run. So, this guy that was going to absolutely win the gold medal can’t even run in the finals. And I remember that then he had just become a believer before this happened and he knew that God was going to give him this opportunity to speak for Christ all over the world when he gets the gold medal and he’s going, “God, what are you doing to me?” And then as the months came on afterwards and he would speak in places and show up places, and he gets letters kind of going, “You know, Jim, I could never relate to you as the guy that won the gold medal, but I can relate to you when you got fouled out. I can relate to you when you got knocked into the infield and you couldn’t get up and run anymore.” And he said, “That same thing happened to me at work or that same thing happened to me with my wife.” And so, he found out that in the thing he had this whole new career. And so, once it was all over, he decided then to take up and just he said, “I’m willing to kind of helping people.” So, his career wasn’t being an athlete and all then you see in the story that he became in the State of Kansas he became a congressman and this whole idea of this transition, taking the skills you have, learning and developing into something new, and that’s taken him in to kind of being a statesman at which it was a whole different change for him.
Casey: And what was the guidance that he would offer people that have gotten that elbow as they’re crossing the finish line?
Rick: You know, when he was telling the story at Viola and he’d still gone on to achieve a lot more after that he told the story, it is that sometimes God allows things to happen in your life that it doesn’t look like success, but you just have to listen to what God is doing and you have to see what’s happening and you have to be flexible and go with what you have. And that was his thing. He said, “I thought my career was over. I thought I had nothing to do.” And so sometimes God does allow things that happen in our life that we would’ve never chosen and that may lead to what God is really calling us to do.
Casey: Well, I know you’re both men of faith and in the book, I didn’t realize this, but you had pointed out that there are 2,300 verses in the Bible dealing specifically with money and possessions, 15% of everything that Jesus taught related to this subject, and I didn’t know that. What are some of your favorite biblical principles on elderlescence?
Hans: Yeah. Let me say that God doesn’t necessarily mention retirement or believe in retirement. The Bible doesn’t teach when you get old, you get put on the shelf. You know, that’s our culture. Our culture worships youth and in fact, Rick was mentioning retirement communities and I think Del Webb who was the pioneer of the American retirement communities with Sun City and all that, he really fed our culture a lie. You know that when you get old, you get shoved away into this community and you just play golf and you hang out with old people and you ride golf carts around. That’s not a biblical concept. We have a whole chapter on who does God say that I am, and, in the Scriptures, God honors the elders and people pay attention to the elders and the elders have a huge role in culture. A lot of other countries, you know, Rick and I, I’ve been over 100 countries of the world. Behind me is a bunch of hotel keys that I’ve collected from my travels around the world.
Casey: And if you’re not watching the YouTube video, you can go watch the YouTube video online. Hans literally has, I mean, a whole plaque full of these things behind him, all framed up. And as soon as I saw it, I said, “What is that?”
Hans: Yeah. Well, and the thing is that in many cultures of the world elders are honored and in many cultures of the world, the family has a house and every generation as more people get married and have kids, they keep adding on to the house and everybody lives together, and the grandparents are very involved in raising the children and the extended family. We’ve created these isolated retirement communities. I never want to live in one of those places for one reason, there aren’t any kids around. So, there are so many. Let me just read you one and this is from Psalm 79. “Since my youth, God, you have taught me and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, until I declare your power to the next generation your mighty acts to all who are to come.” I mean the Scripture is full of honoring those who have gray hair. Now, are we just saying that because we have gray hair? Maybe. Maybe we found these verses to make us feel better about ourselves. But listen to this one. This is Leviticus 19:32. “Stand up in the presence of the aged. Show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” How cool is that?
Casey: What responsibilities, I mean, I have said this over and over again to the people we work with, our team, our employees, the clients we work with, family members, and we have a responsibility I believe to utilize our God-given talents to continue to make an impact in the world and if we just decide to hang it up and not utilize those things, I don’t think that follows the biblical advice that’s offered in the Bible, which is, it seems wrong to me.
Rick: Let me add an illustration to that too because I like pictures and there’s a picture in the Old Testament of how we might live in our old age, and it doesn’t mean that we have to be any kind of superstar, it doesn’t imply that we have any of these great skills or talents. This is the everyday man on the street view but when you look at Moses and when we look in the Scriptures, we see Moses as one of the most famous characters, most accomplished, however you want to phrase that, and most used of God. Incredible stuff. But you know, Moses, I mean, he was dealing with all the Israelites, and Moses just crashed and burned. He just couldn’t deal with them. It’s like too many people coming to him. He had no idea how to run this massive group of people he had onto him and they’re just whining all day long and problems. And then one day out of the desert, his father-in-law shows up, Jethro and says, and Jethro is a shepherd. You know, he’s not an educated man. He doesn’t have all this kind of sophistication. He’s going, “Moses, don’t you get if? You got to break this down.” And his father-in-law comes in to the guy that’s running the Jewish universe at that time and says, “Just give it a little thought, son. You got to break it down. You got to kind of have different divisions,” and then he just kind of nudges back out with the sheep and we don’t hear from him ever again.
So, when we get into these elder stages, this elderlescence, sometimes we just come along some younger people and kind of go, “You know, I got a little common sense for you,” and, by the way, common sense isn’t so common these days and you just share a little something you see. It might be you, the young couple, three doors down trying to plant a palm tree and they don’t dig the hole deep enough. It’s like, “Hey, you know what, if this will help, this might…” So, it’s just us sharing what God’s put into our lives when God gives us the opportunity.
Casey: Sharing your wisdom. And, Hans, you said you really connected to a character from The Hobbit, Gandalf the Grey?
Hans: Yeah. Rick actually put that in the book, but you should tell him the Gandalf story.
Hans: That’s your crease to the book.
Rick: I’m a movie guy here and I love The Hobbit. I love the Lord of the Rings. And when you look at Gandalf so he’s the leader of this whole deal and Hans and I can relate to this. You know, we’ve led organizations and Gandalf the Grey, he got this whole thing going. For the Lord of the Rings, he said, “Okay. Let’s get all these, guys. We got to get this ring. We got to take it back,” and he picked the right guys for the journey. He led the way. He fought the battles. He was a command-and-control leader and you need that in certain situations and then he’s protecting everybody and then the fiery Balrog kind of takes him down and kills Gandalf, and we think, “Uh oh, this is a bummer, man, Gandalf’s gone. This movie is going to be in big trouble.” And then he comes back, though, to be reinvented. Now he was Gandalf the Grey. He comes back as Gandalf the White. And in the wizardry world of Tolkien, he got promoted up to the next level and now he comes back, and this is what I would say is that when we leave our main job in life, whether you’re in management or leadership or not, that’s your main thing. When you come back you come back almost in a glorified state. You come back sharing wisdom.
So, when Gandalf comes back, he says, “Okay, guys. I’m Gandalf the White now.” No more power. No more knowledge. And he says, “By the way, I’m not running this thing anymore. Frodo, you’re running it. And I know how this ends, and I’m going to give you some advice. By the way, I wouldn’t go through that mountain, I’d go around that one. It’s like a big creepy spider in there. Don’t do this.” And so, he’s advising them. He’s blazing the trail ahead of them but he’s not running it anymore. He is a man of wisdom. And I just said isn’t that really what we should be in life? We’re not going to run stuff anymore, but we do know a lot about how life ends up and the more we can share that, the more we can get the Frodos over to drop the ring in. And so, we’re not going to carry a ring anymore, but we can help those guys that are carrying the ring.
Casey: Well, that’s such a great responsibility and I think some struggle with identifying what is that wisdom that I have. Do I have any wisdom? And you put together and I want to touch on a couple different strategies as we wrap up here that you would outline in the book for different aspects of just making sure this transition goes really smoothly and one of those I think relates to this idea of figuring out your wisdom that you might feel to impart on this next generation and that was when you talked about the life map. And I just got done reading about the life map this morning at about 5:30 before the kids woke up so I didn’t have a chance to put together my life map, but I’m really excited about doing it. I cannot wait to sit down and put together this life map because I think it’s going to be so interesting and so insightful. Can you just share with us what the life map is and how we can use it?
Casey: Do you want me to take that, Hans?
Hans: Yeah. Go ahead, man.
Rick: On life map. Okay. A life map, by the way, can work for people at any stage of life. So, this isn’t just for retired people and I actually teach a mentoring clinic where this is kind of one of the main tools that we use for people of all ages. So, a life map is basically you sitting down and saying let’s just go back and let’s just look at the highlights of my life and you know some people draw it as a topo map, some people draw it as a line graph chart. However, in the book, we tell you there are different ways of doing it. But the point is you’re looking back at the kind of the peaks and the valleys of your life. So, you’re mapping out the major events of your life. You know, for me, it was moving from Indiana and it was becoming an athlete then it was actually becoming kind of a hippie and a druggie and hitting bottom. Then it was becoming a believer and changing my life then the highlight was meeting my wife. And so, I kind of draw this graph up and down of the high and the low points of my life all the way through, the education, jobs I’ve had, failures that I’ve had. This is not just all happy time because our life has ups and downs and when you kind of at each point of your life when you draw whether that was an up or a down or how much, you can go back on a piece of paper and you can kind of go, “Oh, that was it.”
And then all of a sudden you look for patterns. It’s like, “Look, every 10 years it looks like I have a new job. Look, every other five years it looks like I go into like this massive depression,” or whatever it is that you’re going to see on your map and it really on a page maps out kind of the ups and downs of your life and then what we say is, now that for any, again, anybody at any stage can do this and kind of go, “Well, this is where I am.” If we know where we’ve been, it can help us determine where we want to go so let’s do things that keep us out of these low points of our life. What did I enjoy? All of my happy jobs were when I was interacting with people and I didn’t have a lot of details. So, in my now retirement world or my non-retirement, my encore world, I’m going to look for a role where I can invest in people and I don’t have to do these. So, what you learn from the past to help you pick what you want to do in the future then we give other ideas too of Hans talked about StrengthsFinders. I’m a big fan of the DiSC Profile, the Myers-Briggs. There are 100 hundred tests out there to help you figure out kind of where you are if you haven’t done those things or even if you have and you won’t. You look at your life map, you look at kind of your strengths and weaknesses, that can help you figure what is a happy encore is going to be. Thinking you have 30 years left, you want to pick something that you can be happy with for quite a while.
Casey: And you mentioned quite a few of these different assessment tools in the book to use during the 60 to 80 window. What are some of your favorite? And where could people find them?
Rick: Well, I would say my personal favorite is the DiSC Profile because I’ve been teaching for 40 years, but you can go online and you can you can get the Myers-Briggs and you can do that online for free. The StrengthsFinder and for what we’re talking about, the StrengthsFinder may actually be one of the more helpful ones. Now, it doesn’t deal with what you don’t like to do in your weaknesses, but it does deal with what it is that energizes you and you can either go online or you can just buy the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 I think it’s called and there is a test in the back and then it gives you a code and you can end up going on the computer and you get like a 20-page printout. StrengthsFinder is awesome.
Hans: I was going to say StrengthsFinder is my favorite currently and it helps not only for you to determine what are your strengths, what really motivates you, what’s your wiring, what fuels you. I think that’s a really important question to ask yourself, what fuels you and what drains you. And at this stage, it’s important to pick things that fuel you. And this goes back to some people when they do their StrengthsFinder’s profile, they’re going to realize, “I don’t have to have a big significant job anymore.” I do because I’m a strategic, I’m a maximizer, I’m futuristic but like my buddy who is retired and all he does is play, his profile was completely opposite mine. And so, for him, it’s not a need. So, we don’t want to force. One size does not fit all. So, for me the StrengthsFinder. I love the StrengthsFinder. Now, the DiSC Test I love in the sense of I think it’s wonderful for helping people work together as a team because you realize the people that annoy you and the people that you enjoy being with on the team that you’re working together with.
Casey: You had said that the baby boomer generation thinks of themselves as unique. Since I work with baby boomers every single day, I thought to myself and I read that, doesn’t every generation think of themselves as unique?
Casey: Well, what is it about the baby boomer generation that – what do you think what do you find that’s unique about yourselves?
Hans: Well, that’s a big, big question.
Rick: The short answer is just our size. We just demand market share on everything starting with hula-hoops and going to retirement villages today because there’s so many of us that the market is giving attention to us and that’s why we overshadow the X-ers and those other generations as we got more bodies.
Hans: However, my newest book which Rick may not know about. Rick…
Rick: I’ve seen it.
Rick: I haven’t seen the book but…
Hans: I need to mail you a copy. It’s called MillennialBoom because actually, millennials are now a bigger generation than the baby boomers for a number of reasons.
Casey: Yeah. It’s a really broad generation I think.
Hans: Yeah. But it’s basically I define as they were born between 1980 and the year 2000, but they have a lot of boomer characteristics. Boomers is a very arrogant generation. The world, the universe revolves around us and the millennials had that same characteristic.
Rick: They just haven’t found their way yet and they just don’t have the money we have. They will be what we are certainly in a different way, but they just haven’t found their footing yet. They don’t have the market power yet.
Hans: And so, I wrote this book with a millennial, a 32-year-old millennial boom, and the point is we need to learn to work together. There’s a tremendous amount of friction between the boomers and the millennials in the workplace and a place like the US Post Office is spending millions of dollars on seminars for boomers to help them understand this massive wave of people that are coming into their workforce that are very different in how they work. So, that’s a topic for another day. But the boomers, yeah, we’re an arrogant generation because we’re so massive and we call it the pig and the python. At every stage of our development, we’ve been this massive swell in our culture and to this day.
Casey: Well, I want to make sure that people leave this discussion with things they can go out and do and implement right away and one of the exercises that I really like that you mentioned in the book will leave everyone with this, which is the Me At My Best exercise. Can you share with people what that looks like?
Hans: Yeah. Rick, you want to do that one?
Rick: Well, go ahead.
Hans: Before you answer that, Casey, I want to add one more word of exhortation to your listeners about because I work in the realm of leadership and coaching leaders and I see a lot of baby boomers that are hanging on to their jobs too long when they should let go of them. I mean, that’s the lesson that Rick and I learned, and I think our organizations are grateful, even though they appreciated our leadership, they’re grateful to the fact that both of us allow the Gen-Xers or the millennials to come in and take our place. I see a lot of boomers hanging on for all the wrong reasons to their positions. They’re afraid of launching their encore and they’re hanging on for all the Ps I call it, the prestige, the power, the position, the perks, the paycheck, you know, all those human things that they’re afraid to let go of and I like to say at this stage in life that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Think about that. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. It’s comfortable to stay in that position and it’s uncomfortable to think about moving on but that’s where life is going to begin for you and where your encore is going to begin for you and it might just be the most wonderful thing that ever happened to you. So, don’t hang on for the wrong reasons, and you’ve got to power into that fear. And so, yeah, it’s going to be a little uncomfortable to launch my encore, but I got to do it and it’s probably going to be the greatest thing that ever happened to me. So, I just want to get that plugged in to those of you are hanging on for all the wrong reasons.
Casey: Well, and I don’t know if this is an experience that you’ve had but, in my experience, when we’re hanging on for the wrong reasons, especially a paycheck, it’s because we don’t know if we have enough yet. We haven’t actually put together a plan to know if we’re okay and I’ve sent now with people. I go, “This next paycheck that you get, it’s not for you anymore. Now, you are building a legacy for someone else.” So, is that the goal? Do you want to leave more money to charity? Do you want to leave more money to your kids? Because more money to you doesn’t mean you’re going to spend it. So, Rick, share with us the Me At Your Best exercise.
Rick: Well, the Me At Your Best it’s really kind of a summary of things that you got in your life that are successful. So, what we suggest is that you look back and you actually might very well be looking at your life map to get this Me At Your Best and what we really encourage you to do is look back over your life and think four or five major things that have really gone well for you, and hopefully all is going to show up on your life map there. And then just kind of analyze those a little bit in your own way, what was I doing? What did I like? How did I get there? And just start taking a look at that and say, “If this was the best of what I did up to this point in time, what do I want to take of that and carry them over into this new elderlescence stage, this new encore?” But that is one principle out of nine. And I just want your listeners to know that if you want to go through all this thing, in our book, we take you through this journey like why is this whole stage develop? What’s going on? How come we have 30 more years of life left possibly? So, we take you through this journey and then we get you to the end of the book and we kind of say, “Look, there are nine strategies that you can deal with here,” and that’s really in our final chapter we have that’s called The Assignment and we’re giving you an assignment of these nine things.
If you look at these nine things, we tell you to do, it really kind of evaluates the whole book and it gives you nine steps of what to do, listening to the voices of your past, doing this Me At My Best exercise, identifying your temperament, all the things we’ve kind of talked about. They’re all kind of loose leaf but when you get to the final end of the book that tells you how to take all those things together and utilize them. And then at the end of that, you actually have a plan that you can write up and you start executing it and it may work and it may not. And if it doesn’t, you can go, “Which of these nine things did I get wrong?” You go back. And the whole idea is that you experiment with it before it’s just thrown on you and you’re totally confused. You’re out of a job, you don’t know what to do, and it’s like, “Oh, I feel like life is empty.” So, it’s a preparation checklist.
Casey: Well, we’re going to have a lot of links to these different things. I have strategies and worksheets and workbooks and different things on the website. We’ll have links to that here in the show notes. You can go to RetireWithPurpose.com/Podcast to pick those things up. Hans, Rick, is there anything that you want to share with our audience where they might feel to find you, where they can get engaged. I know you have some seminars that you’re running in regards I think to the book. Would you like to share those things with the audience?
Hans: Yeah. First of all, we think a great thing to do for a group of older adults is to get our book and study it as a group. It might be an adult Sunday school class in a church. It might be a group in a retirement community, but this is a great book that we’ve designed to study as a group. Secondly, our website is LaunchYourEncore.com and if you go there, you can see some of our resources and if you’re interested in having Rick and I come to your church and speak, we do a little day-and-a-half seminar on this that is awesome for folks who are thinking about this, which a lot of people are. Again, just go to our website LaunchYourEncore.com.
Casey: Well, thank you so much, gentlemen, for joining us here today. There’s so many other questions that I have that I’d love to ask but we are running out of time and I know you have other things that you’d like to get done today because you’re very busy, retirees, and I look forward to hopefully connecting with you at some point in the future. Thank you so much for joining us.
Hans: Thanks for having us.
Rick: Thank you.
Hans: Thanks for having us, Casey. We appreciate it.
Rick: Yeah. Thank you.