Most women in their 60s feel like they have made good decisions and enjoyed successful careers so far. Now, with retirement on the horizon, many of us are looking to convert the professional contacts, skills and experience that we acquired during our careers into profitable opportunities.
Of course, our priorities may have shifted. For many of us, our definition of “success” is different. We don’t necessarily care about climbing the corporate ladder or getting recognition from our peers. Instead, in our 60s, we find ourselves searching for new meaning in our professional lives. Many of us refocus our productive work on our passions. Others reduce our work hours to spend more time with our families. Perhaps for the first time, how we define success is completely up to us.
For many women, finding a mission in life after 60 is challenging. So, to help us through this transition, I turned to career specialist and author, Mary Eileen Williams. In our interview, we discuss the fact that we have an opportunity, in our 60s, to move beyond “reactive activities.” If we are willing to step out of our comfort zones, we can build professional goals that are much more dynamic.
Eileen’s advice is to be proactive about your search for meaning. This means leveraging business tools and becoming comfortable with sites like LinkedIn. It also means building the self-confidence you will need to try something new. If you are looking to try something new in semi-retirement, this interview is for you!
When you are thinking about starting a business or shifting to a new career, there is a tendency to “jump in feet first.” Instead, Eileen recommends that we start by examining our priorities. She asks us to think about the five values that are most important to us. These could include our health, relationship, work, spiritual, or moral priorities.
Frankly, this is a difficult process for many of us. For years, we have defined our success in terms of how we supported our families – emotionally, financially and practically. Finally thinking about ourselves and what we really want is not as easy as it sounds.
Once you have defined and really thought about the 5 values that are most important to you, it’s time to start building a plan. Don’t be afraid to spend money on your passions. Since we all have financial and practical limitations, this may require saying no to other things in your life. As an extreme example, you could give up one of your bad habits – drinking, smoking, eating out too much – and apply this money to getting a gym membership.
Finally, Eileen provides 3 simple steps that you can use to create a mission statement for your 60s. First, she says we should identify our talents and the activities that give us energy. Then, we should come up with two ways we can apply these skills. Once we have done this, we can think about what we want to accomplish in the coming decades.
Your 60s are a perfect time to change your focus from externally facing to internally facing goals. I hope that my interview with Mary Eileen Williams helps you on your path to building the amazing life that you deserve!
What values are guiding your life now that you are in your 60s or 70s? What talents or skills do you have? Please join the conversation.