Many of us born between 1945 and 1965, or thereabouts, wonder what’s next, after ‘retirement’.
The people I talk to at networking events, most of whom are women over 50, ask the question, “How do I create a successful business as a baby boomer?” They don’t often ask the “how do I create a successful second act” as a baby boomer.
At Nurturing Big Ideas we’re all about second acts. But, we’ve discovered a disconnect when we use that term. It turns out, not everyone means what we mean.
WHAT DOES ‘SECOND ACT’ MEAN TO YOU?
One woman, after hearing me talk about nurturing others as they move into a second act, pulled me aside and said, “I have never heard that concept before, but it’s fascinating. I mean, when you first said it, I thought you were talking about teaching us how to get into theater work.”
And how delightful would that be? Theater work, acting, or directing, or being stage manager, is a great second act idea.
But that’s not what I mean when I say second act.
Another woman nodded as I talked and finally said, “I haven’t really had a first act, so I don’t think I can have a second act. I was just an administrative assistant. It was just a job. Not a career.”
How interesting! thought I. To define 20 years or more of your life as “just” anything!
“You must have vast experience and stories to tell,” I said to her. She could see how excited I was. After all, anyone with 20 years of experience in living in this crazy world, is a great candidate for a second act.
“If you’re leaving the ‘just a job’ behind,” I told her, “you’re ready for a second act. A bigger, more beautiful second act. Something that will fulfill you the way you’ve always dreamed it could!”
YOUR FIRST ACT JUST MIGHT BE YOUR SECOND ACT
I started Nurturing Big Ideas because I believe I have a personal understanding of the concept of second. But, it may help to use a dictionary definition:
second-act. Noun. (plural second acts) Something a person devotes his life to later in life, after retiring or quitting his original occupation After a successful career as a Wall Street stockbroker, Don built houses in Africa for a second act.
I am drawn to the second act idea because (a) I'm a baby boomer in my third - or is this my fourth? act, and (b) I want to help other baby boomer women who are smart and talented and energetic and ready to bring joy to their lives and to the lives of others, by investing their time and energy in a business that is fulfilling and profitable.
A second act doesn’t have to be a total reinvention. It does bring new and bigger ideas to the forefront, but many times those ideas are based on the last 20 years or more of a live well-lived in a previous career. Or, previous work, more commonly called ‘a job’.
Starting over isn’t always starting over. It’s merely continuing a focus on something you’re passionate about. You’re moving from being who you were yesterday, to who you are today, and that person is both the same and entirely different.
WHO IS THIS BABY BOOMER WOMAN IN HER SECOND ACT?
We aren’t the same person at and after retirement, that we were before we made that move. We just aren’t. Our view on life changes. Our world changes. Our inner being begins to tickle us with what if questions.
What if… I don’t like retirement?
What if I fail at retirement?
What if I run our of money?
What if… ___________ fill in the blank.
Stepping out the door of retirement, into the world of freedom, is uplifting but also scary.
Some of us saved and invested and can live comfortably on our retirement income, along with Social Security.
Some of us can’t.
Some of us need to continue bringing in a little bit of extra cash every month.
Beyond the financial aspect of starting something new (or continuing with something already established), there is the desire. Yes, the DESIRE! To be recognized. To be a contributor in our neighborhood and our community. To embrace that passionate talent and creativity we held at bay for so long! Or, that we gave away to others, in our work, our ‘just a job’ life.
Our baby boomer woman, in her second act, is full of life and color and laughter. She’s making jewelry, or cakes, or creating furniture or writing, or acting, or teaching, or any number of amazing things she dabbled in but did not give her full attention to, back in those pre-retirement days.
Our baby boomer woman, in her second act, will not allow society to dictate how she should look, talk, or act in public!
Our baby boomer woman, in her second act, is ready to take on the challenge of a business of her own. A business where she’s the boss. A business that fulfills her and contributes something to society. A business she can and will create from her own two hands.
As Katherine Hepburn says in the quote here, you don't do that by sitting around.
HOW DO YOU CREATE A SUCCESSFUL SECOND ACT BUSINESS AS A BABY BOOMER WOMAN?
I don’t have all the answers to that question, but I have a whole lot of them! I can honestly say I am living testament to creating a successful second, third, and as I said earlier, fourth act.
For me, I went from simple web content writer to book publisher to online blog community/influencers manager and conference developer, to this - to Nurturing Big Ideas, all in the space of 15 years or so.
My previous endeavors have led me full circle. I was always focused on helping other women, where I could. Being a baby boomer has taught me the value of working with talented women - women who make magic out of old boxes and string, I like to say. Women like you, I bet.
My Mom taught me a lot and I’ll talk about her from time to time (Robbi, who is a friend and who I am happy to say works with me occasionally, talks about her Mom, too - have you read Robbi's Mom had big ideas post?) , but the true learning came from the women around me.
It came from working with smart women during these last 15 years. It came from studying how to create a successful business. It came from brainstorming and mastermind groups and finally recognizing my self-worth. It came from accepting that I have something to offer the world - a talent not only in writing, but in coaching.
I do know how you create a successful business in your second act, as a baby boomer. It starts with being proud of who you are, proud of the life you’ve lived so far, proud of being a woman at the turning point of her life.
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