Several years ago, during the heart of the economic downturn, many professionals embraced portfolio careers out of necessity. Yet, even as the job market has improved, this approach has become even more common. The traditional, single-track career pattern of the last century is less prevalent. Folks realize that the ‘Corporate ladder’ path is not the only way (and certainly not the ‘best’ way) to create wealth and financial security. It can be compared to putting all your money in one stock in the stock market; versus having diversity in your investment strategy.
Of late, many of my colleagues and clients have shared with me their desire to integrate many interests into their professional pursuits. These desires are not attributed to their unhappiness in their jobs or even their lack of success; it IS due to their realization of just how much money it takes to retire (in the manner they desire) – given the state of our Union, the aging population, the healthcare system – to name just a few extenuating factors.
This reality served as the catalyst for my 2nd book in the “Is This Seat Taken?” book series; which highlights folks that invent (note: I did not say ‘re-invent’) themselves somewhat late in life. The book is not about the ‘Three Cups of Tea’ examples of those who have made millions and now decide to build orphanages in Nepal! It is about folks that decide to pursue a late in life career choice and create the life they want, in most cases, post the age of 55+. Thus, I wanted to offer a few thoughts for my followers who may be musing on new and/or different directions.
- The first concept is the foundation of my business – and that is to: Get in touch with what you truly LOVE to do, what you are good at doing AND tie this to something greater than yourself.That is my definition of alignment. This often takes time and reflection to figure this out…and sometimes it takes a person, coach, or sounding board to help. This can (and does) change over the course of our lives, as priorities, interests, and other factors introduce themselves. Welcome the change. Embrace the change with LOVE not fear.
- Open your mind to a portfolio approach.This concept has recently been written about in Forbes and in fact, a tremendously provocative book,“And What Do You Do?” offers 10 steps to actually build a life and business around many strands of expertise and revenue streams. I loved this book – as it encourages direct and passive revenue approaches. For example, a person can be an author, speaker, consultant, direct-sales representative, and coach – thus leveraging all areas of an individuals expertise and experience. This concept of diversifying is not new to the corporate arena; and it makes perfect sense to apply it to our own lives and businesses, as well. Like the old adage offers – “don’t ever put all your eggs in one basket.”
- Keep your brand consistent. Our personal brands are basically what people consistently think, say, or do when our names enter their minds. It is our job to create this brand – which absolutely can be made from various strands of interest. It does not have to be singular in nature, i.e.: associated with one company or one position. In fact, I believe the new norm will be that we consist of many facets – just like a beautifully cut diamond. The key is that those ‘cuts’ are well constructed and tied together so that the overall picture (brand) is cohesive. My brand is 100% built around the concept of Alignment. Alignment integrates by books, keynotes, consulting business AND my skincare business.…..as ALL of these are 100% around inspiring folks to pursue and reach their potential.
- Resist the tendency to pre-judge alternative approaches. This can be hard for many who have years of learned behavior or preconceived ideas about jobs, vocations, and even companies. For example, I have friends who have taken their passion for fitness and become instructors at Beyond Pilates – which is a series of fitness studios which is on fire with growth. And, for those that follow market trends – we know the most rapidly growing segment is the Baby Boomer market. To capitalize on this, I personally have joined hands with Rodan + Fields(the creators of Proactiv) to offer skin care for the anti-aging marketplace. I am having a blast and am blown away with revenue potential. And this is fully aligned to my core intention and brand – of helping individuals and collections of individuals reach their potential. Never before would I ever have thought something like this would be something I would choose; however, the world, market, and approaches are evolving every day. So, we need to take our blinders off and explore those previously dismissed alternatives – and view them for what they can be: lucrative, fun, and another dimension to how we show up in life.
- Lean in. Yes, this short directive has become common nomenclature thanks to Sheryl Sandberg and her charge to women. I have been a believer of ‘leaning in’ for decades; and, by the way, this does not mean that being a CEO or high-ranking corporate executive must be the end game. Our application of ‘leaning in’ is 100% determined by the individual. Leaning in can actually mean ‘jumping off’. Though I agree with some of Sheryl’s perspective, I believe we have to be true to ourselves and what makes our hearts sing above all things.
One final note: our next act does not have to be the final act. It is just that: the NEXT act. Go for it. Diversify your revenue streams. Take the FIRST STEP. Life is so short – as I am continually reminded of our mortality. Thus, there is NO time like right now…this very minute. There is more than one way to create the life you want…..AND the old fashioned ‘stigmas’ of career paths have changed. The NEW MODELS are the future of our economy……what are you waiting for?
We welcome your thoughts and perspectives – let us hear from you!