How to Make the Rest of Life the Best of Life–at any age!

Jann Freed Leading, Sage-ing Comments

Do you have a life plan?  Are you intentionally designing the rest of your life?  Regardless of your age or position, this post is written for people who want to live purposefully so that the rest of life can be the best of life.

As a result of the research for my book Leading with Wisdom:  Sage Advice from 100 Expertssome of my conclusions were:

  • Leading your best life was the most important thing to do.
  • Leading oneself is the most important person to lead.
  • And it is hard to be a good leader if you are not a good person.

So when I teach my graduate leadership course, I emphasize “self-leadership” because it all starts with the self.  This just made sense to me based on my life experience.  Recently I came across an article, TED talk, and new book by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Designing Your Life, that reinforced my thinking and methods of teaching leadership.  The article was titled “Stanford’s Most Popular Class Isn’t Computer Science–It’s Something Much More Important.”

The course is called “Designing Your Life” and it is so popular there is a waiting list. The course’s lessons include the skills needed to navigate decisions about life and work post graduation.  I stress regardless of one’s age, we should always be trying to “design our best life.”  And this becomes even more important when we get 50+.  This is a time when we usually have new freedom, new horizons, and new simplicity according to George Schofield in his new book How Do I Get There From Here:  Planning for Retirement When the Old Rules No Longer Apply.  

We tend to plan most phases of our life.  We plan how to get into the college of our choice and how to navigate college to get the job we want.  Then we start climbing whatever ladders exist to get promoted and advance in our field.  We work and keep growing until one day it might be time for another phase of life either voluntarily or involuntarily.  So many friends have shared with me how they felt pushed out of organizations–forced to retire early–often because they were probably making too much money!  But what about this loss of experience, wisdom, and knowledge?  It is time to design a life to continue to use what has been accumulated and invest it in different ways for different reasons.

In the next few weeks, I will be sharing what I learned from reading Designing Your Life.  The authors believe the best place to start is with design thinking because it helps us “create meaningful lives regardless of our current circumstances.”   You won’t have to attend a class or read the book.  Just stay tuned.

Regardless of age or life stage, how are you designing your life?

How are you planning for what you want and how are you creating it?  

As the management guru Peter Drucker was fond of saying:

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” 

NOTE:  My recent previous posts have been inspired by the book Deep Work by Cal Newport.  My last post was about “being done” with work and disconnecting.  Since I also blog about positive aging, I am sharing this excerpt below from a blog I follow by Carol Orsborn.  In fact, this caught my attention because I decided to take a pottery class at the Art Center–instead of putting it off for “another time.”  When will I have more time than I have right now?

“We lose a taste for life. Then, it is time to give ourselves the space and means to become again. We need to rearrange the furniture of life to make way for the essence of life:

We need to set up an easel and paint. We need to start the woodworking we always wanted to do. We need to take the courses we always wish we had. We need to join the book clubs that talk about the things we are interested in discussing. We need to begin to knit and cook and write and garden. We need to do those unfinished, unstarted, undeveloped things in us that ring the bell of bliss and authenticity.

Then life will become life again and all the rust of it will wear away. When we become what we know ourselves to be, we will come home to ourselves.”

—Joan Chittister