“I want to make every moment count.”
“Life is short.”
“It’s got to matter or why bother?”
One of my clients exclaimed during one of our recent sessions, “Oh my G-d, I just got it… I have less time before me with my wife than we have behind us. We have got to change how we are doing things!”
By the Year 2025, there will be more than 1 billion people age 60 or older. Three quarters of them will be in developing countries. And many of them right here in the United States. By the year 2020, 76 % of Americans will be 50 years or older. With age comes many challenges but also a heightened appreciation for life and a greater thirst for meaning in work and relationships.
Psychologists Jung, Erickson and Neugarten left us developmental models to track our growth as we move through our life course. Anyone 38 or older is in what Erikson described as the “last two seasons of life.” Since most of, much of our citizenry in developed countries is over 35, this is important in understanding our times and what moves us to action.
Research confirms that accomplished and affluent Americans and Europeans in the post-9/11 and -3/11 era have become more intent on adding value, seeking meaning and significance in their lives and work. Wisdom comes with greater reflection.
Each of us is age-appropriately seeking “significance.” The highest rung on psychologist’s Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is “Self-Actualization.” With our basic needs met, we yearn to reach for more…for transcendence.
Most of our leaders, at the helm of our most powerful corporations and governments are in midlife, in one of these last two seasons. Here lies a monumentally rich possibility: We in these last two seasons can fuel the movement towards meaning, significance as well as both midlife and later life greatness.
We need a new paradigm as well as tools for midlife course correction. Baby Boomers always drive change. Now they drive a shift to lives filled with significance.
With $10 Trillion in assets being passed down to Boomers and 50- plusers, they will hold financial control of the new paradigm. What a wonderful opportunity for the savvy leader and organization to leverage this knowledge! By championing greatness, Vanguard Leaders will trigger transformation and innovation the likes of which we have never seen… and desperately need.
Fostering greatness in our schools, at home and in the workplace, is what will empower us to stay ahead of the curve, to retain our lead as innovator and model democracy.
Our gray hair could be the start of a whole new revolution. What a fantastic opportunity for those at the helm.
Where will you start?