David Corbett is the founder of New Directions which offers planning for career and post-career fulfillment to accomplished individuals. In this up-tempo book, he points out that those who are over 50 are destined to have a longer and healthier life than those of previous generations. Instead of retiring and slowing down, individuals who extend their middle age and design their very own "portfolio life." The aim: a more balanced existence blending work, learning, leisure, family time, and serving others.
Continuing to work past retirement age grants talented men and women the chance to enlarge their lives by the discovery of new purposes. Equally important is the fact that society can use this this untapped resource filled with talents and experience. What lies behind this shift in perspective? Corbett points to the rise of personal empowerment and choice, an increased demand for quality of life, and an increasing intergenerational connection.
William James once said: "The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast us." Those who create their own life portfolio would agree and that is why Corbett suggests starting the process off with "weaning " (getting rid of old and rigid ideas, contacts, etc.), taking the call, considering volunteering, taking up lifelong learning, and looking at community service options.
Working on your personal portfolio gives you a chance to review your life, reconnect with your early passions and dreams, ask the big questions, and find your true north. Corbett quotes John Gardner who observed:
"Ambition wears out. But keep curious. Be interested. Everyone wants to be interesting, but the vitalizing thing is to be interested. Keep a sense of curiosity. Discover new things. Care. Risk failure. Reach out."
Those who are fortunate enough to have their health and a background in well-paying and professional jobs will find the portfolio life quite exciting and doable. Corbett's optimism is contagious, and he keeps the door wide open for anyone thinking seriously about a life mission statement or an examination of what they want as a personal legacy.