Nov 05

Reflections After Presenting Encore Career Workshops

I wish more people were familiar with the term “encore career,” or the “encore stage of life.”  It is that time when one has the opportunity to make fresh choices for the future; to reflect on what brings energy and a sense of excitement, and an opportunity to design the future life you want.  In the encore stage, some choose to move in entirely new directions, professionally and personally, whereas others may simply re-balance elements of their life, to feel better about their use of time.

Whenever I have an opportunity to talk with people about encores, the idea and the possibilities make them excited.  Recently, I facilitated two three-hour workshops on the encore stage, and all of the participants seemed to enjoy the experience.  The process included time to reflect, but we also worked on creating life portfolios, complete with an action plan for next steps.  (I’ve written before in this blog about life portfolios.)

I especially enjoy working with coaching clients who are approaching or already into a life transition.  It allows for more time and individual attention than a workshop, but either way, it is fascinating to watch people consider past experiences, personal strengths, and possible futures.  There is wonderful creativity in the process, designing a “best life,” that balances elements across work, recreation, family and friends, personal growth, and giving back in whatever ways make sense for the individual.  Note that it is not a matter of “reinventing” yourself, although it may feel that way for some people.  You are fine.  The challenge is one of reflection, appreciation and life design.

I always emphasize my belief that we need to be pragmatic about encores.  Most people have one or more boundary conditions that impact their design.  Health-related issues, family considerations, and financial circumstances tend to affect plans, but there may be other concerns for some individuals.  Some encore careers require education or training that may or may not make sense, depending on the overall goals and resources.  Lots to think about.

If the encore stage is of interest, I encourage you to check out www.encore.org.  The site—and the organization behind it—has a wealth of useful information.  I often recommend three books that I’ve found especially helpful, as well:  The Big Shift:  Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife, by Marc Freedman, The Encore Career Handbook, by Marci Alboher, and Portfolio Life, by David Corbett.  Of course, if you are looking for a coach, I’d be pleased to talk with you.