3 questions baby boomers can ask to jumpstart a transition to the next phase of life

Many boomers are ready to transition to the next phase of their personal and professional lives. Here are three questions that can jumpstart the process.

As the owner of a business in transition, you usually don't think first about the values you have accumulated during your adult life. As a baby boomer, your car, house, possessions and titles take a back seat to deeper, more important values such as family, faith and legacy.

In spite of all the attention paid to boomers, missing are three "hidden core values" that often re-emerge as they age, according to the book " ReFire Your Life: A Real Guide For Those Who Can't Retire or Don't Want To."

Nearly 75 percent of this generation received these values by growing up in poor, working-class or small-family-business homes.

When starting your business transition process, you should ponder these hidden core values: A strong sense of belonging, a drive to give something back, and the willingness to take risks.

Your soul searching should consider how they relate to your life as a whole, and how you can incorporate them into your upcoming business transition journey:

1. Do you want to feel a real sense of belonging?

Belonging is a powerful sense of identity. It naturally, and almost instinctively, includes others around you who also desire to succeed. Belonging is not just thinking about or discussing the world: It is jumping in with all your gifts and limitations.

Most boomers remember a sense of belonging to neighborhoods, clubs and faith communities because their parents modeled this value. And even if you didn't feel like you belonged, your experience reinforces the point that belonging was an important value.

Now that you are about ready to transition, ask yourself, "Would I like to feel that sense of belonging again? Will this core value help me to 'jumpstart' my transition?"

2. Are you ready to give something back?

If you have run a successful company, you've been blessed with many gifts, talents and financial rewards. You have achieved this level of success due primarily to your hard work and focus. Most likely, you have also received some significant help along the way.

Now you might think about sharing yourself — time and talents and even your abundance — with those who did not have the same opportunities or help that you did.

3. Do you want to help others take risks?

As an entrepreneur, you've learned how to take calculated risks. Now many people in your own generation will need to learn this risk-taking skill just to survive over the next 20 years. And younger generations of entrepreneurs will need your risk-taking guidance to ensure they are not taking unnecessary risks.

The hope is that you will become much better at sharing your business experiences and values with each other as you age so that many can learn from you.

Core values checklist: Here is a fast way to identify and clarify your personal core values. First, write down a value you think is important or core to you. Then ask yourself the following questions about that value:

  • Is this a value you have freely chosen for yourself?
  • Have you chosen it from real alternatives?
  • Is it a value you have been practicing for a long time?
  • Is it a value you intend to practice in the future?
  • If someone challenged your value, would you be willing to publicly defend it?

It turns out that the key core values taught to boomers when they were growing up often re-emerge as they face the challenges of midlife and beyond. This is why value clarification is a critical step in the process of business transition to help today's owners discover how to make life more meaningful in their post-transition years.


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