It’s a wonderful thing when someone loves what they do.
I’m grateful to say that I am one of those people. Each day, I wake up with a clear sense of purpose and passion, knowing that I get to go to work and do what I love. Supporting my clients in their retirement journeys means everything to me. My clients, many of whom I’ve built meaningful relationships with, are on their way to aligning money with meaning in their lives. And honestly, nothing makes me happier.
But feeling this way about my work – about who I am and what I do – didn’t happen overnight. It has literally taken me years, years of introspection and insight. I’ve had to spend a lot of time looking inside myself, accepting who I am and exploring who I can be. And then I’ve had to take time to look outside of myself and to consider the contribution I make in the lives of others.
Having travelled this road of self-reflection, I can say with conviction that it is worth every well-worn step – even if the destination isn’t always clear at the outset.
A retirement that works
Part of what I do in my work is to encourage conversation. Some of the conversations I have with my clients are about work in retirement. Many of them have found work that they are passionate about, which is incredibly exciting to see.
My husband is one of those people. At age 57, Gys found his next career. Well, that’s not entirely true. He re-found his career because it was when he was a young school boy that he started this particular kind of business – hand-making wooden pencil boxes and selling them to his school friends. This developed into making lamps and little side-tables and at the age of 16, he walked bravely into Tony Factor’s factory to show him some of what he’d made. Tony bought everything he had. And so began his career. His business grew to 350 people, with his company making furniture for the likes of Game, Dion and Pick n Pay. This type of business growth meant that he no longer got to use his hands. Instead, he was heading up a big business, managing people and managing money.
Work: it’s a pleasure
Ten years ago, he sold his business and selling woodworking machines has been something he’s been doing ever since. But all my talking about passion, purpose and finding pleasure in retirement got him thinking (Who knew he listened to me!). He decided build a workshop at home so he could work with his hands once again. Owning a woodworking machine business made it possible for him to set up his dream workshop – with machines that most men would kill for! Gys didn’t realise how much he had missed working with his hands – and with wood. This latest venture saw him making things like jewellery boxes and trays. But now, a year in, he’s back in business, making bespoke furniture with beautiful, indigenous wood for commissioning clients. Finding his way back to the work he loves has invigorated him. He knows what he loves. And doing what he loves will be focus for him in the decades ahead, as he starts to leave a legacy with his beautifully handcrafted pieces.
What stands out about people who create encore careers is the way in which they all light up when they talk about their work. Their enthusiasm and excitement are contagious. They live in a place where work meets wonderful. Where do you live?