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Dr. Foster Mobley | Weekly Wisdoms

We're All Young At Something: "Seniorpreneurs"

In my last Weekly Wisdom, I spoke about professional athletes' careers ending when they're around 40, forcing them into occupations in which they are very young. Now I want to talk about something similar but different: retirees starting businesses.

According to an AARP survey of about 1,500 adults aged 45 to 74, one in ten people who work for someone else say they plan to start their own business when they retire. The survey also found that 15 percent of workers in that age group are currently self-employed. What makes this extraordinary is that these "seniorpreneurs" are voluntarily becoming young in their new lines of work.

It takes courage, confidence and passion to leave a lifelong career and branch out into something as challenging as running your own business. Even if you start a company in the same field in which you worked for 40 years, being a small business owner is like being a first-grader all over again, with a lot less room for error.

Millions are doing it, or planning it, but why? I think, in part, it's because becoming young at things renews us. We go from "been there, seen that, done that" in our previous profession to "I don't know, teach me" in our new one. While potentially frightening it's also thrilling and energizing. Part of the attraction of being young in something is that we get to be kids again. Sure, we'll make rookie mistakes. But we also get to discover new gifts that we might not have believed we had. That's magic.

How has being young in something reinvigorated you? How can you bring that to the people you lead?

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