I was listening to an episode of the Unretirement podcast that was on creativity which featured Richard Leider who has written a number of self-help books, including several about finding purpose in your life.
Richard Leider gave this formula: G+P+V=P Gifts + Passion + Values = Purpose
Gifts are those talents we have that we really care about. They are not just “what you’re good at” but also what you love to do. That leads right into the passion you feel for things or even a deep curiosity you have about something. Values have meaning besides the things you value and the values that guide your actions. It includes the environment where you live and work – a healthy environment, not just a physically healthy environment, but also an environment (such as in your home or workplace) where relationships are healthy.
Your purpose then becomes the reason for getting up in the morning.
Having written books with titles like The Power of Purpose and Life Reimagined, you might guess that in his talk on that particular podcast the topic might have focused on people who are at a point in their life where they’re asking, “What’s next?”
Chris Farrell’s podcast on “unretirement” comes from his own book on the topic, Unretirement. In it he describes the old idea of retirement as meaning withdrawal. He see that definition of stopping productive employment and minimizing their activities as a “short-lived historical anomaly” whose time has ended.
Farrell sees the boomer generation, poised to live longer in better health than any before, as the generation to go into unretirement―extending their working lives, often with new careers, entrepreneurial ventures, and volunteer service.
I am one of those people who is asking myself “What’s next?” but Chris Farrell’s past life reporting on personal finance and economics drives a lot of his unretirement ideas.
His book’s subtitle – How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life, and the podcast dwell too much for me with the financial impact of working longer.
He believes (and he’s not alone) that if you can work well into your 60s, even earning just a part-time income through a bridge job or contract work, you’ll make so much more in the course of a year than you could from saving. This is a financial picture of not having to tap your retirement nest egg during those years, maybe even adding to it, and waiting to claim Social Security until age 66 or 70.
Money and “work” in any traditional sense is not the purpose I see driving me for the remainder of my life.
For me, Richard Leider’s ideas of a life reimagined is concerned with a new phase of life that is not focused on money.
In one of his blog posts he talks about giving a friend the book A Year to Live by Stephen Levine. He wanted to encourage his friend to adopt a new outlook for his life. He wanted him to shift to “living with purpose” rather than “having a purpose.” Stephen Levine‘s book also has a subtitle (as it seems all non-fiction books must these days): How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last.
Thankfully, I don’t only have a year to live as far as I know, but it is not too soon to be thinking about being better about fully living now before the end comes. In other words, live as if you had only one year left. Leider believes that the experience of living this way for just one day can inform and impact your own sense of purpose because living with purpose means choosing how we spend our time, choosing how we will use our most enjoyed “gifts” in order to create more joy and meaning for ourselves and others.
A formula like Gifts + Passion + Values = Purpose is a nice shorthand for a complicated sets of ideas and a big change in lifestyle. But there is no simple formula that works for everyone. It is simplified even more in a scene from City Slickers. (A comedy that I saw 24 years ago that has a few serious scenes that have stuck with me.) It’s all about finding that “one thing.” And that one thing is not something anyone else can tell you. You have to find it.