Resilience for Boomers & Beyond - Will what got you here get you there?

I'm teaching a resilience workshop for Friends Life Care (FLC), a nonprofit Quaker organization that provides in-home health care, related personal-care services, and facility care to enrolled members. The workshop is part of VigR (Vitality, Independence, Growth, and Resilience) - a new program FLC has rolled out to develop greater wellness for members and the community at large. The VigR program offers 5 Enrichment Workshops – all research-based programs, including Adaptiv's “Boost Your Resilience!” program. FLC is a terrific organization and I'm delighted to be both a member and a facilitator for one of these workshops.

At Adaptiv we're developing a resilience course for the growing 50-and-older set. Since the participants in the VigR workshop are all either well along in their careers or well-retired, I was interested in exploring the nature of resilience for this group of “Baby Boomers and Beyond”. To paraphrase Marshall Goldsmith, I wanted to know if “what got them here was going to get them there”. So, in the first of our four weekly sessions, I posed a question: How do the challenges and opportunities you are facing in your life now compare with those you’ve experienced in previous phases of your life?

This led to such a lively discussion that we decided to revisit the question at our second session. Here’s what they've came up with so far:

First the challenges:

  • Lack of energy - Work requires lots of energy. I'm finding it tougher to reach and sustain the energy level I need to keep up.
  • Invisibility - Earlier in my life, I was the go-to person, both at work and in the rest of my life. Even though I'm smarter and wiser now, the younger folks at work don't ask me anything. Sometimes I feel like I'm invisible!
  • More exercise - Exercise used to be an option. Now, not only do I need to work out 5 or 6 times a week, I've got to work out harder than ever just to stay keep my weight and conditioning in line.
  • More focus on what's wrong - When we go out with other couples, it seems like we spend most of our time talking about our various pains, injuries and ailments, and what doctors we've seen. I call it the "organ recital"!
  • Less control - When I think about the challenges that I faced earlier in life, most of them seemed fixable by me. Lately, I've been hitting up against stuff like caring for my sick and dying father, and worrying about whether my savings will last me. Some of the challenges just feel like they're out of my control, and that's hard for me to deal with.

Next, the opportunities:

  • What doesn't kill you will make you stronger - I've been through some really tough stuff the last few years. I feel like dealing with it has made me more resilient.
  • More time - I have more time now to spend with my family, and doing other things I didn't have time to do when working full time.

We're going to keep talking about this and adding to our list. We'll also be talking about what additional resilience skills boomers and beyond might need to survive and thrive.

What do you think? Will the resilience skills that got you where you are now going to get you where you're need to go? Let us hear from you!

All the best,


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