The extraordinary appeal of over 45s (and why I want to coach them!)

Did you know that Jimi Hendrix’ first foray into the US market was a bit of a flop? He was big in the UK, but widely unknown in the US. In 1967 the Monkees discovered him and invited him to tour with them. It was a complete disaster, with Jimi finally walking off the stage in disgust, and only performing a handful of the scheduled 29 performances. The audience just didn’t get him! For those of you who know the Monkees, have a think about it. What on earth would their audience, who were largely teenie boppers, make of the highly unconventional Jimi?

I have been thinking about the audience that I like playing to the most. Chances are, if you like playing to them, they will like listening to you! Case in point, Jimi was known to refer to the music of the Monkees as dishwater. I have realized that a lot of the audiences I am have been wanting to attract are ones that I feel I should be playing to, or that others have told me to play to. (This year has been one of the most extraordinary transitional times of my life; I think mainly because I am giving myself a total reality check on how I want to be living rather than how I am living according to rules created by myself and others; here’s a blog I wrote on that earlier this year).

When I think of a group of people that I have loved working with in the past, who get extraordinary insights as a result of us working together, and who I find particularly appealing, it is people who are over 45 years of age. By the time they get to 45 years old, they can’t help but have experienced some massive highs and lows, they do most likely have a better idea of who they are and what they love,  they have probably lost most of their younger self angst, and they don’t follow other people’s rules; they create their own…..

Or do they… really?

When I delivered the ‘career decisions by decade’ series on The Paul Henry show last year (a nice way to carve myself a regular spot by focusing on a bunch of interviews vs one offs!), by far the decade that elicited the most feedback was that of the over 50s and 60s. I was inundated by gorgeous people of these decades connecting with me, exasperated that their job hunting efforts had failed; deflated about feeling ‘washed up’ or feeling trapped in a career that they now hated.  The common theme was that now that they were of this age, they felt that their choices were significantly reduced and they really had no idea how they could continue to generate income (which many of them still had to do).

A good friend of mine recently shared that she and some of our closer friends were feeling anxious about turning 50 years old. Ok, I understand that there is still an obsession with youth in our culture, I also know that as we edge into our 50s and 60s our ‘warrants of fitness’ can fail more regularly, and health, energy and sleeping challenges can impact what we are up for. But what about the opportunities? What about the different ways we can make money these days? What about our freedom to work from anywhere in the world?

I know countless stories of people who have reinvented themselves beautifully in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Like the woman who decided she loved interior decorating after years in corporate, and managed to score a sales role where she caned the targets every month. The man who studied to become a lawyer in his 50s. The woman who left a cut throat industry and now spends her days doing what she really loves around theatre and history.  The high flying Wall St broker who came crashing down with a supposedly non curable illness, discovered reflexology as a way to cure herself, and now supports others through the same. The diversity specialist who sold up everything and is traveling around the world.  

The interesting thing about all these stories, are that they are not ones that might makethe news. They are not ‘out of the ordinary’. But ask any of these people how much happier they are than in their previous world? How much more time do they spend with their family? How are they sleeping?  I am not promising that making a move into the unknown is guaranteed for success but when you are struggling with the crazy pace of your life, the stress, the compromise, the politics, it’s a sure sign to take some action (and not wait for a health scare to force you to look at it).

I used to implore people to discover their absolute truth, their purpose, be a stand for changing the world in a big way, and earn big bucks doing so. I absolutely believe that this is still a brilliant (and highly rewarding) option for many people, but I also think to a certain extent, that it was a form of sabotage for me, and gave me a great excuse to beat myself up and feel like a failure when I wasn’t getting those kind of results, either for me or some of my clients.

If my dear Dad was still alive, he would have turned 80 two days ago. He was an amazing role model for doing what he loved; working in television in its heyday, and feeling super blessed for being paid to play with exciting and new technology. But in his later years, he was really biding time before he and mum felt comfortable enough financially to retire and move from Dunedin to Wanaka. Just before his 60th birthday, a very close family member died suddenly, at the age of 62. It was a brutal wake up call for him, and Mum and Dad were living in Wanaka within the year, and enjoyed the most amazing 16 years together (with an enviable social life!) before he died. I like to think that I am honouring Dad by supporting others to have the courage to work out what’s truly important to them and just making it happen.

This is my audience! People over 45 years who are running themselves ragged (or even just a little discontent) doing what they know in their heart of hearts isn’t really them.

If you (or someone you know)  are interested in exploring a six month coaching Illuminate partnership with me, then let's have a coffee and I can (lightly!) ask you a bunch of questions that will give you some powerful upfront clarity. That includes working out if you are playing to your version of The Monkees! Through the partnership, you will uncover aspects about yourself you never knew, discover the slip stream that opens up when you start doing what you want to do (not what you think you should do), open yourself to a world of reinvention opportunity that you weren’t aware of, and start feeling that life is simply easier and more enjoyable. I will also be hosting regular get togethers where a bunch of over 45s can explore this in a relaxed, safe and inquiring environment. The focus is on a mix of personal development and practical support to allow you to actually get on with it, and make it become a reality (which may include a transition time to keep yourself going financially).

I will finish up sharing this YouTube post create by Gary Vaynerchuk for anyone who is approaching or has just turned 50 and is having a hard time coming to terms with it. Interesting that Gary is only 40 himself and I think he has some really valid points; how much of our excuses are created by our own limited way of thinking? Take the opportunity to reinvent!!!

Posted on September 19, 2016 .