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5 Steps To Nail A Successful Second Act

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One of the most fascinating times in our leadership life cycle is when we begin to think about our second acts. For some leaders it could mean moving into a new career trajectory while for others it may kick-start their transition into retirement. It can be both a frightening time, anticipating the unknown next step, and also exciting to welcome a well-deserved change. In either case a successful Act 2 usually doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that seasoned leaders must carefully plan in order to assure a successful Act 2.

As expected, in my Planning For Your Second Act workshop this past week, there were tons of emotions and a great deal of curiosity. Participants in this program are usually seasoned leaders who have been with an organization for many years. They come with wisdom, perspective and gratitude. What they don’t seem to be able to do is visualize the next part of their journey. That’s when the fun kicks in. Together and individually we create vision boards that help clarify their plan.

Here Are Five Steps To Nail A Successful Act 2:

1. Be Open-Minded and Curious

The most successful transitions to a Second Act commence with leaders remaining open to different possibilities. Our state of mind can greatly impact how we embrace our journey and feel about it. Yes there are definitely emotions involved but the key is to move from fear to curiosity. Commit to planning for a new path.

2. Think About What Brings You Joy

Some of the questions that we ask in the workshop help participants to reflect on what energizes them in their daily routines.

  • What parts of your job brings you fulfillment?
  • What causes have you volunteered for and may be passionate about?
  • When you were a child, what did you enjoy doing that you could bring into your Second Act?

3. Talk To Colleagues and Friends

As we move towards Act 2 it is always helpful to speak with other leaders who have been through it as well as those in the middle of the transition. One of the most popular reasons that the participants enjoy the program is that they learn so much from one another. In one case a person shared where they volunteered which was interesting to others in the class. Meeting and talking with others can be both helpful and supportive.

Related: 5 New Year Actions For Leaders Everywhere

4. Create A Visual

The ultimate exercise that we embark on is creating vision boards of how we see our Second Acts. These boards are based on the responses that the participants gave to the empowering questions we explored. Vision boards are incredibly powerful in helping us picture our direction. Keep them in your view to remind you of your next act. So what do you need for a vision board?

  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Markers
  • Pictures from magazines or other brochures
  • Your creativity

5. Develop Your Plan of Action

The final step in nailing our Act 2 is developing a written plan of action. The plan needs to clarify your vision as well as set goals and timeframes to achieve each objective. Just like keeping vision boards front and center we also need to place our plan in full view. Why? Because it will keep leaders focused and on track to a successful Second Act.

How are you mapping out your Second Act?

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