Graduation (at any age)
A recent guest on the Catalyst 360 podcast left me pleasantly surprised when he used a unique choice of words to describe a significant transition in his life: graduation. Our conversation had nothing to do with school; rather, we were discussing what most people would commonly refer to as “retirement” after a long and successful career. However, as we delved deeper into the topic, the reasoning and wisdom behind his word choice began to shine through.
For many in the population, retirement symbolizes an escape from the daily grind. After years of toiling through the routine, we finally feel unshackled and ready to live the life we’ve always dreamed of. Mr. Hottman, whose episode will be featured in November, astutely pointed out that individuals who view retirement as an escape, a chance to get away from something, often find themselves struggling. In contrast, those who choose to “graduate,” signifying a move forward into the next phase of growth, tend to thrive. “Wow.”
This powerful concept isn’t confined to the realm of career transitions but can be effectively applied to various life changes. Take, for example, the most basic of transitions – school graduation. Some may view it as “finally done,” while others see it as the gateway to the next phase in their life journey. The same principle applies to a job change. Do we bid “good riddance” to the previous role, or do we regard it as valuable training for what lies ahead? This concept extends to relationships, relocating to a new city, or any other significant life transition.
The word “retirement” originated in the 16th century and was associated with “an act of retreating, of falling back.” In contrast, the term “graduate” has its roots a century earlier, defining “a step toward something.” We encounter transitions regularly in life, and the words we choose to describe them define our outlook. On this 17th day of October, 2023, will we choose to retreat, or take a bold step forward?