Your “retirement” could be longer than your career. What if you reject the traditional version of retirement that your neighbors and your colleagues have in mind? What if instead, you design a new life around what matters most to you and yours? And what if you bring the same qualities that made you successful to your new post-career chapters?
Today’s guests, Milledge and Patti Hart are the authors of The Resolutionist: Welcome To The Anti-Retirement Movement. The Harts are living their new life on their own terms, based on twelve Resolutions they developed that define a pathway to make this phase of life the best of their life. And you can apply ideas from their framework to do the same – and measure your progress – as you define it – along the way.
Milledge and Patti Hart join us from California.
On The Anti-Retirement Movement
“This generation of people actually really relates to the word anti. We were anti-war, we’re anti-aging or anti-racism. Whatever the word is, it doesn’t mean that you’re against it. It really means that you’re trying to redefine it. And I think that’s really why we chose the word anti-retirement to say: How do we get society to shift its thinking about retirement and put it in a new place? If you think about the work we’ve done with the Stanford Longevity center, we have added 30 years to our lifespan in the last century and that’s all in retirement. And so how do we take an anti-retirement approach and say: We’re not going to approach this in the same way that historically the world has approached retirement? And if you’re anti-something, you’re definitely pro-something else.”
On Prioritizing Yourself
“It’s important to me because it’s something I’d never done before because you’re at such a different place in life, where you are more in control of things. Things aren’t being set up for you and done for you. I’m making certain that I now [have] no guilt around moving myself up the priority list. It’s important for a lot of reasons. I think at this stage of life mental health, self-confidence, and physical health [are] obvious things that matter when you get to this stage of life. But for me, it was the guilt. I had to really deal with the guilt of saying it’s okay for me today to spend today on me.”
On Metrics for Your New Life
“We all have lived with scorecards, probably since you were five years old, right? You brought home your first report card from school – and then you find yourself at whatever age you retire. And now there’s no scorecard. There’s no year-end bonus. There is no raise. There’s no promotion. There’s no whatever your scorecard was, whatever units it was in. And so it is important to your self-confidence that you actually see yourself making progress, that you see yourself as relevant, that you see yourself as important, and that you see yourself as still accomplishing. But for each person, it’s very different. One of the things Milledge and I talk about in our book is really pushing people to try to measure the unmeasurable because the things we have been measuring – wealth and bonuses and money and units of whatever you [tracked ] – are gone. Now, what’s your weight? And how many miles did you run today? Those are easy to measure, but we really pushed ourselves to say: How do we measure the unmeasurable? And we did that by saying, What is our desired state? What’s the desired outcome? Is it a level of happiness, a level of connectedness, a level of relevancy? What’s the end state that you’re trying to accomplish? And what moves you towards that and start measuring deeper in the funnel?… We all need to have a measurement system in life, but it does need to be developed around what is important to you.”
Patti Hart spent her early life in a small town in Illinois cheering for her Chicago Cubs, going to public schools and sharing chores with her many siblings. Her role models were in the most unlikely places—her high school teacher who pushed for organized girls sports and won—her grandmother—a woman ahead of her time in strength and resolve—and her guitar instructor, who was unafraid to take center stage in a business dominated by men. Though life was not always easy, it was filled with laughter, hugs, support, and challenges.
Patti was fortunate to find her way into the telecommunications industry at a time when no one could have predicted the growth and change that lay ahead. Several promotions and numerous relocations later, she found herself in places she never thought she would go. She took risks and defied the odds to enjoy a career that spanned three decades of leadership positions in the technology sector and was honored to be a member of Fortune Magazine’s inaugural list of “Most Powerful Women” in 1998.
Patti has worn many professional hats: CEO, Chairman, Board Member, Investor, and Advisor but is most proud of her personal life as: wife, mother, sister, daughter, neighbor, and friend. As an adult, she has called many cities home and found each place to offer wonderful opportunities to learn and grow.
She has always valued community involvement and has dedicated her free time to advancing the arts, human rights, and “sport for all.”
Patti is a proud alumna of Illinois State University and counts herself as a lifetime “Redbird.” She was named ISU’s Distinguished Alumni in 2015.
In her “retired but engaged” stage of life, this Resolutionist splits her time between the beauty of Lake Tahoe and the intellect of Silicon Valley.
Milledge is a Dallas native, where playing high school football and becoming an Eagle Scout were expected. Milledge began his overachievement early, becoming an Eagle Scout before the age of fifteen and having his godfather, Ross Perot, present him with his medal commemorating the accomplishment.
Milledge was blessed with many gifts in life. His father, Mitch Hart, gave him the gift of “not being afraid to set the bar high.” His Grandmother gave him the gift of respecting discipline and the benefits of a regimented life. And Duke University gave him the gift of an education far beyond the classroom, where he began to realize what was possible.
Following his collegiate years, Milledge moved to two new worlds—New York City and investment banking. Both would later become foundational parts of his future. The next step in his journey was to gain operational experience. A better understanding of his clients was eye-opening and would prove to be valuable as he made his way to California to, ultimately, form a new investment bank with several partners. But this time he could approach his work with his client’s priorities in mind.
Milledge credits much of his success to the advice and counsel he received from others and chose, through his leadership at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and involvement with the Young Presidents’ Organization, to “pay it forward.”
Personally, Milledge had never seen himself becoming a parent but, as we know, life is full of surprises! He has embraced his role as one of the many parents to Patti’s son and has found it to be one of the most challenging but most rewarding parts of his life.
As a newly minted Resolutionist, Milledge enjoys the diversity of his portfolio: working through charitable organizations to make the world a better place while still advancing corporate activities in a variety of industries.
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