After I turned 60 this year, I was often asked, “When are you going to retire?” I ask myself the same question and my response still is: Why quit now? I love what I do and I still look forward to Mondays. I’m not a workaholic, and maybe that is the key. I feel like I am contributing well today, although it does look different at this phase in my career.
It made me wonder why some people are so ready and why others cannot imagine quitting, even if they could. Here are a few attributes of those who want to stay in the game (and are welcomed players):
- Achiever who is achieving
We continue to achieve high marks at Marco and that keeps me motivated. To me, it’s fun to lead a high-performing growth company, build careers and positively impact so many people. If you’re good at what you do and like doing it, why quit? Tom Brady is a good example of this in the sports world.
- Surrounded by good leaders
I get to sit alongside some of the best leaders that I know – every day. Surrounding yourself with competent people is the best way that I know to stay sharp and keep you on your toes. Together, we hold each other accountable to deliver strong results.
- Embraces complexity
Yes, not just change. The company I joined in 1984 is very different today. It’s not limited to the products and services that Marco sold back then, but the complexity of the systems and processes to support what we sell today. This is not specific to just the technology industry. There was a time when we went to a grocery store and there was one – or two – apple choices. Now there are multiple – too many to list. Those in the transportation industry are imagining the near future with driverless vehicles. We are operating in a more complex world.
- Practices good health
I have seen many leaders retire for health reasons – their own or needing to care for a loved one. I pray for my health and the health of my family every day. I don’t take it for granted, and I make an effort to exercise (almost) every day, eat pretty good and maintain work-life balance. Be mindful of your health – it’s important to take good care of yourself.
- Sees contributions
This is important. We all want to be key contributors, but we can easily be fooled to think we are contributing when we’re not. We can make the mistake of overestimating the value that we bring. Just because someone has done something for a long time doesn’t mean they are still good at it. We need to validate with our trusted advisors that we are keeping our saws sharp and holding ourselves accountable. Some leaders do stay “too long.”
Careers go faster than you think. I know some day I will miss waking up on Monday morning looking forward to a productive work week with a team that continues to set new records. I like what I do and I’m not wishing any time away. I hope the same is true for you.