Camping, disruption and the importance of career longevity

| June 27, 2016

Being engaged in a career that inspires you and provides mental challenge is as important to health and vitality as exercise and a good diet. Leah Sparkes says the good news is that it’s never too late to start.

Odd headline, I know, but yes – disruption has come to the camping industry. We have discovered Airbnb for camping and have found a private camping paradise in the beautiful Hunter Valley. We have been there a couple of times and met the farmers that own the property. The first time we were there we had a lovely fireside chat about life as farmers. We talked about the land, cattle, horses and chickens. At the time I remember Lindsay mentioning that he learned to read and write at 55 years old. That was rather amazing, I thought.

A few weeks ago we camped there again. As we were packing up camp, our farmer friends were arriving back from running a leadership conference in Melbourne. As it turns out they run conferences all over the world! I have to admit this was not the conversation I expected to have.

We had a long chat and a bit of a laugh that were in the same business. Lindsay said what inspired him to read and write at 55 was the message he heard when he attended Robert Kiyosaki seminar over 15 years ago. Within seven years of attending that seminar he had not only learned to read and write but was on stage interviewing Mr. Kiyosaki at a large leadership conference. Since then Lindsay and his wife Pam have run leadership programs around the world and have spoken to audiences as large as 80,000 people in the US last year.

I was very inspired by Lindsay’s story and struck by just how much motivation and a strong sense of purpose is a key driver to success in your career. And how it is never too late.

Last weekend I went to a 65th birthday party with a crowd that consisted mainly of the 60-70 age group. Most of the people I spoke to were still passionately involved in careers as journalists, lawyers, and business owners. They were a pretty lively bunch. Very similar to Lindsay who is now 70, clear eyed, purposeful and vibrant.

The lesson for me was obvious: Being engaged in a career that inspires you and provides mental challenge is as important to health and vitality as exercise and a good diet. And it is never too late to start.

Plenty of research backs this up. One new study from Oregon State University indicates that working past age 65 could lead to longer life, while retiring early may be a risk factor for dying earlier. The researchers found that healthy adults who retired one year past age 65 had an 11 % lower risk of death from all causes, even when taking into account demographic, lifestyle and health issues. Adults who described themselves as unhealthy were also likely to live longer if they kept working, the findings showed, which indicates that factors beyond health may affect post-retirement mortality.

So where are you? Is your career one that inspires you and gives you purpose? Does it have longevity? Do you have a career plan for your life span?