TapasLife Talk — An Invitation

My goal here on TapasLife is to get the word out about the possibility of leading a rich, full,  and meaningful life after one’s long career — especially given the longevity that is giving many 2-3 decades of life after their long career.

This blog is one vehicle for communicating my message.  Through the 54 posts on this website, I’ve shared much of what I’ve learned while assembling and living my TapasLife.  As a result, you’ve likely noticed that I’ve lately been posting infrequently.  I’m grateful to any reader who passes a link to this blog along to others in their 50s and 60s who might benefit from reading about my experiences and gleanings.

In addition to this blog, the book that I’m working on with my co-author will (hopefully) one day be published and made widely available so many can consider a new post-long-career life that has been largely unavailable until now.

A third channel I’ve worked on for exposing people to the TapasLife option is talks.  I’ve done three of these, each for a different group of people at different venues.  I got feedback at all three and incorporated that feedback into the talk.  After the first presentation, I got the feedback that I should add other people’s experiences to my own.  so I included anecdotes from the 14 interviews done to date.  I also received feedback that there should be some interactive portions to the talk, and added a couple.  After the third talk, I received feedback that sharing my “random walk” approach in a chronological fashion wasn’t so easy to absorb, and that perhaps a more prescriptive, cookbook-like approach (apropos of Tapas…) would be better.  And that I might emphasize some portions of the talk more than others.  So I changed the talk accordingly.  And I added another couple interactive sections since these have been so well received.

At this point, the talk is about an hour.  It is a set of colorful, pictorial powerpoint slides (not a bunch of bullet-points/words/texty stuff), prettified with the help of a visuals specialist;  and includes four opportunities for the audience to have exploratory conversations in pairs amongst themselves (these have proven to be very high energy — and in fact are difficult to cut off!).  It happens that in my 28 years in the tech world, mostly in marketing, I got passingly good at talking in front of groups of all sizes (including 600+ at large meetings), and am very comfortable doing so.

I’m all dressed up, so to speak, and all that’s needed is somewhere to go!  THIS IS AN INVITATION to please invite me to speak with some group you are associated with that you believe would benefit from learning about the TapasLife.  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and am happy to drive anywhere in the extended area in order to talk with your group.  I do not charge a speaker fee at all because this is part of my Meaningful Tapa — I’m just trying to be helpful to others as they complete their long career.  I am willing to travel outside the Bay Area if modest travel expenses are reimbursed.

Groups might include service organizations, church/temple/mosque-related groups, work groups, companies who offer services to their employees who are “retiring,” community organizations, groups of friends, businesses that serve people in their 50s and 60s (as a service to their clientele), and no doubt many others.

When you bring me in to talk with your group, you are helping people avoid the difficult wall that many run into when they complete their long career one Friday afternoon and have very little idea about the complex transition on which they’ve embarked.  And likely even less of a notion about how to live a rich, full, meaningful life for the ensuing 20-30 years.

Your assistance in putting me in front of groups who can benefit is greatly appreciated.  I can be emailed at Andy@TapasLife.com.  Thanks!

Life Coaching

Going into Life Coaching, I was concerned about two needed skills:  Dancing in the Moment (I’ll explain) and Acting on Intuition.  And they were somewhat intertwined.  Here’s why.

When I was in my 30s, I decided that I was a pretty logical guy, primarily a logical guy, and that I would therefore ignore any intuition I might experience or any hunch I might have in favor of figuring the situation out logically.  And so, for around 28 years, I very deliberately stomped on any intuitive feelings.  Part of that turns out to be stomping on a fair number of emotional reactions.  I don’t mean emotional like screaming at someone, but rather the sensing of what emotions one is feeling at any given moment.

A benefit of this is that I’ve had a more even keel than most for decades now.  A cost of this is that I’ve been less fully alive than I might’ve been.

But one must experience one’s emotions and sense one’s intuitions in order to be able to act on them, and that’s needed in Life Coaching.

Related to this way of being since my 30s, when somebody said something to me, I didn’t “just respond.”  I heard what they said, mulled it over logically, constructed possible responses in my head, picked one, and responded.  This was, to me, a part of being logical in life.  And, this is anathema to Dancing in the Moment.  This coaching technique requires that when you hear the client say something, you come right back with an observation or recapitulation or open-ended question based on your emotion-based intuitive reaction — instantly.  There’s no “thinking about it.”  It’s an immediate response without contemplation.

So, I was worried about being able to Act on my (carefully squashed) Intuition and about being able to Dance in the Moment.

I hired a Life Coach of my own and found that with some attention to these attributes and some practice, I did, indeed, have these capabilities buried inside me.  And they started to come back to life with practice.  Concerns allayed, I progressed with the training program at the Coaches’ Training Institute (CTI) in San Rafael, the outfit founded by the authors of the “Co-Active Coaching” book.

The learning is extremely experiential.  So one is always either practicing elements of coaching, being coached, or observing and commenting on a coaching activity;  or debriefing with others on the gleanings of the just-completed exercise.  This is an excellent learning modality for me personally, and it is hard for me to imagine learning Life Coaching any other way.  I loved it!

I’m an introvert, and so being around other people a lot uses up my energy and results in me wanting to be alone to recharge (likely playing piano, on my bike, in nature, with a book or magazine).  The CTI classes were all-day 3-day weekends.  And yet, by Sunday afternoon, I found myself positively energized, instead of needing to slink off to recharge!  This was a different kind of human interaction, and one that I thrived on.

Early in the course, we had homework to do a practice coaching session.  And soon we were encouraged to secure a coaching client — even if it was for 20 bucks — or free.  As I did this, I found that I was able to help another person make a significant improvement to their life.  Wow!  This was meaningful!

Since completing the course (five of those packed 3-day weekends), I’ve had 2-4 coaching clients at any given moment.  I cap my Life Coaching activity at five clients, since it is a Tapa, and not a new career.  The fact is that at any point in time, several of my Tapas threaten to expand to take over a lot of my time, and I work to keep each one in check.  It’s easy with Life Coaching — five clients max.  I could go on and make the further investment of getting certified as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, but haven’t been motivated to do so to date.  I’m not a perfectionist and I do find my Life Coaching activity to be providing a lot of valuable service to others.  Perhaps I’ll go back to get certified someday, but not now.  Meanwhile, I do coaching work with a client for an hour or a bit more twice a month.  So you can see that the time commitment fits comfortably into my Tapas Life.

I don’t really know what counsel I can give you about finding your own Meaningful Tapa.  As you’ve seen, I wandered into mine.  The best advice I can give is to be aware that you are searching for one.  Or perhaps you are lucky enough to already know what yours is.

I will in coming posts at least provide some food for thought on the topics of Happiness and Meaning.



Something Missing

If you’ve been reading most or all of these posts, you can see that over the period of a few years I’ve built myself an interesting and varied life.  It’s very different from the years when I was working at my long career.  Those where made up of either work and leisure time (pre-kids) or work and family (post-kids).  These Tapas Life years are so much more diverse in their array of activities and their engagement with many more of the opportunities that surround us.

And yet, I found my then newly-named Tapas Life to be missing something.  I didn’t know what, though.  It just felt somehow empty, despite it’s rainbow of enjoyable elements.

The world was fortunately awash with print articles talking about Meaningful Work at that time.  In reading some of those articles, the light bulb started to glow ever so dimly.  My wife actually wrote her doctoral dissertation on a related topic, so I was able to easily explore further at the dinner table.  After enough soak time rattling around in my brain-case, the fully-formed notion that I needed a Meaningful Tapa emerged.

Of course, I had no clue what that might be.  I did come to realize that without a Meaningful Tapa, my Tapas Life was incomplete.  Part of the problem was that I had very carefully and with lots of consideration and planning programmed myself to pursue a set of Life Goals back in the mid-1980s, and achieved the last of those in 2000, aged 48.  What made that a “problem” is that there was really nothing else I wanted out of my time on the planet other than the delight of grandchildren, a matter waaaaaay out of my control!  So I had lots of “what’s the point” chatter in my inner dialogue, and this went on rather steadily.  I’m a reasonably upbeat guy, or this might have led to a poor outcome…

The environmentalist part of me also regarded my Tapas Life (thus far, still incomplete) as purely hedonistic, a mere vehicle for consumption of the Earth’s resources.  A leech of sorts, if you will.  Certainly not very flattering and quite dissonant with my values.

As is often the case for an introvert like me, I just kept having silent discussions with myself and chewing on the topic, at length.  This was a frustrating process for me, as I usually have a clue of where I’m heading (I sure as hell had a clue of where I was heading when I way busy going after those life goals!).  This time I did not.

To be sure, my time on the Board and Exec Committee of our synagogue was in some degree meaningful.  My service to our family is definitely meaningful, and yet it is so ingrained as to feel simply that it is a basic part of me, not as though it is something I am doing.  And so some other chunk was missing from my life, something that would become my Meaningful Tapa.

More on that in the next post.