Back to basics
We can get caught up in moving forward with our Portfolio Executive workstyle and lose sight of what we’re really trying to achieve. We can lose sight of why we are motivated to do this in the first place.
That’s what I mean by back to basics.
Making Your Future Work – Consider a Portfolio Executive workstyle
If you have been following the different things that we have been talking about over the previous weeks and months, you will understand that I’m passionate about people having a working life that makes the most of everything they were created to be and enables that working life to support the wider lifestyle that they want now and in the future.
Enjoying your work after seventy: How much responsibility do you want?
I remember a very, very experienced professional who’d had some big corporate jobs and as he got older and more elderly, I would meet with him regularly. He told me that now, as he moved into his mid-seventies, all he believe he should do was watch and pray. To acknowledge this, he had a lapel badge with a heron. This is a bird that stands very still watching and then goes in and makes a brief intervention to catch a fish.
Making Your Future Work – Develop a Side Hustle
Lots of people like the idea of some kind of side hustle, but what does that really mean? What are the choices you face?
Making Your Future Work – Get Experience as a Board Member
It is incredibly valuable as a senior professional to get experience as a board member. There are three reasons that this really can make a difference to your career.
On your bike! A response to poverty in older people
When the Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride, in August 2023, suggested that older workers consider work in the ‘gig economy’, such as being a Deliveroo rider, it was immediately controversial.
Lifestyle Business versus a Death-style Business.
I was struck by the pejorative attitude with which so many commentators in the entrepreneurial world refer to a lifestyle business. Somehow the suggestion is you’re not a real entrepreneur if you’re running a lifestyle business. Somehow you haven’t got what it takes. You haven’t got the ambition. You will not be successful if you have a lifestyle business.
Making Your Future Work – Plan your exit from full-time employment.
There are many situations in our lives where we start to realise that full-time employment is just not working for us. It may be that we are coming into a season where we want to look after our families, we want to have children, we want to spend time with our children.
What I have learned from helping to develop the Adaptability of others.
The AQai framework has a key dimension of Ability. These are five different subdimensions where you can build your skills and equip yourself better to be adaptable. When I talk to people about changing their adaptability, by building their skills, it’s amazing how some very simple interventions can start to shift the dial. Resilience If […]
Making your Future Work: Assess Your Future Work Prospect Score
When I am working with you to help you think about your future, there are two crucial dimensions that I encourage you to examine. One is ‘need to work’ and the other is ‘need for new’. Let’s start with the ‘need to work’ dimension.
Getting Enjoyment Beyond your Niche
When I work with Portfolio Executives, at the beginning of our relationship the most crucial thing is to get really clear about the niche that you can use to present yourself to the world.
What is Most Important to You for Your 2nd Half Career?
As you start to review what you want out of your working going forward, consider what is most important to you.
Is Your Corporate Relationship on Life Support?
One of the things that I have constantly been surprised about is how, even if I go through all the logical reasons why you need to plan for your 2nd Half Career, people like you are very slow to act. It may be clear why you’re not going to be able to sustain your corporate career for the rest of your working life and why a Portfolio Executive workstyle makes absolute logical sense for you.
Reassess what you want from your job – Making Your Future Work
It’s very easy for us to just continue doing what we’re always doing. To assume that the next step is the same as the step before.
When is it time to start thinking about your 2nd Half Career?
I am constantly surprised how people’s 2nd Half Career milestone creeps up on them without them being aware. Then, as the forces come into play that limit their future career progression, they are surprised that they’ve run out of options and they’re looking at a future of work that is entirely unsatisfactory.
Is there Life beyond Meaningless Meetings for my Future Work?
It’s amazing that the more senior you get, the less time you have to do useful work. It feels like the whole of your life becomes meetings and that so many of those meetings feel meaningless.
How can I Multitask as a Portfolio Executive?
For many of us, we have had a working life where we have one job where we’re accountable to one set of people and we are doing one thing. When you become a Portfolio Executive, this no longer applies. You will have multiple clients who expect the best of you.
12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Failure
In our current society, we are always encouraged to set goals, set milestones, set KPI’s, in other words, define over and over again what success looks like. But we are less comfortable with recognising that every time we don’t hit those goals or milestones or KPI’s we are failing.
12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Risk
We are very poor judges of risk as human beings. In our society we invest huge amounts of money in reducing some risks, then are very careless about other risks.
10 Reasons that Becoming an Entrepreneur Won’t Make my Future Work
There is huge publicity for successful entrepreneurs. There are lots of people who have aspirations to be an entrepreneur. Too often, however, people have equated starting a business, as being an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is a very particular kind of individual.
12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Learning
There is some very interesting research, which has looked at the attitude to learning in young people, which, I think, translates very strongly to anybody, in whatever walk of life they are.
10 reasons why being a Contractor won’t Make my Future Work
Earlier in my career I was an IT contractor, working as a software developer, introduced by agencies. Projects typically ran from three to six and sometimes as long as nine months. I understand the opportunity that being a contractor can be for people. It can appear to be more rewarding than permanent salaried employment.
Mental Health – How to Manage your Mental Health
Back in March 2021, Jonathan MacDonald, Kaur Lass and myself had conversations about Mental Wellness Habits, this series of articles is based on those conversations. You can read the previous articles in the series here and here.
10 reasons why being an Independent Consultant will not Make my Future Work
Many people as a first step to leaving permanent full time salaried employment think, ‘I can just carry on doing what I’ve been doing, but as an independent freelancer working for my existing employer, then go and find some other organisations that I can be an independent freelancer for’. This can be a great way to start, if you have a plan to move on from that.
10 reasons that being an interim won’t make my future work
I talk to many people who have enjoyed the interim workstyle. They like the excitement of working in a new situation every three to nine months. The challenge of sorting things out and learning new things suits them. It can be a great kicker to your mid-career. But very often, I am talking to them because they realise that it won’t make their future work.
Mental Health – Focus and Passion
In my work with CEOs, Portfolio Executives and Charity leaders, I regularly see things that are stress factors. Addressing these is a critical part of what we do with people. I have had people come to me sent by their business partner because their partner recognises that they are literally working themselves to death.
Why full time professional employment won’t Make your Future Work
I have spent all my working life around professionals who have sought to build a career through their professional skills. But very early on in my working life I realised that, for me, being in full-time professional employment, wasn’t going to Make my Future Work.
How can I make the most of my holidays as a Portfolio Executive?
I meet many, many people who are freelancers or interims or who have moved into the Portfolio Executive workstyle and see themselves as almost self-employed. The mindset of people who are in that time for money business is, every day that I’m not looking for more work or not earning fees, is a cost. It’s a lost opportunity to make money.
Essential 8: Financial Freedom
When I was a partner at Arthur Andersen, we were enveloped by the Enron scandal and suddenly a business of 60,000 people came to an end. It was a personal tragedy for many. What struck me was the difference in attitude around the offices.
12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Self
Your attitude to self is a critical component of your success. I’ve recently become very interested in the thinking behind the model of Voice Dialogue. The people who founded the movement that has become Voice Dialogue realised, in summary, we don’t have one self.
Essential 7: Building your Support Team
You don’t need to be alone in making your decisions. Maybe you had parents, friends or partners as key supporters in the past for key decisions. This can be all a bit ad-hoc.
12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Challenge
In my experience there are very different ways in which people carry an attitude to challenge. I see there are some people who want to go out and pick a fight with the world, and there are others who, when confronted run away and hide. Between these extremes some will step forward in response to those who move towards them, while others will step back.
Becoming Part of the Portfolio Executive Community
Starting out on any kind of business on your own, is a lonely, and often scary, process.
It’s hard to push through the disappointments but it’s equally hard to understand when you’re doing well.
Essential 6: Know your true talents
One of my friends was recruiting a recent graduate in IT. This interviewee started to tell him about his time at university organising the annual ski trip. He enthused about arranging it, negotiating deals with the bars, dealing with illness, accidents and unfortunate behaviours, and getting everyone home in one piece. The story was nothing, and yet it was totally relevant to his job.
12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Planning
It may be a trite truism that failing to plan is planning to fail but planning is an essential attitude for success. Planning is part of an overall process which is often initiated by goal setting. I want to focus on a rhythm of planning that reflects a powerful attitude for success.
Essential 5: Your Personal Brand
If you want to be known for everything, you’ll be known for nothing. Most of us have multiple talents and skills. However, others want to know us as the person who can solve specifically this, or address that. “She’s the fix-it person for turn arounds”. “He’s the guy you call on when you want to launch a product”. Whatever you choose to be, your story, background, and personality, all contribute to this persona or brand.
12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Gratitude
Success can often be a lonely journey to achieve and there are many bumps along the way but there is a really powerful psychological tool that I have found makes a huge difference to how we see our world. And as we shift our attitude to our world with an attitude for gratitude then somehow the pathway to success seems smoother.
Mental Health – Psychotic or Self-managing?
It’s hard to miss the increasing call for us to talk about our mental health. The guilty secret of mental illness that has haunted individuals and families is giving way to increasing openness and recognition that mental health is an issue for us all. If this was 25 years ago, I’d be very reluctant to share my experience of a very severe manic episode that I had in my late teens.
Making your Future Work: Is your future doing what you love and loving what you do?
As I write this (Oct 21), the headlines trumpet that job vacancies are at an all-time high. Workers are expected to have more choice and opportunity than ever before. But for many of us, as we consider our future, we are confronted by two, seemingly unresolvable tensions: our working future with our employer and our career path has lost its promise and yet our financial commitments stretch into a future beyond our hopes of early retirement.
Essential 4: Courage to Succeed
We may not often see the choices we make as requiring courage. In fact, too often, we find rational excuses to justify avoiding difficult decisions rather than recognise that we are motivated by fear, uncertainty, and doubt: deep seated emotional responses to the challenge of particular choices.
12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Change
Underpinning any desire for success is a desire that things should be different. If you have already achieved success, then you may not want anything to change but most of the people I meet who are successful are not prepared to rest in the status quo.
12 Key Attitudes for Success: Attitude to Opportunity
We all want more success don’t we! When I look back through my life almost all my success has come from my attitude to opportunity. It was Napoleon who said, “Don’t give me great generals, give me lucky generals” and I think the attitude of a lucky general is to see opportunities and then seize them.
6 steps to creating a 2nd Half Career
You are recognising that the 2nd half of your career will not be a continuation of your current path of advancement and opportunity.
So, what do you do?
The Challenge of Purpose and Passion
We can so often get drawn into taking the next step up the ladder because it is expected of us without checking whether it really takes us further to fulfilling our purpose and passion.
Making your Future Work: Is four days a week enough to love what you do?
In a world in which working from home has meant that too many of us are ‘always on’, the idea of a 4-day week can seem like an extravagant fantasy. But there is increasing evidence that limiting work hours increases productivity of individual workers and increases the economic productivity of whole nations.
Freedom & Joy – is This as Good as it Gets?
Working in a big professional services firm, I was waking up the train driver at 5:15am to get into the office by 7am and lucky to be home by 8pm. I was often at an airport on Sunday afternoon so I could be in a foreign city the night before a time zone shifted start at 8am. Even on holiday, I needed to reply to e-mails and deal with voicemails for an hour a day.
Making your Future Work: Dare to dream for fresh love at work
‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ This inter-generational opening gambit to elicit a conversation from a reluctant niece, nephew or grandchild can be a high-risk tactic. For my jungle obsessed younger brother, the response for many years was ‘a gorilla’.
Making your Future Work: Is it Time to Work for Yourself?
Has the pandemic given you an opportunity to re-think your personal priorities and re-assess your relationship with your boss? Perhaps you have been on furlough or suffered redundancy and you are ready to make a fresh start.
Have you Futureproofed your Working Life?
There are some pretty scary statistics out there about what can happen as you move beyond 45 in to your 50’s and later.
Can I earn enough as a Portfolio Executive?
We explore what ‘enough’ means both in the 8 Essentials 30-day challenge (see http://8essentials.biz/) and in some of other blogs about the different life stage at which you want to adopt a Portfolio Executive workstyle.
10 good reasons why you should not become a Portfolio Executive (2 of 2)
Becoming a portfolio executive is not for everybody and as I’ve been talking to people for the last 5 years, I feel that there are 10 good reasons not to become a Portfolio Executive. For the first five look here.
Making your Future Work: Getting a KickStart for your career.
There are some impressive young people out there who have found Covid has stopped their career ambitions dead. At a similar stage in my life, it was the kindness of both strangers and family contacts that enabled me to get started and I have never forgotten all that they did for me.
Making your Future Work: Work and University – Do I need to do both?
Students were hoping to be home at Christmas. Many would have been disappointed by positive Covid tests. Then they were hoping to return for the Spring term and some will have been hindered by the most recent lockdown. Summer vacation, 2021, seems a way to go and an overseas holiday seems more dream than hope.
Apply or Pitch? Having Courage for a Future you can Love
You can easily become hopeless making application after application for advertised positions. Often, you need to customise your CV, write a tailored covering letter and fill in a detailed application form. Typically, you get no feedback but an automated acknowledgement.
Making your Future Work – Deepening the love for what you do.
March is usually the time when the wedding fairs start anew with all the hopes of new life – spring lambs, bluebells in the woods and cooing pigeons across the city. But the wiser amongst us will nod sagely and tell us that marriage is so much more than a wedding.
Making the most of your Family as a Portfolio Executive.
Some of the people that I am working with to build their Portfolio Executive workstyles, are at a life stage where they want the flexibility to spend more time with members of the family. There can be a variety of reasons for this and the motivations can also be radically different.
Making your Future Work: Sacked! finding a future you can love
I knew the axe was going to fall; I knew when it was going to fall and now my job was over. I thought I was mentally prepared. I had some dreams for the future. There was a bit of a financial buffer but now I need to get out there and find my next role.
Making your Future Work: Taking a Sabbatical – renewing your love for what you do
The relentless tyranny of the urgent and the ever-growing pace of challenging change can slowly erode the joy from the passion that brought you to your chosen career.
Upgrading your Portfolio
When I am working with people who are building up their Portfolio Executive workstyle, very often they start working for smaller businesses than works best for them. They are also offering lower rates than they eventually can demand from the market. I encourage them to just get started.
Why a Virtual Assistant is a great Portfolio Executive role model
I am very struck by the way that I am continually approached by individuals who are setting themselves up as virtual assistants or remote PAs or whatever they want to call themselves.
Key Persons of Influence and the Portfolio Executive workstyle
I’ve been very impressed by the thinking of Daniel Priestley and his book “Key Person of Influence”. He tells a compelling story about how you build profile in your market place so that you become a key person of influence in order to attract people to your offer, to make your offer a premium offer and to build your business around being a key person of influence.
Should you have a side hustle?
So you have got your day job but you are recognising that this is not forever, and you would like to do something that you can enjoy, that is going to earn a bit of income, and that maybe something that will help you to create your future.
Do I have to run a business to be a Portfolio Executive?
At its simplest a Portfolio Executive is spending their time being a part-time head of or part-time director for a portfolio of businesses. In essence what they are doing is acting as part-time employees for each of those businesses.
Financial Freedom: Preparing for your 2nd Half Career
For many of us we get to a stage in our lives where we have built up a series of obligations and commitments which rely on a certain level of income. We are used to a standard of vehicle that we change at a regular frequency.
Eight Essentials for Freedom and Joy at Work
As I work with people who are developing their Second Half Careers, a pattern is beginning to emerge. It seems that there are eight essentials that will enable people to really set out a future which is going to work for them into the second half of their working lives.
Working until you are 100 – freedom or slavery?
In 2019, BBC Radio 4 celebrated the fact that the long-standing actress playing Peggy Archer was still working in her 100th year. The famous matriarch in The Archers continues to feature in the story line while being played an actress several years older.
I am too busy to find clients
Having worked to help people build their portfolio executive proposition and to go out and win their first client. I increasingly hear them telling me that they are too busy to find anymore clients. At one level this is a great success story. They have more work than they can cope with. Fantastic!
From success to significance
You are a professional who has worked perhaps ten, fifteen, twenty years in your chosen profession and you have achieved a level of success. You have a senior role, a reasonable salary and you are looking forward and thinking about what you want to do with your 2nd Half Career.
Can I only be a Portfolio Executive?
Can I only be a Portfolio Executive? Or can I have a richer portfolio than that?
As I continue to work with people building up their Portfolio Executive Workstyle, I am finding an increasing trend that people want to mix it up a bit.
Are we all millenials now?
So much has been written about millennials and their preferences and attitudes towards work and as I review these thoughts about millennials, there are three things that strike me:
What must you do before you quit for your 2nd Half Career?
You have decided that you want to have a radical change of direction. You want to move on from your current employer. You want to step out into a new workstyle. You want to build a new career for the second half of your working life.
Ageism – Victim or Victor? You have a clear choice.
When I was in my early twenties people would introduce me as a computer ‘whizz kid’ and that was really exciting! It was in the early days of the whole micro-computer revolution and being considered a ‘whizz kid’ was the equivalent of the fashionable ‘geek’ of today’s current generation.
Building your runway for Portfolio Executive lift off
You have made the decision that you don’t want to stay in your current position in corporate life, despite the salary and the benefits. You also recognise that the transition to the more fulfilling Portfolio Executive workstyle isn’t going to be straightforward.
IR35 changes: should I stop being an interim, contractor or independent consultant?
Anybody who is working as an interim, contractor or even an independent consultant, should have heard of IR35. IR35 is an HMRC regulation that seeks to ensure that taxes relating to employment can’t be avoided by the use of an intermediate company.
There’s no age limit on daring to dream
I’m a firm believer in the power of dreams when it comes to achieving what we want from our relationships and our working lives.
Should your employer control your love life?
In the era of the #metoo movement, there are many voices suggesting that organisations should actively manage the power relationships between employers, managers and staff to avoid situations of potential abuse.
10 things we learn from Megxit?
Harry has taken the courageous step to reshape his working life and there are lessons for us all:
Becoming a Coach is not necessarily your golden ticket.
If you are in the 2nd half of your career and exploring possible new directions, you may have considered training to be a coach. Or, perhaps you’ve already trained and are looking to build a business around those new skill sets.
So, you want to be an entrepreneur? Here’s a different route.
There is a real hankering for many to start their own business – and there’s no shortage of empowering television, especially for younger people it seems. The Apprentice is now on season 15 and Lord Sugar’s search shows no sign of slowing down.
Becoming an interim…. it doesn’t come without risks
So, you’ve reached the point in your career where becoming an interim looks attractive. You’ve taken stock of your knowledge and experience and it feels like a route that’s worth exploring – and it may well be. But, as with any form of career change, there are pros and cons.
Contracting … why it’s the career fix that fails
When you are working in a permanent salaried position, contracting can seem like quite an attractive option. You see contractors join your organisation, they seem to have less responsibility, they do their hours and go home (without taking work with them!).
Finding freedom from the relentless cult of work
The reality for many of us is that we spend far too long at work. The baffling part is that we’ve let it become the norm. Why is that? What does it actually mean for this precious life that we only live once?
What does ‘permanent full-time salaried’ employment really mean?
The recent announcement by Deutsche Bank of 12,000 job cuts reminds us all that there is no such thing as permanent employment any more. And yet for so many of us, our parents’ aspiration for us (and perhaps ours for our children) is a permanent full-time salaried job as a qualified professional in a leading organisation.
Why you should consider the charity sector as part of your Portfolio Executive work style
Many of the people I talk to about their 2nd Half Careers are keen to make the second half count. They want to look back and see not only success but also significance for their lives, particularly their working lives.
Are corporates having a mid-life crisis?
Corporates have created an ‘up or out’ culture, one that will ultimately lose the experienced professionals they’ve worked so hard to attract and retain. It’s a mid-life career crisis that’s impacting some very talented people, many with years of valuable experience.
Worried about your executive career? There’s a perfect storm ahead!
You might recall the film ‘The Perfect Storm’ with George Clooney. It should have been blue skies and plain sailing for the highly experienced skipper and his crew – except for a combination of events and conditions that no one saw coming.
Are these career frustrations making you re-think your plans at half-time?
If you’ve reached 45-50 then you’ve probably been working for 25-30 years. In theory, you should be at the top of your game, enjoying your career and the quality of working life it brings. However, research consistently says otherwise.
How to demonstrate your value as a Portfolio Executive
If you’ve read our previous blogs, you’ll know about the benefits of this workstyle and career path and how you can build a portfolio of rewarding part-time executive positions. But to make this new world a reality, you have to be able to demonstrate the value you’ll bring to the clients who are going to be paying you.
Are you ready to jump – or will you wait to be pushed?
It’s a scenario facing many of us at some point in our lives. We want to make a decision but something holds us back. Will caution or fear stop us making that move – or will we jump and discover it was well worth the risk?
Have you got your 2nd Half Career game plan?
What can you do when you’re twenty plus years into your career, age between 45 & 55 and you realise it’s only half time?
If only I knew then what I know now
Being a Bruce Lee fan doesn’t make you an expert at kung fu any more than reading a book about leadership makes you a leader. That’s why I joined the FuturePerfect CEO Growth Academy.
Want freedom from the rat race, doing what you love?
If you’re tired of company politics, getting stuck in a rut and hitting the hamster wheel when you least want to, then perhaps it’s time to consider your alternatives.
5 Tips to get started in a Portfolio Career
Do you ever dream of a different life? Perhaps the 9am-5pm corporate world has run its course in your life? Or was it really 8am to 10pm, and you want more flexibility and variety in your work?
What could it mean for you to be a Portfolio Executive?
You may not have reached the main board of the company you work for, but you are identified as a seasoned, experienced professional.Maybe you are a finance or an HR director. Perhaps a senior role as a change, creative or product director.