I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

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Adam Bryant Interview: NYT "Corner Office" Columnist moves to his own C-Suite

Diana Landau | February 13, 2024

Adam Bryant InterviewCarl interviews Adam Bryant this week. Adam is an award-winning (Including editing a Pulitzer story) journalist and had a weekly feature in the New York Times called Corner Office, where he interviewed business leaders across the globe. He was also Director of NYT Live, a global conference enterprise. He's had many different roles at the Times, including deputy editor in the Science department, deputy national editor and business editor at Newsweek Magazine. Adam says his 55th birthday gave him pause. "I thought if I wanted to do something else, I better get going." So he turned his side job into a new day job, writing books and coaching C-level execs.
 
Adam grew up in Montreal and Westchester, NY. He had a middle-class suburban childhood and his father was a journalist. (So of course, at first, Adam didn't want to pursue that course.) Adam was busy as a teen playing lots of sports and always having a part-time jobs. In college he worked as a reporter for small newspapers. He started working for the New York Times and his career took off in the 1990's. He had the Corner Office column for years and never missed a week.
 
After 30 years as a journalist, he realized he was going to leave the NYT at some point and there would be an "emotional blast zone" (as he calls it) of adjustment and the question was when. "I had to do some internal work to figure out what I wanted to do next." He recommends everyone who is contemplating making a leap to do just that. "Once you get out of the job/industry you're in, widen your lens. There's a big wide world out there. Time to experiment."
 
Over the course of 500+ interviews, Adam saw patterns and themes emerge in the business world and he started writing books about it. When he and his wife moved to New Orleans to be closer to their grown daughters and families, he says his wife gave him the third floor as his "office." You'll have to listen in to hear about the coolest office ever, which includes table tennis, foosball, and more.
 
Adam is now the Senior Managing Director at the ExCo Group, a company that mentors senior leaders to accelerate business impact. He is the author of four books, including his most recent ones, "The Leap to Leader" and "The CEO Test."
 
Adam's tips on making the leap to something new:
  • OBOB: Optional Band of Busyness
People should be aware of their optimal OBOB. How busy were you then and what level do you want now? For example, you can't assume if you're a CEO that all of a sudden you're going to be content playing golf twice a week.
  • Common Pattern -- Want, Should, Need
We spend a great deal of our lives focusing on "should" and "need." At this stage of life, pause before you do something you "should." Stare down that difficult question of "What do I really want to do?" Give yourself some time.Newsletter!

 

 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the "I Used to be Somebody" blog.

 

Tags:    Blog   Unretirement   Pickleball   Interview   Adam Bryant   NYT Columnist   C-Suite  

Patty Forehand Interview: Elementary School Teacher Becomes Stand-Up Comedian

Diana Landau | January 09, 2024

Patty Forehand Episode 77Carl interviews the inimitable Patty Forehand, who was an elementary school teacher for 32 years before making the transition to a successful, hilarious stand-up comedian. She traded her class of students for the comedy club audience has never looked back. This (un)retired grandmother has no apologies for her raw, unfiltered comedy and she shares with our audience just how she made the transition to a completely different career.

Patty grew up near Macon Georgia with her three much older sisters. "My sisters say I was spoiled and I was." Her father suffered from ailments and multiple surgeries and her mother battled illness. "I learned humor was a salve to make people feel better."


In middle school, Patty says she was a wild child. It wasn't until she started high school and found her people--the drama kids. "Being in drama class felt therapeutic, to be somebody else on stage, or making people laugh," she says. An average student at best, her father bribed her to go to college by buying her a car. "He said Chevette but I thought he said Corvette!"

After a false start in nursing, Patty found she excelled at teaching. "I love the way kids think!" As a struggling student herself, she had empathy for kids who have challenges at home and school. She spent 32 years as a teacher and loved it. "It was very fulfilling. But you can't do it forever." Carl points out that teaching is very much in front of an audience and so is stand-up. They agree both are tough audiences! With six months to go before she retired from teaching, Patty went to an open mike with friends, on a whim. Patty performed a five minute routine and she found her new calling.


She started taking classes and doing more open mics. "I had a lot of encouragement early on. I fell in love with stand-up," she adds. Her big “Aha!" moment came when she was referred to a reporter for the Washington Post who was interviewing people over 50 who were doing something different. Tune in to hear how she had a chance to work with Michelle Pfeiffer once and find out about her weirdest gig ever. Now Patty performs regularly all over the country and has had stints in radio, podcasts, TV and more. She's having a blast!


Patty Forehand's (un)retirement tips:
  • Pushing beyond your comfort zone: "I think that's where you grow, especially after 50. We want to work that brain! Do things you don't think you're good at--you might surprise yourself."
  • Switching it up: "You end up in a routine and it's good to challenge that. For example, my husband did all the cooking. So now I have learned to cook a few things and he had to let go of it. It has freed him up to pursue other things he enjoys."
  • Trying something new: "Take it out of your brain! Stop just thinking about it. You actually have to take a physical step toward your dream."

 

 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the "I Used to be Somebody" blog.

 

 

Tags:    blog   patty forehand   unretirement   nursing   teaching   stand-up   comfort zone  

Dewey Forward Interview: Night Club Owner Pivots to Popcorn Shop

Diana Landau | December 04, 2023

Dewey ForwardCarl interviews music promoter/serial entrepreneur Dewey Forward this week. Just some of Dewey's accomplishments include organizing and promoting over 4,000 concerts, opening Peabody's Cafe and Peabody's DownUnder in Cleveland Flats and also developing the Sohio/BP RiverFest, (which was Ohio's largest festival in history with over 1,000,000 attendees). He has produced concerts for Spyro Gyra, Pearl Jam, Etta James, Wynton Marsalis, REM, Donovan, Bon Jovi, Bo Diddley and countless others. Dewey is also now the proud owner of an iconic popcorn shop in picturesque Chagrin Falls, OH.
 
Like Carl, Dewey grew up in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. "It was a 'Leave it to Beaver' childhood, " he says. Enterprising even at the age of 9, Dewey started a "canteen" in his basement, selling refreshments and a place to hang out to the neighborhood kids. He also says he was a troublemaker in school and was on a first name-basis with the Principal.
 
After trying out three colleges, Dewey settled on Hartford where he says he didn't learn much in class but learned a lot about producing successful events. "I learned how to organize and promote concerts and events and how to create a crowd." He founded SAW--a student organization against the Vietnam War, organizing bus trips to Washington D.C. to protest.
 
Fun Fact: Dewey Forward is a "Jr.", his last name of English descent. "No one forgets my name!"
 
Carl notes that being a concert and event producer is a high-stress, high-risk career. "Yes, my parents were aghast but I didn't listen to them." In 1977 Dewey opened Peabody's Cafe and Peabody's DownUnder, two successful ventures in the up-and-coming Cleveland Flats neighborhood. His mother gave him the money to start both businesses. "I paid her back and I'll forever be grateful." By the time Dewey moved on, the area had grown from 5 restaurants and bars to 53. "When I look back on it, it was a blast but also so stressful."
 
Dewey retired for the first(!) time at age 50. Not one to sit still, he started a new business every five years. Now at 74, he's learning not to add more stress into his life. He does a lot of physical activity, including bike riding. "It clears my head and is good for my heart!" He and his girlfriend love to travel and he's building a second home on Lake Erie. His five words for the (un)retirement good life: "Keep moving and no stress!"
 
Dewey Forward's (un)retirement tips:
  • "Get rid of that negative voice in your head that tells you that you can't do things. We are a very capable generation!"
  • "Don't be too old to retire. What I mean is, do not keep working until your body is too old to do anything else."
  • "I'm not a planner. I just say, 'That looks fun!' and then I put blinders on and go for it!"Dewey Forward Interview
 

 

• More about: Dewey Forward and Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop
• Sponsored by: Capital Advantage
• Sponsored by: How to Retire and Not Die
• I Used to be Somebody World Tour: First Stop Tuscany

 

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the "I Used to be Somebody" blog.
 
Tags:    Blog   I Used To Be Somebody   Unretirement   Interview   Dewey Forward   Carl Landau   Night Club   Popcorn Shop   Pickleball Media  

Bob Wolfe Interview: The Pinot Guy now Pickleball Guy

Diana Landau | November 02, 2023

Bob WolfeCarl interviews Bob Wolfe this month, just as Bob "The Pinot Guy" embarks on a new career in his 60's. Timing, hard work, patience and the willingness to deep dive are the hallmarks of having a successful second (or third) career and Bob has been doing just that for decades. A wine expert who owns his own wine business, he has written over a thousand articles for magazines like The Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, The Northwest Palate and more. He has also been a long-time judge for wine competitions all over the world. Most people know Carl loves Pinot Noir, but Bob's second act as a pickleball instructor has Carl super-psyched!


Bob grew up in a very small rural town in Monroe, Oregon, (pop. 450.) His family lived on 22 acres with cows, chickens and lots of wood for Bob to chop into firewood. Eager to get out into the world after high school, Bob was intrigued by nuclear submarines and international travel and he joined the U.S. Navy.


In the 1980's, Bob started work on two of his interests at the time, natural pesticides and beer, (but not together.) You'll have to tune in to the episode to hear Bob's story about a 4:30am business phone call with Donald Trump way back then. (Some things don't change.) Bob's passions eventually led him to wine and he was one of the first in the U.S. to publish an e-newsletter devoted to wine. He enjoyed the perks of being a wine reviewer. "Wine writing is a wonderful gig!" he tells us.


He took some of the money from his other ventures and in 1991 he started The Oregon Pinot Noir Wine Club out of his garage. That very first day he had orders. In just a couple of years, he grew the club to a $2 million business. He started judging internationally and his wine biz career as a retailer and expert grew steadily.


Fast forward a couple of decades, Bob says he turned 60 and started thinking about what he wanted to do next. " I knew I wanted to wind down my time in the wine biz. I looked for something to belong to, something more social." Bob joined a pickleball club, took some lessons and loved it. "'I'm meeting new people and having fun. I find it satisfying on so many levels."


Now Bob has found someone to run his wine biz and is planning trips to Mazatlan, Mexico and Da Nang, Vietnam where you guessed it...he's planning to play and teach pickleball. He's even training to be a competition judge. Bob says, "I always ask myself, What's driving me and my passion now? I'm jumping in!"
 
Bob Wolfe's (un)retirement tips:
  • "No sitting on the sidelines, just thinking about what you want to do. Do it."
  • "Get enough friends to do things with--I'm determined to escape the dreaded senior lonely years."
  • "Give up on owning a lot of stuff. You just don't need it. Unburden yourself from taking care of things you don't use. It will free your mind too."Unretirement
 
• More about Bob Wolfe
• Sponsored by How to Retire and Not Die
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
• I Used to be Somebody World Tour
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the "I Used to be Somebody" blog.
 
Tags:    Blog   Pickleball   Unretirement   Bob Wolfe   Pinot   Wine   Interview   I Used To be Somebody     

Travel Like a Rock Star

Carl Landau | October 20, 2023
 
My wife Diana and I just came back from a 16-day trip to Portugal. We planned it ourselves and had an amazing time! Before we left, my wife scoured online for every blog and magazine article, looking specifically for travel tips for Portugal.

 

But I just wanted to share with you some travel tips for international trips that we learned on our own, just by doing it.

 

• Get Global Entry: It takes some paperwork and a few months or so to get approval, but for $100 you get 5 years of TSA pre-check status for ALL flights domestic and international. On our arrival back to San Francisco, going through Customs was a breeze! While the regular line was very long and slow, we just walked up to a kiosk for Global Entry that simply took a photo of our face. And in 2 minutes the Customs officer waved us on and we were out.

 

• Use whatsapp: If you need to communicate with someone internationally, whatsapp is widely used. WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption makes it more secure than texting and other messaging apps. It's a free way to send messages to people all over the world and we used the app to communicate with hosts at the various places we stayed before our arrival---like, "Where the heck do we park?"

 

• Yelp no help: Yelp reviews are not a big deal outside the US. We found very few reviews and many were from 4 years ago. Other countries use apps like TheFork from Apple and others.

 

It's OK to hang: I'm not a fan of too many one-night stays when traveling to a new country. In the bigger cities, I'd rather stay 3 or 4 nights to get a better sense of the city. I'll take quality vs. quantity when it comes to sightseeing. And build in some down time. Yes, it can be a relaxing vacation too.

 
• Try booking.com: This was another app we used quite a bit. We didn't have every single night planned out and this app was easy to use and helped us find good deals quickly for places to stay.

 

• Lighten up: We traveled for 16 days and just used carry-on suitcases (international carry-on can be even smaller). Go with ALL wrinkle free, light clothes that can be easily layered. Oh, and washing clothes in the sink and hanging them on your balcony or patio works just fine.

 

NO on Google Maps: Google Maps suck. For car travel, Waze is waaayyy better and more accurate! You can also Use the Apple Maps app on your phone for everything else, including finding public transportation.

 

• Check out Airbnb experiences: Airbnb is a great app to find all sorts of tours (boat ride/wine-tasting/walking, etc.) of any kind. You can pick the group size and price range you desire. They even have private dinner parties at locals' homes if that piques your interest.
 
Pro tips from our audience:
 
Andy Robin, author of Tapas Life suggests going to the same place for a month at a time to really get into the local life.

 

Adriane Berg, Chief Cheerleader of The Ageless Traveler says to look for free stopovers from airlines like Air Maroc and Turkish Airlines. Stay a few days and get a bonus vacation within a vacation. Also ask for airline and hotel upgrades, get separate, unbundled cost quotes on organized tours, sightsee on your own on cruises vs pricey excursions.

 

There are plenty of travel resources available out there. But no matter how prepared you are for your trip, you will probably make a couple mistakes. It's all okay, traveling in a learning process! And if you do it right, you'll feel like a rock star!

 

Tags:    Blog   Travel   Europe   Travel Planning   Travel Tips   Pro Tips  

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