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Tom Rademacher Resized

Your Inspiration Might Be Just a Football Field Away!

Every now and then, someone will stop me and say that one of the most memorable columns I wrote for The Grand Rapids Press focused on “100 yards from home.” 

It happened to be one of my favorites as well, if only because it employed an inanimate object to serve as inspiration. 

In the piece, I’d encouraged readers to focus on something that they saw virtually every day, either while emerging from or returning to their home. I suggested picking out something that was perhaps 100 yards or so from their mailbox or driveway entrance or front door. 

It might be a large rock, a lilac bush, some garish set of gnomes rimming a garden space. And if there was nothing profound located at the 100-yard point, you could always affix a small sticker to the curb.  

The point, I explained in my column, was to use that touchstone to re-invent yourself, if only in the most subtle of ways. 

Which, without too much of a stretch, is a lot like exploring your Encore. 

When you focus on something a football field away from your threshold, it serves as a reminder that every day needn’t be the same. A hundred yards from home, decide you’ll bring flowers home that evening. A hundred yards from home, plan to have that father-to-son talk you’ve been putting off. A hundred yards from home, re-commit yourself to those New Year’s resolutions that blew up by February.  

In the process, you’re making deliberate attempts to change up your day for the better, or at least address your tendency to procrastinate. 

Choosing your Encore employs a similar approach, because except for scant few of us waving goodbye to a so-called career, the next thing to occur doesn’t just fall into our laps. 

There are exceptions, of course, like several teachers I’ve interviewed, for example, who spent a lifetime in education, swooned over a future that didn’t include children, and were promptly talked right back into a kid-rich environment to serve in some part-time capacity. 

By and large, though, we need to calculate life’s next moves, and putting your microscope on something 100 yards from home forces you to do some serious contemplating about how to re-set your compass. 

A hundred yards from home, I’ll decide to call three non-profits and see if they need volunteers. A hundred yards from home, I’ll make a mental note to explore that model railroading club. A hundred yards from home, I’ll make a U-turn and visit that buddy who’s been hitting on me to join him in a start-up. 

I don’t often run into people in their Encore phase who are bored or aimless. But on occasion, I encounter some confused about what they’re going to retire to

Maybe the first step begins with the knowledge that you’re in the driver’s seat. And zeroing in on that “whatever” 100 yards from home will help remind you of just that.

Happy exploring!


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