The Question: “Imagine you are now 90 years old. Looking back on the last 25 years, what have you accomplished for yourself? For others?” This query can launch a powerful dialogue on purpose going forward into the space once only known as “retirement.”

Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, used to employ this retrospective technique when dealing with patients who were struggling with a decision. He would say, “Imagine yourself looking back on yourself one or two years from now, and ask yourself, ‘What do I wish I had done?’” He said the answer would become crystal clear to them. Maybe we could adopt a form of this question into the retirement dialogue. “You’re now 90 years old and looking back on your last 25 years … What have you accomplished for yourself? And for others?”

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