PART TWO The Invisible Bridge – My Leap of Faith at 65

April 17th 081So let’s continue on this story in real time…

Two years ago this month, I decided to follow my heart and fly to meet Jim, my soul mate, who was living in the US.  We had met in Budapest some 6 months prior at a business conference.  That meeting had set light to 45,000 words in email correspondence that led to my decision to take that flight. Now we are partners in both business and life. In all honesty, I could never have foretold my future back then.  I boarded a that flight  to see him, trusting that whatever was to be would be.  I knew my decision would change my life.

My senses told me that my heart would know if I only listened to in … that my heart and soul would make it possible.  Since then trust has become my steadfast companion, my prime value, my friend, and my core strength. I learned to first trust my heart and soul, then my mind.  Over-thinking a situation that is more about feelings than rational thought can rapidly drain the heart and soul of any desire to continue on by saying such things as “don’t be foolish,” or “ what if ….?”

I have made choices that others might reject almost out-of-hand. I have set off on adventures that even family and close friends have deemed unwise and imprudent at the very least. I have taken risks that now seem – even to me – to have been a little reckless. I have changed my habits, re-invented myself more than once, learned new skills, gained new perspectives.  I have travelled to new lands never before visited and I found my soul mate thousands of miles from home where I always thought he would or perhaps should be living .  Yet I am a normal human being. I miss my children and my grandchildren so very much. I miss the country I was born and raised in, the home of my family, my children and my grandchildren. Do I suffer the pangs of homesickness for them? Of course I do,  yet I know they too trust in me and that they know my journey is important to my own progress as a spiritual human being; as a loved one and always as a woman, a mother and a grandmother.  They are always in my heart and in my thoughts.  What has happened to me – through I had wondered was ‘pure chance’ – feels very much as though it was planned by forces far greater than me.

April 17th 083Indiana Jones – in The Last Crusade – stood at the edge of an abyss trying to decide if, in fact, there was anything underfoot to keep him from falling to his death should he take even one more step. Yet, when he drew upon his inner courage – when he stopped listening to his brain and listened to his heart – he was given the courage to take that leap of faith and so he stepped out with faith into the absolute unknown.

We (Jim and I, not all that long ago) stood on that very same mythical precipice with our toes at the very edge of that abyss perhaps asking ourselves – in our own way – “What would ‘Indy’ do?”  As we all know, the fearless Indiana Jones did trust his instincts, his heart and his soul and unfalteringly stepped forward and made his way across the great divide, scattering sand across the bridge that those behind him might follow safely. As life adventurers, Jim and I too believe this is our last crusade together; that we are in the right place at the right time … we are where we were meant to be at the precise moment we were meant to be there.

And it is to Malaysia that Jim and I arrived last November.  How did we get here? Why did we come here?  A leap of faith, yes, and we trust that all we have worked to develop over our lifetimes spent apart, and our short life together in the last two and half years, put our feet on the path we walk, the one that is leading inevitably to our destiny … that we are not here by accident and that our feet have been kept on our path for the express purpose of bring us to where we now are – together.

We are now working in together to create our legacy.

April 17th 084We learned what that was very early on in our relationship. Jim told me that, when all was said and done, he wanted to “leave the world a better place” for his having been here. It was this simple combination of words that he spoke to me that sealed my love to him in May 2012. The interesting part is, that in approximately the same words, my passion too is to manifest that same legacy,  and in particular to show people how to tap into their natural entrepreneurial creativity and spirit and guide them not just to be a successful financially but to lead a truly happy, balanced, healthy life.


We believe that – especially for mature people like us who are deemed all too often to be out-of-time and no more than a liability – there is a silver lining right now in today’s economic chaos that provides an opportunity for all of us to create a new quality of life through nothing more than identifying our passion and manifesting in any one of dozens of ways. The opportunity to do something meaningful with the time ahead of us is as real and as achievable as that which we can look back on with pride.

As long as there is a tomorrow, there is an opportunity to do more good … to leave the world a better place for our having taken the time to effectively and appropriately utilize all of the time that we are given, not just the time already used.


The Invisible Bridge – My Leap of Faith at 65!

Jim and Pauline in Penang

Jim and Pauline in Penang

Checkpoint – are you heading into those silver years and feeling old and useless? Do you find yourselves in an unprecedented state of uncertainty, stress and nervous tension and the feeling time is running out? Maybe it’s just me but I find myself wanting to do more, not necessarily because I have to – although I must admit that if I had to live on my pension alone I would fall somewhere between “poverty” and “barely surviving.” In talking with family, friends and acquaintances in and/or around my age group, I am learning that my situation is not unusual. On the contrary; I find that a growing number of “baby boomers” are “in the same boat,” to put it in an overused phrase from my day.

Let me share my story and see if it resonates with you.  This month, May 23, I turn 65, and my own life, personally and professionally, has changed beyond recognition in the last year. This time last year, May 6, 2013, I had not yet set foot on Malaysian soil, yet now I live here – in a manner of speaking – and plan to transform the world from this base with my husband of just over one year.  Is it a wild dream or a realistic possibility? Am I experiencing the madness that many believe comes with old age?  How did that all happen so fast?

Allow me to answer that. It has long been my passion to transform the world; to partner with my soul mate and leave a legacy for those I leave behind when I ‘shuttle off this mortal coil.’  Decades ago I set these intentions, and trusted they would occur….yet I had no way knowing now how, where or when it would come to be.  During my life I have not always been so bold but my intentions were always authentic and always trusting.  Let me share my timeline right now.

I stepped out on to the invisible bridge  – you know … the one that ‘Indiana’ Jones stepped out onto toward the end of “The Last Crusade” – on May 21,  2012 with the certain knowledge that my “leap of faith” would plant my foot on the right path. Okay … so maybe I did not have that certain knowledge, but I felt confident enough in my intentions to take that chance. I had, after all, been setting and writing down my intentions for over 6 years without knowing the details which managed to remain largely unknown until about three years ago.

At that point my life was unfolding in an embryonic way which, at 62, was a wee bit unnerving.  During a time that would normally have someone thinking of retirement, a pension, a quiet life of being a grandparent and staying home with the grandkids, I was selling everything I considered dispensable (which turned out to be about 2/3rds of what I owned), letting go and moving headlong into a new relationship with someone who lived half-a-planet away from the only home I had known for my entire life. Not once did I really stop to consider what the consequences could be.

This journey’s outcome became more certain as time passed because I had based my choice and my intentions to share deep unconditional love with someone who shared my profound commitment to leaving the world a better place for “our” having been upon this earth. As much as that, I was drained from having done so much by myself, a feeling that “being on my own” tended to produce.

Oddly, I was not completely prepared for the speed at which this river could flow on its inexorable journey to the sea. And to this day I have no idea where it will eventually enter the ocean of all that is to be.  So now I hold fast to my courage, steer where and when I am needed, and watch as the powers of the universe chart the seas we must sail at this point in our lives.

The adventure comes with being unable to count on the next week being as I think it will be today or tomorrow. What I do know, however, is that it will be what I intended even if I fail to recognize it right away.  Have you experienced that sensation?

Do things like that scare me? Absolutely; more than I care to remember. Do I regret taking risks, setting new goals and taking a huge step into the unknown? No. 

Just as before, I know that I set my intentions and that they addressed good and decent goals. That knowledge enables me to feel truly alive and aware of the world around me.  Whether or not I like roller coasters (and in reality, I’m not overly fond of them) I am ready for the roller coaster waiting out there for me if it must be. Being the entrepreneurial creator of my life, my health, my wealth and my personal legacy is quite empowering even if a little frightening at times.  And so now with my companion, my soul mate – Jim, aged 70 – I have become far more intrepid that I thought I could be and believe me, I have done some things that Jim finds difficult to believe and more difficult, at times, to understand. We often discuss the possibility for more “baby boomers”  like us doing what we are doing. “Do they want to?” “Can we help them?” We hope so because we would like a growing number of intrepid “boomers” to join us on our adventure. There is more to the story, and in my next installment of the “Journey of a Lifetime – The Story of My Leap of Faith” I will tell you more. Jim and I feel that we are here to walk this path with you and others like you.

We would love to hear your thoughts. As some of our wisest men once said in song … “All you need is love!

Nothing in Life Happens by Accident!



So many people spend their life led by the view that “this is the way it’s always been and is the only way,”… doing things right rather than doing the right things.  We limit ourselves by refraining from doing what we desire to do … by doing things that we are able to do rather than doing those things we are passionate about … those things that come naturally to us … those things we were born with the talents to do.

Increasingly, we are developing nations of drones, otherwise known as employees, who do what they are capable of doing most often without passion and without purpose. We are even educating our graduates to go into a world that doesn’t have the jobs suited to their leaned skills. We plod through life taking any job space that is unfilled, doing what we do because we must if we are to survive. Sadly we go along as though we are somehow unable to do anything about it.

Today, society at large today tends to marginalize women, demonize the elderly, ridicule the disabled, and feel somehow responsible for shouldering the problems that plague low income and poverty-level families and we talk endlessly about education, employment and living standards.  This ever deepening socio-economic downward spiral in which the world seems to currently find themselves, however, there are lights going on – there is a glimpse of hope in those who recognise the evolution revolution that seeks release.

There is, at this very moment, a change in perspective taking place that governments, entrenched bureaucrats and corporate greed cannot stop. There is change – a paradigm shift – moving steadily forward that will shake the very foundation upon which our seemingly coveted systems – from business to education to government itself – are built. This change is well underway and is being embraced by those people in the groups mentioned above. It was noted Social Scientist, Alvin Toffler, who said, “Those who resist change are doing something equivalent to scrambling to find deck chairs on the Titanic.” Change affects us all in matters of life and work and with regard to the very social fabric of our lives.

People are waking up and rather than relying upon our governments or our media to think for them, they are thinking and creating for themselves.  This is no accident.

Everything that happens, happens for a reason – up to and including the global socio-economic state of affairs.  We each make choices every day … how to think, feel, act or react.  It’s simple really. We make choices and things happen. Do accidents happen? Of course.  My experience to date, however, has lead me to the inescapable conclusion that my life is no accident and that everything that has happened – past, present, and future – happened for a reason and is rooted in my choices. Why things – both good and bad – happen are a mirror of my own perception of all that I am and all that I know and don’t know.  Do I know who I am and the impact my presence and my choices make on this world?  Not always, but I live to learn more.

It is my choice then… and one that you can make for yourself too.  It is no accident that you are who you are and all that surrounds you. Whose life are you living? Whose body are you walking about in? Whose mind do you use?  For whose purpose are you living on this earth?

“NO,” I hear you say, “my life is a series of unfortunate accidents!” The word that leaps to mind is – resistance! “I can’t do this and I can’t do that … I am a victim of circumstance. I am controlled by my job, my boss, my partner, my kids, my elderly parent … they all control me.”

The truth is … everything in life is a choice and every choice carries with it a cost. The way we think, feel, and act on or react to life’s circumstances holds the key to releasing whatever bonds we have placed upon ourselves.  Our responsibility to own our life path is our greatest challenge … and the responsibility to own my ‘accidents’ as well.   Ownership … if we are to change what is into what I would like things to be … has to be firmly accepted and embedded in our mind, heart and body as the shift will impact everything – not just in a material way but in a truly fulfilling emotional and socially committed way.

If we accept that our life path is not an accident, we can start to discover the steps we need to take along the way to make the transition mentioned above.  They are there … they just remain covered up at this point in time. If, however, you begin trying by taking steps without planning, if you are logging junctions, measuring the mileage, or setting the final destination, you will block the flow of set aside for chance, fate, karma and destiny and you will never know anything beyond that act of ‘trying’ … which could easily lead to your giving up.

A reasonably long-term advocate of the “there are no such things as accidents” school of thought for much of my life, the last two years have definitely taught me that ‘accidents don’t just happen … life does. That said, it makes complete sense that we are the beneficiaries or victims of the choices we make and it is certain that the choices are ours.

The many faces of Pauline CrawfordSome 3 years ago I was living a good life, as such, but growing sticky and threadbare emotionally.  The steps I took were always positive, upbeat … taken with a certain trusting courage, but still I did not feel totally fulfilled.  I was on my own yet surrounded by loving, caring family and friends.  My passion for a strong, intimate and complete family life was dinted by being divorced 15+ years and without any current sign that my unattached status would change anytime soon. I was content with my life but with the realization that I was not necessarily happy. I was certain, however, that it would evolve into the dream I had set the intention to realize only a few years prior. That dream was one of companionship, partnership, deep love and collaboration and yet … I did not yet have that on a personal level.  I was sure that my life would work out that way… yet it seemed to be taking an inordinately long time manifesting itself.  I never gave up and yet my will was dinted more than once as I passed each birthday … 60 … 61 … 62. But then my life changed … but was it by accident?

Over the course of the last two years, I ‘accidently’ met the man who is today my husband. Jim – from the USA – and I met him in a country foreign to both of us. More interesting perhaps is the fact that neither wanted nor planned to attend the business conference that we found ourselves participating in. And that was just the beginning.

I ‘accidently’ managed to stay connected via Skype and email over 6 months (and 45,000 words) and flew to the U.S. to visit him in May 2012. In October 2012 we were married just 9 months after meeting. We have since survived his two major surgical procedures, relocation from one country to another, a major change in both cultures and life styles and yet we continue on a path that has enough twists and turns to make it sound like pure fiction. Still we are here, we are together and we are moving forward.

malaysiaOur life is a living novel that is being written in real-time. Having spanned the world with our love, one might think that we ‘accidently’ travelled between the USA and UK many times, and ended up in Malaysia, after an ‘accidental’ visit there in May of this year. Since then amazing people have appeared from our past and in our present and we know they will be part of our future. Each appeared in our lives at the right time and in the right place for us to continue to live and pursue our dream.

So let’s look at this realistically. Absolutely nothing happened by accident.

Jim and I both had a dream to meet our respective soul mate and to create together a mutual vision for the world. We both had felt the possibility was fading as we approach the ages of 62 and 68 respectively. Our joint vision, if you will, was to work and live with our intimate partner, to create not just wealth but a truly healthy, beneficial lifestyle.  One determining factor for us was embedded in the fact that when we met and consequently fell deeply in love, we knew in our hearts that it was no accident.

We recognised each other in some instinctive way.  We had both been going through similar twists and turns in life even though we 1017156_10152051646002222_356049556_nwere half a world apart.  We tuned into each other as friends and never doubted we were meant to be together.  Uniquely we discovered we had complementary expertise about entrepreneurial education that completed our mutual vision.  One half meeting another at many levels.  Since making our commitment to each other and a mutually meaningful goal, we have had huge obstacles seemingly placed in our path health wise, wealth wise, and just ‘yes we want to live together as husband and wife’ visa-wise! Still we have never doubted we are on the right path even when we have not known what the next steps might be. When that happened we simply waited patiently to see them revealed to us.

Living by accident can be incredibly draining, and causes constant uncertainties and fear of worsening circumstances.  When we see that life is no accident, we can own our own journey whether unaccompanied or with another. We believe that you need to let unconditional love enter your life, whether for a partner, a peer, a friend or foe. Love helps you accept and own both the ups and downs of the day-to-day.  You need to choose to know that your life is your own whatever the past, present or future holds.

Whatever the reality is, it is meant to be because you made the choice for it to be so.  Jim and I firmly believe that. I am not saying that such acceptance is easy because judgments, impatience and/or complacency have the potential to become entangled in one’s daily discourse. We are, however, living proof that it is not only possible but ultimately advantageous to accept life as it unfolds before you … as it unfolds as you chose it to do.

If the world’s people, at large, adopted a similar viewpoint – if each of us would take ownership of our share of the current ‘accident’ we refer to as the economic crisis – things could be vastly different. We – collectively – have the potential to end poverty, raise the global standard of living and make social mayhem and discord a thing of the past. Perhaps the simple act of allowing people to realize, develop and demonstrate their own value, their personal passion and their natural talents, we would begin to see a new world at play in both our homes and in the workplace.  Joy might just become the end result of the happy ‘accident’ of living life with love, knowing our own value and creative fulfilment!

For Jim and I, our coming together and discovering our mutual passion for a new way to educate entrepreneurs of all ages is no accident…

 … let me explain about “Education for Creative Living”

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi

In 1944, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, a relatively unknown Japanese educator and visionary, died in a Japanese prison near the end of World War II.  He was a passionate advocate of changing the educational system making taking it from educating drones for the industrial war effort toward value creation education. He wrote an inspiring book published in 1930 not only calling for the above stated change, but suggesting a well thought-out comprehensive plan for doing so. He believed profoundly in the creative nature of all people, particularly children. His core belief was that by helping young people realize, develop and magnify their natural talents, free of the constraints and demands placed upon them by prevailing educational system – an archaic system, even then, industrialised by well-meaning academicians and perceived governmental needs – they would intuitively create a better life for themselves and, by default, the community at large. Mr. Makiguchi was convinced that the simple act of allowing people to create their life from within themselves would result in greater advantages and benefits for all concerned. It was certainly better, he would argue, to add value to education rather than continuing to educate people to fill the arbitrary and somewhat capricious needs of industry. Industry’s and government’s needs would be satisfied naturally by those with the desire to become part of those aspects of Japanese life.

He taught in Japan at the turn of that century and he saw how rote teaching inhibited his pupils’ creativity.  The government did not support his hypothesis and rather than allow him to continue his quest, he was taken into custody and imprisoned for more than 17 months … dying before he could be released.  Over the centuries, there have been others like him … others who see weaknesses in systems … weaknesses that are ignored … questions that remain unanswered. To this day the educational model remains the same, and we have yet to implement a system allowing us to release our true creativity.

Much of the educated world today still teaches by rote – across the USA, UK and in many other developed and developing nations. In rote learning, where examination passes are deemed gold-plated credentials, we constrain our natural talent and systemically force students on the path to become another worker … another employee. Once we have made that commitment, we spend the balance of our life doing what we can do while denying our passion … denying what we truly want to do.

Makiguchi realised that if we were to unblock the natural flow of life, allowing people to enjoy developing their own true talent – valuing personal creativity from birth into and through adulthood – he would need to develop a new educational model that would focuses on education for creative living rather than education creating increasing numbers of employees for a shrinking jobs market.  It is no accident that we are now seeing huge numbers of graduates unable to get the job they wanted, and escalating numbers of unemployed because there are simply not enough jobs – any jobs – for those who want them.  Appropriate socio-economic development has been constrained by education rather than set free to bring prosperity to everyone.

Value CycleThere is a Law of Unintended Consequences, which, in my mind, explains that nothing is an accident.  It states that whatever one does deliberately causes other things to occur unintentionally.   The world has experienced, over more than two centuries, what a now outmoded education system can create. The unintended consequence is that for the past 50+ years we have needed a new education. A model not necessarily to replace as much as a new model to, at the very least, offer a choice, focused on the student not the system.

We know what rote learning can accomplish. Now we need to develop a different outlet for bright and creative minds wanting to break away from that unnatural way of thinking. In the last half century, some examples of the bright entrepreneurial minds we are referring to, have broken free and literally created a new world. What we need now is an education model that will encourage and facilitate these entrepreneurs, allowing them the freedom to create a new world of possibilities; i.e. being your own boss – doing something with passion, with deep love, commitment and meaningful purpose – at last fulfilling one’s creative abilities and realizing the human potential to live a healthy, wealthy life.

The ‘accident’ of growth in SMEs across the world is happening right now in vast numbers, young, old, men, women … all desiring the manifestation of their dream – building their business for “creative living”.  This time let us not make the same mistakes by building constraints into our model – elements of failure that constrain that natural creative power each person has to one degree or another.  A paradigm shift in education is needed.  Career and life cannot be separated anymore.

SMEs and one-person enterprises are and will continue to change the way we work and live today at a global level. They will transform our communities and uplift individuals of any age.  This is no ‘accident’ and – for Jim and I – the growth and expansion of our entreprenological approach to education – assisting raw talent in the creative/innovative bid to build a fruitful business – is possible here and now in Malaysia – ripe for picking!

IUE logoOur unintended consequence of being in love yet running out of VISA time in the USA and the UK, brought us to Malaysia this past May in order that we might discover the potential to change our life forever.  Jim and I are not here by accident! Watch this space!!!!!


Part 2 Baby Boomers – ‘Doing the right thing’ is our motto:

‘Doing the right thing’ is our motto:

keys to successContinuing from our last blog, Jim and I are currently planning our keys to success through the development of a major enterprise to provide meaningful service to men and women belonging to what is commonly termed Baby Boomers. The plan, at this point in time, is to develop a menu of relevant and useful programs, resources and services that can be delivered either online or in a more traditional local community setting. We want to offer interested individuals and/or groups the opportunity to select skills enhancement programs that best suit their goals, whatever they may be.  The choices will be varied and tailored to suit our unique learning style – one that has the optimal balance of technology and one-on-one interaction needed to make participation relevant, valuable and convenient – allowing each the opportunity to take full advantage of their considerable experience, knowledge, wisdom and history!

worldOur aim is to ‘do the right things’ and not just toe the line and do things right like retire and lay down to die!   We aim to bring together the most effective elements of cultures – both East and West – around the world.  By striking a new balance between past and future, we see our experienced and wise generation needing some skills education and/or augmentation in order to perhaps reinvent or reinvigorate existing enterprises as well as to forge new enterprises into being. We see our role to be supportive, connective and advisory as well as encouraging – to be the go-to resource for all those in this age zone who have an interest in doing something meaningful with the balance of their lives.

This enterprise is not merely about entreprenological education, diverse knowledge and information. It is far more than that. It is about the baby boomer generation’s evolution from the youth, much like young people today, into our own unique identity. Our generation embodies a source of knowledge and wisdom based upon decades of experience the likes of which the world – by its own admission of the sheer size of our particular group – has never before known. And the best news is that the dynamism of our generation is still very much alive and well and in good hands.

We – those born post WW2 1946-64 according to official birth statistics –  were the first teenagers. We communicated on hand held devices that were connected by an electrical cord to the base set which had its own cord plugged into a special outlet in the wall – and when you left your house; you were incommunicado unless you found a public telephone booth!

teenager 60sWe were the first generation to watch television (TV for you of younger years) – one channel only and it was in black and white. Colour TV was still a few years away and very expensive.  We were part of the ‘Beat Generation’ and we created our very own ‘Rock Revolution’ without the assistance or our elders – as a matter of fact, it was in spite of their resistance. We were there for the ‘Hippie’ movement -remember ‘Woodstock’, ‘Flower Power,’ and ‘Free Love?’ We were the first to use ‘The Pill’ which made ‘Free Love’ a little less scary for some. We saw an ‘Astronaut’ walk on the ‘Moon.’ We witnessed the fall of ‘Berlin Wall.’ We also participated in the ‘Housewife’ entering the work force in increasing numbers. We were some of the first ‘Dual Income Families,’ dined on frozen cuisine known as ‘TV Dinners,’ and bought the first ‘Microwave Ovens’ that made it possible for the busy housewife to finally eat a hot meal – albeit the re-heated food she had prepared and served the family.

We were working parents at the beginning and during the early years of the technology revolution, the creation of the world-wide-web and the electronic leash we all call the mobile phone these days. Today, our children, and to a far greater extent, our grandchildren, have grown up in a world where texting, social media and a telephone in every pocket is a reality rather than an anomaly.  The sheer amount of change that has taken place in our world is almost unfathomable.

couple plus girlWe were destined to become ‘entrepreneurs’ almost from birth as the world that we came into had been profoundly changed not only by wars, but by the growth of small and medium sized business and the sweeping global communication and speed that technology brought not only to our workplaces but our homes, making local business into a global possibility in a few clicks.  Names such as Gates, Jobs, and Branson emerged in the 70s and the 80s, plus we have seen the battle for gender equality (a continually evolving landscape) coming back to the front page as women began to demand more for efforts equal to those of men. Much attention about change today focuses on the younger up and coming generations, and we honour them too.  The growing litany of complaints, however, regarding the anticipated drain that we, as a generation, is ‘going to have on the NHS’ or the fear of having ‘too many pensioners’ and – one of our particular favourites – ‘the Baby Boomers are a growing burden’ saddens our hearts.

We are the first aging generation of increasing size who also lived a different life to that of our parents.  945 million people in the world now are 55-74.  That is nearly 1/7th of the world population.  Ironically we want to not only live longer, healthier and more prosperous lives, we also want to give back – to leave a positive and sizable legacy so all who follow will one day amass the experience that we have and grow into their wisdom with pride and honour rather than embarrassment and bitterness.

So back to the plan!

Men and Women together

Men and Women together

Knowing what we are like as baby boomers, Jim and I seek to create a new framework for this project and for this demographic. What we see is a platform that will employ the best, engage the best and maintain an up to date knowledge base formatted with wisdom, love and the spirit of both giving and receiving with love – the spirit that embodies the Baby Boomer generation, a spirit that we can all be proud of. We are currently researching our peer group – nationally, regionally and globally – to learn as much as we can about our demographic in order to make the best and most appropriate use of what we learn.

World patterns, economically and socially, are changing and our generation can and are already making a huge impact locally, nationally and internationally.  We share the responsibility to put wisdom back on the map!

In Part 3 we take a serious look at the numbers…. watch this space!!!

Baby Boomers Come of Age to Save Themselves and the World’s Economy

Our story begins here…

baby boomersBeing part of the ‘silver generation’ – my husband, Jim, 69, and myself 64 – we are amazed at how surprised governments seem to be regarding the ‘explosion of numbers reaching pension age’ (their words, not ours). They have ‘suddenly’ become aware of the enormous problem they feel they have to solve.   In the UK alone, there has been a 30% increase in numbers, this year over last year, of those reaching pension age.  Of more concern is the fact that now this number will increase as a continuous flood of ‘old people’ – some 600,000 every year from now until 2018 becoming pensioners – in the UK alone.  We ‘oldies’ are seen as a liability all the way around!  And if that’s not enough, this same thing is happening virtually around the world.  The prize has to go, however, to the fact that while the world continues aging and the ‘silver generation’ continues to be the major concern of our governments, those of us of in this age group still have sharp minds, usable skills and a growing pool of wisdom the likes of which the world has never seen before!

Now is the time to turn things around

We are the magic multiplier for a revolution in any economy that cares to assess the assets that are resident within our ranks!  We, and our fellow baby boomers, have the clear potential to be ASSETS; to contribute not just to the coffers filled by taxpayers, but to becoming healthy and wealthy individuals with both the ability and the desire to continue to be wise members of our communities.

Jim and I are unprepared – as are many millions of our age group across the world – to sit in our easy chairs and wait for the grim reaper while simultaneously overburdening the health care system in our respective countries.  That has never been the way we have seen ourselves.  On the contrary, we have decades of wisdom, experience and expertise to offer, and we, my friends, are only the tip of the iceberg.  We are highly motivated and want to be active and self-sufficient because we want to live the life that we have always been told exists as the ‘Golden Years.’  Now that we are here, we can’t find them, but we know that we can create them if given the opportunity to do so.

Our plan as our story unfolds

In the UK today more than 1.6 million people over 55 are running their own business (quoted from SME figures on national registers) and millions more may actually want to be doing the same things but may not have the courage to do so.  Our plan – briefly stated – is to help those of the ‘silver generation’ who wish to realize and utilize their time more effectively mixing business into their weekly activities.

What do we need in order to steel our nerves – to create a small business enterprise?  We need more than reassurance and bravado. We need more of a practical support system.  We believe that would encourage a new creative and entrepreneurial energy in this cohort of people having gained wisdom through experience.  We believe this is possible because we have many years of teaching and presenting critically needed information to a large cross section of individuals using an innovative educational model.  We recently found a similar model with a history of success spanning more than 12 years in Malaysia, albeit for the younger generation.  Our plan at this time is to work with those having created this model for the benefit of the silver generation.  Together we hope to achieve the paradigm shift in education that has been too long in coming. What we need to do now is to find a way to get those with the power and the authority to get things done to recognize the experience and wisdom that we bring to the table.

Why is age not valued as a source of wisdom?

7 mixed BBHigh court judges are appointed for life.  Why?  Because we value their wisdom – and wisdom only comes with experience which, for the most part, comes with age.  Some people never retire because they are passionate about what they do.  Their work is their passion.  In these instances, where people are able to do what they are passionate about and get paid to do so, they never have to work a day in their lives.  They are happy.  They are healthy.  They see the world through different eyes than those who spend 8 to 10 hours a day for 30+ years to earn a pay check in order to live a relatively comfortable life.  And they do it so that one day they can enjoy the fruits of their labours – their ‘silver years.’

This may interest you:

  • Many ‘retired’ people create start-ups or turn a life-long hobby into a business for two primary reasons:
    • To have something to do that they enjoy doing rather than just becoming sedentary, or
    • To supplement their retirement benefits (the government’s word, not ours) to relieve financial worries while doing something they enjoy doing.
  • Studies show that a child’s natural creativity – found in more than 98% of all children starting school – is systematically ‘educated’ out of them by the time they reach have completed their 5th or 6th year of school
  • The education model in use by virtually every institution of higher learning in the world today was developed in response to the growing need for workers for the increasing demand created by the growth and proliferation of industry that came into its own during the mid to late 1800’s[i]
  • Retired people or those nearing retirement show a marked increase in creativity believed to be linked to not having to sell their time to the highest bidder any longer.

No one with a desire to continue working need necessarily stop because he or she ages into the ‘silver generation’ nor do they need necessarily stop doing those things we like to do.  Using our natural talents and acquired skills or being motivated to get up and be active, are all key factors that will help us live a longer, healthier and potentially wealthier life. There are countless success stories of people beyond 55, beyond 60, beyond 65 … who have created successful small businesses and who have created highly successful businesses that have grown into multinational corporations. The point is … if it is something you want to do, you should be able to do it!

Being a statistician, I am intrigued by the multiplying factor that can be extracted from the statistics we have researched. The baby boomer demographic is unique if for no other reason than the sheer size of this particular cohort! More than that, we are at the tipping point NOW! It is, therefore, time to review the potential that is intrinsic within us.

Let’s look at the global picture of a world in economic crisis

worldDo we have viable and applicable answers?  We are confident that we do. There are 945 million people in the world today between the age 55-74, and taking just that demographic, if 10% of the non-working members of this cohort begin or continue to build a business/life, run their own enterprise, collaborate with others or gain employment, that 10% (remember, we talking 94.5 million people who would in some way create no more than one job space per individual)  would not only reduce the number of people/households depending upon the government for some form of assistance – from pensions to health care to welfare – but would, in fact, broaden the tax base and contribute dramatically back to the nation in the form of tax revenue.  The other side of the coin is, this 10% would potentially be more motivated and healthy because of the dignity gained from being considered something other than the liability that we are identified as today.

Now let’s take the UK as an example. 

UK mapThe United Kingdom is my home land and one I know well. The ‘silver generation’ – once encouraged to create start-ups – may no longer wish to be engaged in the 40+ hour work week and indeed prefer a more balanced approach to business and life in general.  Technology allows us that freedom – the opportunity to leverage our time in such a way that one is neither required to spend 3 to 5 hours a day commuting, nor is he/she required to spend 8 to 10 hours a day in a cubicle or office that has a tendency, in many instances, to obstructs one’s creativity and innovative predisposition.  Without having to be restricted to the oftentimes drab confines of an office, one is free to generate a revenue stream sufficient to adequately supplement other income which in turn offers a more comfortable lifestyle.

If only 10% of the UK’s ‘silver generation’ were to create a one person commercially viable enterprise – one with sufficient revenue to incur taxes payable of £1000 per annum – the net increase to the government in tax revenue alone would be approximately £1 bilion.

Let’s suppose too that these enterprising ‘liabilities’ created just one job space in addition to their own – a job space filled by one other person – we have then simultaneously reduced the national unemployment figures significantly and added even more grateful citizens to the roles of the active tax payer.

Perhaps the ‘silver generation’ is capable of being perceived as something other than a cohort out to steal the future of those coming behind.  Is that possible?


April 17th 083April 17th 081April 17th 084This story continues and we will share our plans and developments with you.   This blog continues next week so kept following our journey. Your comments welcome.

[i] The educational model currently in use by virtually every school, college and university around the world today was developed in response to the rapidly increasing need for employees to meet the demands of what is referred to as the Second Industrial Revolution or the Technical Revolution of the mid 1800’s.  The independent discovery – by Henry Bessemer (the Bessemer process) of England in 1855 and William Kelley of the United States in 1851 – of a cost effective industrial process for the mass production of steel led to an unprecedented expansion in manufacturing which in turn led to the simultaneous development of the employee focused teaching/learning model that prevails today.

So you want to be your own boss?

Dr Pauline CrawfordNowadays the buzz word in education and business is ‘entrepreneurship’ and the number of would-be entrepreneurs is rapidly changing both economically and socially.  Young adults exiting university after or prior to graduation are putting ‘being an entrepreneur’ at the top of the list.  As much as 20% of students at major universities like Yale in the U.S. or Cambridge in the U.K., for example, aspire to become successful ‘entrepreneurs.’  Men and women, old and young can potentially become an entrepreneur.  The problem is, however, that the characteristics of the successful entrepreneur are – by the very nature of entrepreneurship – largely unknown and difficult if not impossible to accurately pin down.

Over 40 years ago, my husband’s father presented, for the first time ever, the framework of a new discipline titled ‘entreprenology’ – and it was his wife who coined the word. He knew from his experience as a successful entrepreneur and as a respected and tenured professor in the College of Business at the University of Hawaii, that there was more to creating, sustaining, and managing a successful start-up than could taught through any traditional educational institution of higher learning.  Entrepreneurial enterprises in every sector had broken away from the rigours superimposed by traditional corporations and were creating a truly expansive ‘entrepreneurial mindset’…. 40+ years later the buzz continues.

Men and women in every age group are now considering being their own boss.  They see it as preferable to the restrictions and regulations that define corporate careers. They want the opportunities that open new choices for self-sustainability and perhaps untold riches.  Even the mature adult in their silver years (55+ as a working definition) are continuing on an entrepreneurial path into their 70s and beyond.  We will address this phenomenon specifically a little later.

Nowadays entrepreneurship is ‘taught’ in virtually every university and college where there is a business school or program.  Yet teaching ‘entrepreneurship’ effectively is the single most difficult hurdle to overcome and one that virtually every conventional school, college and university, cannot overcome. Why?  Because the skills that took Sir Richard Branson or Bill Gates or Steve Jobs to the pinnacle of success simply cannot be taught. Becoming an entrepreneur is not something that everyone can or even should aspire to. For every reason you can think of to become ‘your own boss,’ we can give you a reason that you should not.

The classic argument regarding entrepreneurs poses the question “Is the successful entrepreneur made or is he/she born?”  Can the skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur be taught or are they innate?  The study of what causes one person to succeed and another fail has been, and continues to be, quite elusive.  One thing we do know, however, is that there is no test, the results of which will shed any light on the subject. In our experience, which now spans more than forty years, we have learned that the most critical skills – if the desire is to eventually know success – are those that cannot be taught in any traditional or conventional institution of higher learning.  You either possess these skills – natural, intrinsic or inherent – or you do not.

Bill Aulet, Senior Professor at MIT, head of the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship writes, “Teaching entrepreneurship is difficult because the subject itself is idiosyncratic, contextual and experiential. Unlike chemistry, math or computer programming, there are no definite answers in the start up world. By definition, entrepreneurs are doing the unknown and the untried, so there are no algorithms for success”

In recent review in the Wall Street Journal, Aulet continued along this line of reasoning saying, “Making matters worse, there is a limited amount of scholarship and data that exists on what makes start-ups succeed or fail. As a result, the intellectual and scholarly vacuum is often filled by anecdotes. We’ve all listened to a version of ‘It all started in the garage with $20.’ Entrepreneurs are prone to mythologizing the early days of their businesses, yet these stories mislead those who aspire to follow in their footsteps.”

Of course certain skills can be taught, as we have mentioned, and the entrepreneur needs some core skills in business in order to understand what the business is telling him or her.  One should also have a solid foundation of the product of service being marketed.  The rest, however, and the key or ‘the secret’ to success, if you will, can only be revealed by the simple act of DOING IT!  The most important things you will learn can only be learned through experience:

  • making mistakes,
  • analysing what happened,
  • learning why it happened,
  • asking for another’s perspective if need be, and
  • making the indicated course corrections.

In this way you will begin to develop the mind-set of the successful entrepreneur, or – as we refer to them –  the EMPLOYER.

What is evident, in so many university and college classrooms, is that what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur-employer can neither be learned by sitting at a desk in any traditional institution of higher learning, nor can it be taught by professors having no direct practical entrepreneurial experience of their own.  The key to success does NOT come from an inspirational or motivational speaker promoting mild hysteria with the line “If I can do it, so can you…just go and out and BE SUCCESSFUL.”  Professor Aulet himself confesses that he started teaching by exciting his students in that manner and although he was well received and highly rated by his students, he was unable to say that he was in any way responsible for educating successful entrepreneurs!

Many entrepreneurship programs make the mistake of teaching individuals to use their ‘entrepreneurial’ ability to be an employee …and indeed there is a place for employees within our corporate monoliths.  The true nature of an entrepreneur, however, is stretched when becoming an employer and helping create and encourage the employer mind-set is our mission.  We have spent more than forty years working to give birth to entreprenologists with the potential to rival the Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world … those who see an opportunity, have a creative idea and grow a business that employs others.  The rest … as they say … is history.

Having said that, it should be obvious that we can’t say that everyone who wants to be a successful entrepreneur will become the next manifestation of those mentioned above, but the possibility does exist.  There are always opportunities to be a successful.  Who can say with any certainty who will become the next successful entreprenologist to change the world with their product or service?  What we do know is that the possibilities increase day by day as the economic landscape of virtually every country in the world is changing the way business and life interlink.  So let’s embrace the nature of change as we explore the facts.

As business and life merge, technology sweeps us into new domains as social media connects us all. Changes occur through the shift from big business to the economic and social impact that multitudes of small and medium sized businesses create. Business is no longer separate to our life requirements.

For instance, 4.8 million people run SME’s (SME 99.2% – MSMEs 500 at 0.6%) and account for 99.9% of all businesses today. 75% of SMEs are one person businesses.  There are indeed very few major corporations yet all the attention of the City and Wall Street focus on them.  In the UK for SMEs accounted 59.1% of private sector employment and 48.8% of private sector turnover employees in the UK.  Entrepreneurship appears alive and well.

Further investigations provides more ‘food for thought’ about the nature of entrepreneurs, and we have found a significant group that my husband and I are particularly focused on, that of the mature ‘silver generation’ aged 55-75 – we are recorded as 33% of the SME market in the UK, around 1.6million aged over 55 years and many still growing strong profits in entrepreneurial businesses of over 15 years standing …the demographics of other countries, USA, Canada and EU countries tell a similar story.

Other factors affect entrepreneurship data.  For example more and more women enter the market as self-employed entrepreneurs running a small business, often from home to help support not just their pocket but their life style needs regarding families.  Nowadays technology and social media enable anyone to run a local or even global business from their kitchen table. The economic landscape has changed dramatically. An economic tsunami has arrived and an eager audience is flooding the education sector looking for ‘entrepreneurship’ programmes.  So what impact is entrepreneurship making on our world?  If, as we believe, it’s a major force for survival and growth, and for providing meaning for one’s life, then how do we provide appropriate educate for those who have the desire and the natural abilities to ‘be their own boss’?

This subject, as already mentioned, cannot be taught within tradition parameters – rote learning with single answer examination – by those having no practical entrepreneurial experience.  In point of fact, we don’t even have a widely accepted definition of what or who an ‘entrepreneur’ is.  Is every self-employed person or someone who sets up a barrow on the marketplace an entrepreneur? Is every micro enterprise entrepreneurial?  Given our research and experience the short answer is NO.  Further, we do not believe we should enrol students on a university entrepreneur program who have no idea what he or she even wants to do. We base this on the fact that any number of students who have earned their MBA have told us that they weren’t taught anything that they could use unless they wanted to be an employee in middle management in a large corporation.  In short – there was little of any value in their very expensive MBA program that they could apply in their start-up. In other words – their program was not real world applicable! How, then, do we find a way to help them unlock the skills that are un-teachable?   We introduce them to the Principles of Entreprenology – the art of entrepreneurship. We introduce them to the intuitive, creative nature of the person who not only creates a business, but creates employment for others as they expand their business reach across local, national and potentially global markets.

Sir Richard BransonPerhaps this is where we might find the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates or Sir Richard Branson or Steve Jobs … washing ashore in the SME tsunami that is currently beginning to roll across every economy. The lure of becoming a successful entrepreneur knows no age, no gender, no ethnicity, no physical limitations.  The entrepreneurs who ride the wave of the future are not restricted to any particular region because opportunity does not recognize boundaries.  The younger generation, the women who want to blend their business with family life, the mature ‘silver generation’ baby boomers who don’t want to retire…. each cohort respects the other as it moves appropriately forward without expecting praise or applause for doing the right things.

Changing time require new eyes according to Marcel Proust  “The real voyage of discovery consists not of finding new lands but of seeing the territory with new eyes”  

“Students are clamouring for instruction, but it’s hard. There are no algorithms for (entrepreneurial) success.”  Wall Street Journal Sept 2013

Silver Veterans seeking their ‘Golden Years’ will change the face of business

April 17th 084

The aging population (or Silver Veterans as we choose to think of those of us in the 55+ age bracket) across the world is capable of – and in point of fact is already actively involved in – changing the face of business.  In fact,  62% of UK SMEs  are sole proprietors (and SMEs account for more half of the UK workforce) and one third of these are aged 55-70! 

Oddly, rather than sit back and try to live on one’s pension – something that the government fears we want to do – these people want to work and need to work if only to maintain a reasonable quality of life and health.  This need has the potential to save local, national and indeed the global economy.

These Silver Veterans can and will do this by drawing upon decades of creativity, wisdom, passion and practical experience … the experience needed to succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavours.

Evidence shows that this segment of the population can and will achieve substantial positive results as long as they are allowed to flourish.  Essentially what this means is that the overly restrictive policies designed and legislated to regulate large organisations need to be seen for what they are – controls for large companies, not for small and medium sized companies.  Since our ‘Golden Years’ can no longer be what we were promised four plus decades ago, shouldn’t our inheritance then be one where we can choose to create our own destiny rather than sit and be considered a burden to the self-same government that is responsible for having painted the rather rosy picture of what our ‘Golden Years’ was going to look like when we were in our early twenties?

April 17th 083Jim, my husband, and I are both in our silver years – 69 and 64 respectively – and are only now setting out to build a new entrepreneurial enterprise with the vision of taking our expertise to the world, both in person and online.

Let me say here that our original vision was to base our operations in the United Kingdom but some very restrictive immigration regulations have put that, temporarily, beyond our reach.  Our business focuses on how entrepreneurs of any age, ethnicity and economic persuasion can succeed and thrive if individuals can add some essentials ‘tools’ to their virtual tool boxes.

We teach the core principles and tools of entreprenology along with the principles of gender appropriate interaction.  In total, what we teach is “the art of science of creating success.”

Jim and I met in November 2011, fell deeply in love, married in October 2012, and surmounting various issues such as surgery, long distance and visa blockages; we are now planning to succeed in our new joint venture.

What we envision ourselves doing is working with other Silver Veterans to help them find their particular gate to the Golden Years.  How ironic – two individuals already perceived as a liability reaching out to and working with an already enormous yet steadily growing number of perceived liabilities known simply as ‘baby boomers’ … the gigantic storm cloud on the governmental horizon.  At this point it might be good to add that we plan to reach out to all those of younger years as well … any wanting to learn how to put their myriad ideas, skills and experience to work.  If, however, you happen to be among the millions who are unemployed or who have given up looking for a job, then we want to put you back to work!

You see – It’s never too late for us baby-boomers.April 17th 081

Maybe we have a different spirit? … a spirit born during or shortly after the WWII years, growing during the boom years of the 50’s, moving into the teens during the ‘magic’ of the love revolution spawned in the 60’s to maturing throughout the three decades beginning in 1970 and culminating in 90’s.

We know now that life is more than a collection of memories.  Over time we have learned that we draw upon these memories that have been filtered through perspective and refined with wisdom born of experience.  Essentially that means that, in our particular case, we have a minimum of one hundred years of experience between us.  Imagine the possibilities of reinvigorating an economy if we put even one-quarter of the combined experience of the ‘boomer generation’ back to work … allowing them, through entrepreneurial means, to remove the stigma being placed upon them by a well-meaning if heavy handed government. of the 50’s, moving into the teens during the ‘magic’ of the love revolution spawned in the 60’s to maturing throughout the three decades beginning in 1970 and culminating in 90’s.

We feel the time is absolutely ripe for Silver Veterans to make a difference in so many ways.

Now we’re not asking you to take our word for this no matter what your current age as of your last birthday.  You too – depending upon that age – may be viewing us too as a liability rather than the asset we are continually proving we are.  There are numerous articles bemoaning the fact that the aging demographic is draining the resources of every country which scares the younger demographic who are looking 20 or 30 years into the future.

April 17th 080

What we suggest is … do your own research.  As they were so fond of pointing out at the beginning of every episode of the X-Files … “The Truth is Out There!”

Read a few pieces online:

PowerHomeBiz   “The baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, have reshaped the economy by their sheer number. As this age group enters their retirement years, repercussions of this demographic shift will likewise be felt in all areas – from consumer spending to markets, government programs and health care, to employment and workforce.  The aging population will also change the face of small businesses”

“Entrepreneurs are more likely to be wise old owls than young guns”  Nominet Trust Organisation research:

Contrary to popular belief, the largest number of British entrepreneurs are 55 years and over, rather than 20-somethings like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.  New findings by Nominet Trust explode the myth that older people don’t have the desire or know-how to be entrepreneurs. Most people believe that entrepreneurs fit into the 25-34 age group, when in fact they are more likely to be over 55.    Nominet Trust has also found that perceptions of how older people use the internet and what they have to offer are largely incorrect: most people believe that people over 65 are luddites when, in fact, the fastest growing users of digital and social media are older.

Forbes Magazine says “Americans are getting older. But that creates opportunities for baby boomers looking for a second career.  Careers in aging are not the next big thing. They are the new big thing.”

“By 2050, according to Pew Research Projections, about one-in-five Americans will be over age 65, up from some 39 million Americans, or 13% of the U.S. population now. And the number of those 85 and older is expected to more than double to about 5% of this country’s population”

“This demographic shift is already creating a wave of new fields and opportunities for workers of all ages. It’s just a tease of what’s to come”