Finding our Tribe

Recently we did a morning presentation in Kitchener, Ontario,  we normally don’t do mornings as I’m not what you would call a “morning person”.  I don’t know my own name until after my second cup of coffee. Morning presentations also mess up Gerry’s daily workout schedule. Still we were up at 5:30 to get ready to battle the traffic, that is something I haven’t missed since I left the corp.. In the end though the early start was well worth the effort.

The audience we met was a special group of individuals who wake up and head to the local pool, many daily. This was a group I could connect with, the audience was made up by a group of people that was working to maintain a healthy lifestyle which included an early morning workout at the local pool. Each week after their workout they would attend a presentation from people like me on various topics. What a great idea exercise, education and a coffee to boot.

These were real people just like you and me living the lifestyle that we write about in my book and in this blog. It was nice to find part of our “tribe” in Kitchener, like-minded people with a common desire to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, pushing out their best before date and improving the quality of our remaining years.

While it was great to see how these people have incorporated exercise into their Victory Lap, I just wish I had a chance to talk to them before they retired. I believe they could have done even better if they had planned for their Victory Lap prior to leaving their primary careers. Like I’m fond of saying “the better the plan the better the outcome.”

People need to start planning for their Victory Lap ideally in their early to mid-fifties. There are two direct benefits, one a lot of time can be saved transitioning to your new lifestyle eliminating retirement shock and two a game plan will help you prepare for the unexpected. In today’s work environment, as we age we have to be prepared for the unexpected. Corporations continue to cull their elder and more expensive employees as they make room for younger employees. By being prepared if the corp. “let you go” you will just launch into Victory Lap a little sooner. Take comfort in knowing exactly what you need to do in terms of execution. Having a lifestyle plan which includes an exercise routine and a nutrition plan will help you avoid having to regain your health, a process that I am currently going through.

It’s so much easier if you know before you leave your career what you want to do with the rest of your life before you retire. When you finally figure out how you want to live it’s easy to go back to your financial plan and make sure you can afford the lifestyle that you envision. Check the numbers and know that financially you can execute on your plan. I will reinforce one point however no matter how prepared you are make sure to take 3-6 months off to decompress and prepare for your Victory Lap.

So my question, “Why do most people avoid doing this”? It’s one of the most important decisions that they will ever make. I get it your busy and there are a ton of things coming at you. I know it is stressful working in a job that you no longer enjoy or maybe you are worried about being downsized, but you just want to save more money for what is next. I have been through it myself and there was a lot of the stress and anxiety which could have been avoided if I had started working on my VL instead of just falling into it like most people do.

Through our book and this blog we are trying to drive a fundamental change in the way people view and live retirement. We hope it will help a lot of people who are struggling with this retirement thing. We know there are lots of people out there, as we continue to hear and meet you each week. We are practicing what we preach we have already helped ourselves.  The proof like they say is in the pudding.


Is It Work Or Is It Play?

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To him, he is always doing both.

-Lawrence Pearsall Jacks


While speaking in Kitchener it occurred to me that the line between work and play for me was becoming fuzzy and realizing that made me smile. What I was doing that morning sure didn’t feel like work because I was having a lot of fun and enjoyed a special connection with the audience.  I was finally getting it right and to think it only took me 38 years of my working life to finally figure things out.

Introducing “101 Awesome Things To Experience During Victory Lap”

We don’t have enough time during a 45 minute presentation to go deep on some of the areas that we want to cover. My favorite part of our presentation is when we get to talk about some of the exciting things that Victory Lappers are doing theses days. It always gets me excited as it reminds me that there are still so many exciting things to look forward to and accomplish in the years ahead.

We want to pass on that same feeling of excitement and anticipation to our followers so starting in July when Gerry gets back from his bike adventure we will post a weekly article called “101 Awesome Things To Experience During Victory Lap.“

The great thing about Victory lap is the personal freedom that it brings. Instead of doing work that we are told to do we are free to do work that we want to do and believe me that is a huge difference. Speaking in front of that Kitchener group dressed in golf shirt, shorts and sandals sure felt great instead of being in the regular suit and tie. I`m now free to dress and express myself my way and that sure is a beautiful thing!

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2 thoughts on “Finding our Tribe

  1. Neil Hemingway Reply

    I enjoy your weekly blog and I am certain that I would equally enjoy one of your presentations. I live in Stratford, Ontario. In the future, please notify me when you are near me so that I can “sit in” on one of your presentations.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks Neil for your kind comments. Next time you are at the library suggest they book us for a free seminar and we will come out. Alternatively if you use the services of a financial advisor/planner suggest the same but we charge for those (not you the advisor). We have a lot of good things coming down the pipe and I’m sure Gerry will have some interesting stories to tell us about his big bike ride when he gets back.

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