Embracing the Power of Belonging, Purpose and Meaning in your Third Act

{{d-episode-number}} In this episode of “Hey, Boomer!”, host Wendy Green sits down with special guest Erik Seversen to unlock the journey to meaning, purpose, and belonging.

Together, they explore the importance of strong connections, the importance of belonging, and the pillars of meaning that contribute to a fulfilling life. Whether you’re a boomer seeking new goals and dreams or simply looking for inspiration, this episode is sure to uplift and motivate you.

Erik has traveled to all 50 states and over 90 countries. He is a mountain climber and has summited the highest peak on 4 continents. He has lived with a remote Indian tribe deep in the Amazon. He is a public speaker and an author. All of these experiences have given him a unique perspective on some of the big life questions as well as the smaller everyday events in our lives.

Episode takeaways:

  • Discover the significance of finding purpose and meaning in the “3rd act” of life.
  • Gain insights into the power of community and engaging with others outside of your comfort zone.
  • Understand the role of setting big goals in maintaining motivation and consistency.
  • Explore the impact of mindset on productivity and personal development.

Connect with Erik Seversen:

– Instagram: @erikseversen

– Email: erik@erikseversen.com

– Website: www.erikseversen.com

Sign up for the new Boomer Banter and join the conversation:


Email me at wendy@heyboomer.biz


Wendy Green [00:00:37]:

Hello, and welcome to the Hey Boomer show, the show for those of us who believe that we are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. So who starts a podcast at 66? Isn't that the time you're supposed to be slowing down and enjoying the time you have left? Well, guess what? I met a lot of podcasters over 60 at the podcast movement convention, and starting Hey Boomer at 66 has given me a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in my life. I love being able to bring inspiration and encouragement To people in the 3rd act of life. And what about Jane Fonda? She's 85, Still making movies, still involved as an activist in the environmental movement. And I have a friend who still runs his own business at 75. His work does not only give him a sense of purpose, It also helps him feel meaningful to his family and friends by being able to help them. So we are also never too old To find purpose and meaning in our 3rd act of life. And that is what we're going to talk about today.

Wendy Green [00:01:56]:

What it means to find purpose and meaning, how important it is to our health and our well-being, And why belonging to something also enhances our well-being. And we're going to talk about how our mindsets And the things that we tell ourselves can give us an extraordinary life, or they can drag us down and make us feel old. So take a moment now to text a friend, invite them to join the live show, or share it with them later where they can listen to it on YouTube or find us on any of the podcast apps. My guest today is Eric Severson, and I'm looking forward to introducing you to him. But first, I want to remind you to sign up for the new boomer banter. So thinking about the banter, We're gonna talk about role models. So we'll talk about things like who are some of your role models? Are there role models for our kids and grandkids today? And who are they? And do you see yourself as a role model? And and what does that mean to you? So those are the kinds of questions that we will dig into and discuss and unpack when we meet together in the boomer banter, And I am opening Banter 2. It's going to meet on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, And it will meet at 12 o'clock EST.

Wendy Green [00:03:31]:

So wherever you happen to be located, You can join us in your own time zone. It is a membership group. It's only $12 a month to be a part of this group, and it's a place where you're gonna build lasting friendships and gain knowledge and wisdom and feel supported by the community that builds the boomer banter. If you'd like to become a member of our new banter too, Go to buy me a coffee.com/heyboomer0413, and you can sign up there. So I hope to see you on October 17th to join the boomer banter. Okay. So let me bring Eric on and do a brief introduction. Hi,

Erik Seversen [00:04:23]:

Eric. Hi, Wendy. How are you doing?

Wendy Green [00:04:26]:

I'm doing great, and I'm so glad to have you on today to inspire us and enlighten

Erik Seversen [00:04:32]:

us. So very happy to be here. What you're doing is absolutely amazing, and I'm excited.

Wendy Green [00:04:37]:

Thank you. So Eric has lived an extraordinary life, but it did not start out that way. He was born in Tacoma, Washington, where he was an average student and an avid ice hockey player. He eventually realized the value of education and received a master's in anthropology. Eric has traveled to all 50 states and over 90 countries. He's a mountain climber and has summited the highest peak on 4 continents. He has lived with a remote Indian tribe deep in the Amazon. And all of these experiences have given him a unique perspective on some of the big life questions as well as some of the smaller everyday events in our lives.

Wendy Green [00:05:23]:

In 2018, Eric published his first book, Ordinary to Extraordinary, And he's gone on to facilitate the development of several other inspiring books, The Successful Mind, The Successful Body, and the successful spirit. Eric's desire is to inspire, motivate, and produce positive changes in individuals and in corporations. And he has a son that's just started college, so another adventure for him. So, Eric, tell us a bit about the journey that brought you to this place of providing inspiration and motivation to people and companies.

Erik Seversen [00:06:03]:

Okay. Thank you, Wendy, for the great introduction, and it's really an accident how I got to where I am now. One thing early on is I realized that people scoffed at some ideas I had really young even, like, you How far can I ride my little tiny bike up the neighborhood type thing? I realized that I could do those things. I kept Pushing those boundaries. And you said I was an avid ice hockey player up in Washington. Most people who played ice hockey started around 6 years old, 5 years old often. I didn't decide to play ice hockey until I was 13, and so I had to teach myself how to I I just fell in love with the idea of ice hockey and just Couldn't think of anything else. So I had to teach myself how to skate.

Erik Seversen [00:06:50]:

And when I got on a team, I made a team, after about a year of teaching my help self how to skate And ended up making it to the junior b level being the worst player on the team for the 1st year, and but keep on fighting and fighting and fighting Because I absolutely loved it and and I knew I could do it and in the end, became a, you know, a relatively good member of our team. And so that's one of the things that I love is that an individual idea could turn into something that becomes part of a community, and I think that's kinda like life a little bit. My the accident of how I got to where I am, I published my 1st book, like you said, in 9 in 2018 just for fun, And these are all true first person narratives about my life and but I sent it to somebody with some advice about publishing, and he says, Eric, you and all your friends are gonna love this. And I said, that's not that's not a compliment, is it? He said, no. It's all about you. And I'm, like, thinking to my I'm thinking to myself, yeah, but their narrative is about my life. But he basically said nobody's gonna be interested other than you and a few of your friends about details of your life. So I spent a year reworking that book, through The lens of Emily Esfahani Smith's book, The Power of Meaning.

Erik Seversen [00:08:05]:

And so I group these true narratives into how do they feel a sense of purpose by this event, that was bigger than myself. How did I feel a sense of belonging by living with the Wyanna Indians in South America? How did I feel a transcendental moment that changed my life when I saw the Aurora Borealis? And then in the end, storytelling and Getting my book out. And those are her 4 pillars of meaning, and you kinda mentioned them a little bit. Belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence, according to Emily s. Bonnie Smith, Are the pillars of meaning and happiness is a byproduct. So I reworked this book after throughout a year and published it. And it actually took off, and it led to some really good speaking opportunities so much so that in 2020 in January, I left a position doing international business development to speak full time, and that went great for 2 months. March March 2020, and I'd already left my job and, to speak.

Erik Seversen [00:09:12]:

And so my 2nd book, which is a continuation of that, and that book's called Explore, was 99% done sitting on a shelf for 2 years. And so I quickly finished that up, got it out there, and, it did well too, and then that led into a bunch of author book projects. But so, basically, it was an accident of me telling my story just for fun, getting it out there, and then having a few people who read read it wanted Always, I wanted 2 things. I wanted something practical, a tool they could use that day, and I wanted to be motivation. So I wanted something, you know, kind of on the motivational realm, but also something on the practical realm. And that just led to more and more, and I kind of, like, learned as I went a little bit, of what is motivation, what is productivity, what is performance, high performance, things like that, and it just kinda snowballed from there, and it's been a wonderful journey, Wendy. I've I've really loved it, and I'm I said, you know, I I'm thankful for where I am right now.

Wendy Green [00:10:19]:

Yeah. Well, it sounds like it's been an amazing journey, and and you mentioned several things that I'd like to explore a little bit more, like your time with the Indian tribe in the Amazon. Mhmm. And you talked about feeling a sense of belonging. Can you tell us about that?

Erik Seversen [00:10:35]:

Yeah. It was so I studied Anthropology, as an undergraduate at UCLA. And during that, I was part of an honors program that actually did research, and I got funding to go to South America. I went in through French Guyana and spent time in French Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil right on the the with those borders. And I lived with That time, a group called the Aluku, which is an, a maroon community, basically African descendants who live in the forest, as a tribe in South America still. They came over on slave ships, and as soon as the ship hit ground, they revolted and Literally went into the forest and have been living in the forest since then. Interesting. So that was wonderful.

Erik Seversen [00:11:16]:

And then with the Iluku, Sometimes on hunting trips, we would I would see we occasioned Indians in the forest. So I went to University of Virginia for grad school, And I wanted to go deeper in the forest and explore, how the Waianae is the the tribe name, how they lived, and what we can learn from them. And so later at University of Virginia, the I got funding from the Raven Society, which is kind of exciting, to go down and live with the Wyanna. And with the Waianae, I learned that community is really important. They're hunters and gatherers with some small scale agriculture, So if you don't hunt successfully on a day you might not eat, however, they mitigate the Rather than burden, really learn to appreciate that team effort, that team way of living, that they that They're able to be released of the individual anxiety of fear by spreading it out as a community. And so that's one of the biggest takeaways I got from living with them, and It was just there there were tons of wonderful things I I learned from them, but that was the one that I think stuck the most. And Part of their society is built on these untalked about and almost unconscious exchange patterns that helps keep that community A a very tight knit organization.

Wendy Green [00:12:42]:

So, you know, loneliness is an epidemic with older people, And, trying to find a sense of belonging in a community like the United States, where we are all rushing around in a hurry, and and we don't live as extended families anymore. I mean, what are you seeing In your experience now that can help fix

Erik Seversen [00:13:07]:

that. Yeah. And I I gave my 1st TEDx Talk a few weeks ago, and I actually used I talked talked about what I learned from the Waianae. And one of the things I said was the Waianae have to rely on community for survival. We don't. We've got refrigerators and packaged food. I could live in my house and have food delivered to me and not speak to anybody. However, we have to ask ourselves, is that healthy? Is that the best way for me to live? And I think, sadly, we have become partially pandemic, but even Aside from that, we've become really comfortable being alone.

Erik Seversen [00:13:41]:

I was public speaking a 100% before, COVID nineteen, And then I went into producing books. I love producing books. Absolutely love it. I think I make a huge impact doing it. However, it's I became so comfortable hiding behind my computer and creating these books and knowing that I'm still effectively communicating with people. But the fact is the high fives, hugs, and the really, really strong connection by speaking in public, I think it's also really important, and it's something that I I should continue doing even though I've become more comfortable being alone behind my computer. And so I'm right now in the stage post pandemic of forcing myself to get out of my chair to make these connections again. And so I just lined up last week to speaking engagements for, I think, it was next April or something like that.

Erik Seversen [00:14:33]:

And so, I'm forcing myself to get to a place where I think I'm adding value to other people. And not only that, to create these connections that are good not only for for for them, but for me too. I benefit as much as anybody from messages in the books and also in public speaking. So it's a win win when we Treat yourselves as community. Emily Eswahani Smith, she talked about belonging being one of the pillars, and that's one of the easiest ones, I think. And I think you're right. A lot of people who retire become really comfortable being alone, and I think that is wonderful. However, we also need yeah.

Erik Seversen [00:15:13]:

We also need to kind of step back from that comfort and continue these engaging relationships with people. And they could be family, they could be grandchildren, children, friends, or really get out of our comfort zone and, you know, Find ways that we can join something at the parks and recreation, you know, a walking class, a step class, an art class. And there are free ones everywhere. So if you can pay for a high end art class, that's great. And if you don't want to, I'm sure at the rec center, you can find something almost for for nothing. Or If you have something that you love, why not you build your own little tight lit community of just find other people in your community who like the same thing and say, hey, let's get together once a Whatever it is. So I think it's important to have enjoy being alone, but don't start to get too comfortable in that. So we forget that We need community for, I think, our balance in our life.

Wendy Green [00:16:06]:

Right. And that's why I started that boomer banter, you know, because during COVID, It was a way for us to connect virtually, and now it has become a community. And I think, you know, even a virtual community is is impactful and important for our health. Absolutely. I wanted to talk to you about purpose. So if I was to ask you what is your purpose, Eric, would you be able to describe that?

Erik Seversen [00:16:31]:

Yeah. The first thing that comes to mind is kinda in my my it's not really written anywhere. It might be scribbled down on some notes somewhere, but it's basically To leave a wake of positivity behind me, to improve people's lives, and leave a wake of positivity behind me. So that's my goal is to create connections that are, again, good for me and good for for other people. And but I want people to I want that wake not to just be me and the person, the 1 person, or the small 4 people I'm getting together with. I want it to be a wake that spreads out and affects more and more and more people So that positivity can spread, and the more of us creating those wakes, the more positivity there is touching all of us. One of I lived in Paris, when I was 23 years old. I was asked to be to write a small chapter for a book a man was editing, And he lived in Ramboillet just outside of Paris, and I was living in Paris.

Erik Seversen [00:17:23]:

And I would go out to his, farm, basically. He wasn't a farmer, but he lived on a old farm, and we would have these great 4 to 6 hour dinners every Sunday. And he would invite poets and philosophers and his it was Him, his wife, his children, and usually his children would bring 1 or 2 people, and then he would have a poet or a philosopher or something or or professor or something. He invited me. I got to go every Sunday, and it was just wonderful. And then one day, I kind of asked him as we're walking. We always took a long walk after dinner, And he lived near the woods. And I said, you know, I love being here.

Erik Seversen [00:17:59]:

Why do I get to come every week? Because he'd invite different people, like, 1 1 and done type thing or maybe So often. And he said, my goal is to create little intellectual snowballs, and as that snowball gets bigger, It's gonna create its own snowballs. And in the end, you've got an avalanche of intellectuals that are running down the down the mountain. And I was really honored that I think he was indirectly He's saying he wants me to be a

Wendy Green [00:18:24]:

snowball soldier. Yeah. Awesome. And so

Erik Seversen [00:18:26]:

I I I kinda live by that.

Wendy Green [00:18:29]:

So, you You know, I was having a conversation the other night with a friend who, was talking about finding purpose. Right? And and so many of us think Purpose is like this big capital p, purpose solving world hunger. You know? And there's an the and then they stop. They don't they don't know how to find a purpose. Do you have any tools or suggestions that you give to people to help Figure out what their purpose might be.

Erik Seversen [00:18:58]:

Yeah. In one, I think my definition of purpose, and I'm kind of stealing this from Emily S. Wani Smith, is it's just something bigger than yourself. And so changing creating a 1,000 wells in rural Africa, That's a purpose that's way bigger than yourself. Having a coffee with a friend who might be or might not be lonely is also that's a purpose. You're touching something bigger than yourself. So that's kind of my definition of it. And I like to be very intentional about things, and this helps me remember That purpose is at the forefront of what I'm doing.

Erik Seversen [00:19:33]:

So if I get a call that's safe say from a high school friend I haven't seen in 10 years. Hey, Eric. I'm gonna be in LA on a 6 hour layover. Can we meet for coffee? Absolutely. I can't wait to meet you for coffee. What I do is I say to myself, what Do I want that conversation to be like? Who is this person? What what might they need? What do I want? What can I learn from them? And I will actually write out What I what I think the what a great conversation would be, just notes. Of course, I'm not writing long things, but I would take bullet point notes of How what do I want that say, we're gonna meet for coffee for 2 hours. What do I want that to be like? And so that makes that a more purposeful conversation.

Erik Seversen [00:20:12]:

So it's not like we meet for 2 hours. We talk about this and that and talk about a little bit of football. We talk about catch up our kids a little bit. And then as soon as they leave, I'm like, oh my gosh. Why didn't I mention this Whole thing that they're working on that I didn't even bring up. And so I wanna be really intentional about that. And, also, I think knowing what we are interested in in setting goals. So you mentioned I claim mountains.

Erik Seversen [00:20:34]:

I have a list of the mountains I'd like to climb and I always I only focus on the next one and I have a Big goal. And so that's my purpose in this realm, right, to climb. Next one for me is gonna be Denali in in in Alaska, and there's no guarantees I'll make the summit, but there's a guarantee I'm gonna start on May 13th next year. And so I have a hard time exercising every day, Not when I'm climbing a mountain. If I know that on May 13th, I'm gonna be at the bottom of a top Billy Tall mountain with a big backpack and pulling a sled, I need to be in shape so I exercise every single day and the purpose is so I can climb that mountain. The benefit is that I'm more healthy and I can maybe live longer and I can do things that I like enjoy doing. But if I don't have that mountain goal, The purpose gets lost and I might miss a day and then maybe 2 days and my exercise falls off. And so that's one thing is set these Pretty big goals and then that remind yourself of why you're doing it helps you remember why these little things, and I think that helps.

Erik Seversen [00:21:36]:

And and also just Big big level purpose. What could I do that's bigger than myself? Asking yourself that question. And it could be something tiny. It could be something huge.

Wendy Green [00:21:46]:

Yeah. Yeah. I I find that, you know, just even thinking about the show, the Hey Boomer Show, gives me such an Enormous sense of purpose, you know, to to help and inspire and encourage and let people know that you're never too old. It definitely keeps you focused on, you know, what you're doing and what you're producing. And, also, the book that we're Actually, that actually got me to talk to Eric in the 1st place was called The Successful Mind, which is a compilation, right, a compilation of authors. And before you talk about that, I I I was really touched by this one by Nate Johnson where he talks about perception. You know, what you see

Erik Seversen [00:22:33]:


Wendy Green [00:22:33]:

Is your reality, and it can keep you stuck. And he tells the story about the hammer syndrome. Do you remember that?

Erik Seversen [00:22:40]:

I don't remember directly, but I remember loving his chapter.

Wendy Green [00:22:45]:

His chapter was great. And he says, you know, if if all you do is see yourself as a hammer

Erik Seversen [00:22:49]:


Wendy Green [00:22:50]:

Then all you see are nails.

Erik Seversen [00:22:52]:


Wendy Green [00:22:53]:

Right? And so if you start to see yourself as bigger than a hammer, maybe you're a whole toolbox. Yeah. Right? Then you start to see so many more possibilities and opportunities, and I think perception of what we see is so important.

Erik Seversen [00:23:10]:

I agree a 100%, and I I do think that we really create our meaning. And, and that that book actually was It was an accident too. I'm gonna give you a quick backstory of that. I I told you in COVID nineteen, I Speaking dried up, so I my published my 2nd book, which is almost done. Then I thought books can work, but it'll take me 2 years to write another good book. And I thought, oh my gosh. I'm gonna take my idea, and I'm gonna get people who know more about more than I do about certain ideas. And I gathered these wonderful people to all there are 33 authors in that.

Erik Seversen [00:23:45]:

Everybody from a medical doctor, a psychologist, a pastoral counselor, A a fire walking instructor from India, a yoga instructor, all of these wonderful people from different fields to give their idea What is the secret to purpose, productivity, and happiness? And the the the synergy working with the authors was just magical. And we like, you mentioned Nate's chapter, that that little gem of if we see each ourselves as a hammer, all we see is nails. If we see each other as somebody who's influencing people's lives, we see lives to all over the the place. It's wonderful. And so it's been really, really great, and I really love working with the authors to make an an impact on on the world.

Wendy Green [00:24:24]:

Yeah. And you've done 2 more books in that series.

Erik Seversen [00:24:26]:

Right? Yeah. The successful body using fitness, nutrition, and mindset to live better, and then the successful spirit, which is What separates somebody who goes to the Olympics versus somebody who's equally strong and equally hardworking who doesn't or somebody who sells a company for $100,000,000 versus another entrepreneur who's equally smart and hardworking. And so I tried to get really exceptional people, Somebody who's climbed all of the 7 summits, the highest mountain of every continent, American Ninja Warriors, Olympic Medal winners. Actually, 3 of the authors in there, they wrote the chapter months before the Tokyo Olympics, and 3 of them and 2 of them won medals. And so that was pretty exciting. And and then also we have entrepreneurs who've done really really amazing things. And that kinda shifted my my My focus a little bit in the books to productivity based on the reader feedback. They were really excited about 2 things, mindset And how that affects productivity.

Erik Seversen [00:25:24]:

And I think for a retiree, that's it. It's our mindset, how we look at our reality in front of us. We're going to create exactly the reality that we're picturing. If I'm ready to retire and I'm picturing sitting on a beach For hours on end every single day, that is more likely gonna happen than I I picture myself creating a podcast and writing a book. And and you know what? 1 might be right for 1 person, and 1 might be right for the other person. From my humble experience as a 54 year old person, I think choosing things that really get us to communicate our passions to other people and be willing to learn from other people. Those are for me 2 key ingredients to, I think, feeling rejuvenated, feeling Excited about waking up every day and getting to whatever I'm my my goals

Wendy Green [00:26:16]:

are. Yeah. I agree. You know, you hear a lot of people, and Once we're over 65, you hear a lot of people saying, you know, oh, aging's not for sissies, and, oh, this hurts and that hurts and all of that. But I think instead of looking at it that way, you know, if we start looking at well, what's possible? Yeah. Okay. So I'm a little stiffer. So but that doesn't mean I can't still go walk a trail and, you know, maybe I'm not gonna climb to the top of the mountain.

Erik Seversen [00:26:44]:

But Right.

Wendy Green [00:26:45]:

You know? So I think it's really about being able to change our perceptions of what's possible and seeing possibilities as opposed to limitations and

Erik Seversen [00:26:56]:

challenges. Absolutely. Whereas 1 person climbing on Everest is might be a really, really Far stretching goal. For another person, it might be walking or maybe another person, and 5 k. My grandfather who lived to, I think it was 96, I know it was past 95, I think it was 96 or 98, He walked around the block of his yard house, and around the block was 1 mile, And so he and multiple times near the end, people would stop and ask if he needed help because that walk would sometimes take him two and a half hours. And but he walked all the way around the block, which is 1 mile, all the way up into his very late nineties. That was his big goal, and every time I'd see him, I'd go on Sundays often, he would talk about his walk Because that was one of the things that gave him excitement every single day Right. Knowing, oh my gosh.

Erik Seversen [00:27:53]:

I'm gonna Do this big giant thing. And for him, that walk was a big deal.

Wendy Green [00:27:58]:

Right. Right. And I I talk to my mom every day. She's 93, and She and her husband, go to the gym almost every day. And Wonderful. They do they do, aerobics. He lifts weights. So, yeah, it's you can still do it.

Wendy Green [00:28:16]:

That's what's so cool about it. But I have a question for you. I mean, you mentioned earlier that you're a very optimistic person.

Erik Seversen [00:28:23]:


Wendy Green [00:28:24]:

And I and I see myself as an optimistic person, and yet Life happens. Right? There are times when that optimism or our Outlook of optimism gets smacked down.

Erik Seversen [00:28:38]:


Wendy Green [00:28:39]:

What do you do when that

Erik Seversen [00:28:41]:

happens? 1 is I do rely on my community. For Private life, I really my my wife, we have a great communicative relationship. My children, I get a a a real joy of, you know, knowing that they're part of my inner circle. And then for work, I I have, you know, accountability partners that I work with, that I meet with from time to time. And I think that so basically, re inserting myself into the my different communities is one of the biggest ways.

Wendy Green [00:29:14]:

Yeah. Because I think that can be a time when we might feel like isolating. You know? We don't wanna burden anybody with our Problems

Erik Seversen [00:29:21]:

and Mhmm.

Wendy Green [00:29:23]:

Mhmm. But but you're saying reaching out and and telling people, I need your support right now.

Erik Seversen [00:29:28]:

Yeah. And so and I the funny thing is I think part of my positivity, my sister, brother, and I, we grew up, like I said, in Tacoma. Loving parents, But, you know, not a lot of resources and and, you know, really average, family. And so but we were And there are arguments, fights. It was you know, I I you would call it a dissectional family for sure. And then so in our twenties, my brother and sister and I, my brother did his. He went to Stanford and Harvard for his MBA doing well. My sister is doing well.

Erik Seversen [00:29:57]:

And we said, why did we turn out okay? And we boiled it down to, One is no matter how chaotic things could have been in the household, my father was drinking too and that was part of it, no matter how chaotic things from the household, My parents, neither of them ever said anything really negative about us and they never they never showed that they didn't love us. That was one. And then a little bit later, I think I've picked up on something else even. And my mom, she was at a company called Home Interiors, which is a wonderful company in sales with this Wonderful woman owner named, Mary Crowley, and Zig Ziglar was a big part of their process in the sales process. So my mom used to listen to these little cassette tapes from Zig Ziglar in the late seventies and 80 early eighties, and I didn't think anything of it. And now as I'm getting into personal development, I realize boom, oh my gosh. Me as a 9 year old Hearing these cassette tapes over and over made a big impact, and I didn't even know it.

Wendy Green [00:30:58]:

That's interesting. That's really interesting. And I think that makes a good point, you know, that We, as grandparents, the things that we might say to our grandchildren, you know, our children too, but our grandchildren are are looking up to us for encouragement and wisdom and love and all of those things. So so that kind of brings me back around to mindset. Mhmm. And I'm wondering if you have some favorite anecdotes or things to say about you know, how do you How do you maintain the mindset that keeps you positive and

Erik Seversen [00:31:35]:

productive? Well, one kind of funny one that just comes to mind as you're saying that is When we're in the mountains, we don't climb mountains because it's super fun. We climb it because it's miserable. And Oh, great. But but we finish anyway. And so kinda one of the funny things we do to put it in perspective is, say, it's we're snowed in our tent, and there's no sign of it letting up anytime soon, It's negative, you know, 10 degrees or even negative 20. So one of them one of us will say, it's negative 20 degrees, But at least the wind is blowing at 60 miles an hour or or you're climbing up the hill and you're saying, oh my gosh, We we better rope up because if we fall, we're gonna, you know, there's there's there's a there's a long drop, and then we'll say, At least above us, there's a big cornice that might break off at any moment. So whenever we say something, we say but at least when we say something even worse. And with with life, it's kind of funny because that's creeped in a little bit where, on on the mountain this is Aconcagua.

Erik Seversen [00:32:36]:

So that's making light of it, basically. When something bad happens, try and figure out something worse and say, there's this, but at least there's this. And it's something that's even even worse than it. It creates a chuckle. But also I think becoming into the habit of gratitude, I think gratitude is the number one thing that keeps a mind stretch a mindset in the right direction, to keep the mindset true. And when I was climbing Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America, it's actually the highest outside of the Himalaya, Twenty almost 23,000 feet. I'm climbing up and all of a sudden it was sprinkling and dreary, and the the sun broke out a tiny bit. I just said, you know, thank god for this moment.

Erik Seversen [00:33:14]:

And then a little bit later, I was really struggling to we're on a a acclimatization climb up a neighboring mountain, and I was really struggling, and I just said, thank god for this moment. That kinda surprised me. And then I'm really struggling, and I I said, you know, thank god for this moment. And then there's a thing called I I don't know. It's going to the bathroom number 2 in the mountains is a big deal. So it takes 15 minutes to

Wendy Green [00:33:38]:

No. 23 is below 0.

Erik Seversen [00:33:40]:

Yeah. Yeah. It takes 15 minutes because the altitude. You're you can't move fast or you're gonna really exhaust yourself. 15 minutes to put on your boots and your enough clothes just to walk a 100 yards to get to this tent that is designated for this purpose. And it's basically a tent with a hole cut out in the bottom, and you're supposed to go on a newspaper and everything should go well. But When you've got, you know, a 100 climbers trying to actually, it's about 15 for this particular tent. It's a miserable place is what I'm trying to say.

Erik Seversen [00:34:09]:

And and People's stomachs are generally not right at all. So you enter this miserable place. And as I'm in this miserable place, all of a sudden I said, Thank god for this moment. And, Mindy, it it really surprised me because it was a horrible moment. I was altitude sick. I wasn't feeling good. I'm in this horrible tent. And I said, thank god for this moment.

Erik Seversen [00:34:29]:

And all of a sudden, I felt so wonderful. And so I've when I got back from the mountain, be sitting in my chair, and I'd say thank god for this chair. And and so just getting to the habit of that. And whenever I said that, no matter what I was doing, good or bad, It really made the moment feel great, and it would put whatever bad situation I was in into perspective. And, Wendy, I'm not talking about just, You know, kind of bad situations. My biggest test was when my dad died. One of my biggest things is happiness is a choice. It's like a backpack.

Erik Seversen [00:35:03]:

We either put it on or we don't and it's our choice. And I kind of I I did this along with the idea of success is a path That we're either following or not, and it doesn't matter where on the path. You could be a business owner with a $100,000,000 company and that's successful. You could be an entrepreneur starting out with a bunch of debt and a great idea, and if you're excited to get out of bed every day, you're on the same path of success. And neither is better than the other. Happiness, back to the backpack idea. I think that happiness is a choice at any moment. When my dad died it was an untimely death, and I got a call when I was at work and I literally hung up the phone with my sister who told me.

Erik Seversen [00:35:45]:

And I asked myself, how am I going to handle this? And I had just spoken about this happiness idea to a company. And I said, am I going to put on the backpack right now? And I literally decided how I was gonna handle this. I could have been mad at the universe, mad at God, mad at the doctors, but instead Walked out of my office. I told some people in cubicles in front of the office I'm going home, because my dad died. Went back and as I was driving home, which is only about a 6 minute, 8 minute drive, what am I gonna do? How am I gonna respond? And I learned an ethic of hard work from my dad. And so before I even changed my clothes, I walked into the garage, Got the lawnmower out and started mowing the lawn. And that's how I celebrated my dad. And I was, of course, choked up.

Erik Seversen [00:36:29]:

I was I was I was dealing with pain, But I chose to celebrate his life and do something that he taught me which is work hard.

Wendy Green [00:36:38]:

And something that he would have

Erik Seversen [00:36:39]:

And so even in one of my hardest moments, I I I still live by that philosophy. That backpack is available to us anytime no matter how good or bad.

Wendy Green [00:36:50]:

Yeah. And it's not always

Erik Seversen [00:36:51]:

easy. No. It's not. It shouldn't be.

Wendy Green [00:36:53]:

Choose to be happy when things seem dark. And it's And it's not always easy to shift your mindset to say thank god for this moment. You know? I'm sure you didn't say thank god for this moment at that point, but Mhmm. But you were able to recognize what he taught you and gave you Right. And honor him that way.

Erik Seversen [00:37:12]:


Wendy Green [00:37:14]:

Yeah. That's really a beautiful idea. I like

Erik Seversen [00:37:16]:

that. Yeah. So I do think that just kinda going back to it, having a mind a mindset of gratitude is, I think one of the easiest ways to live a, a more happy life.

Wendy Green [00:37:28]:

Yeah. I think you're right, Eric. Thank you for that wisdom. Mhmm. So, Florian says thank you for sharing that precious memory. So if you could give 2 or 3 takeaways thinking about the boomer generation and beyond, you know, because, Like I said, my mother is 93, and she listens. Uh-huh. What would you say would be the 3 most Important things to think about when you think about purpose, meaning, and belonging.

Erik Seversen [00:38:01]:

Okay. One is I think putting other people first. That's my my my my number one thing. Zig Ziglar from the old tapes, and and I actually know this now because I've reread all his books as an adult after I figured it out. He said you can have anything in your life that you want as long as you help another p help enough other people get what they want. And I do believe in that ethic of if you're giving things away, if you're helping other people, you it it comes back, and you don't do it because it comes back, But it does. So 1 is to give as much as you of yourself away to other people, help enough other people. 2 is to be grateful For everything that you can possibly think of.

Erik Seversen [00:38:41]:

And then I think the third one would be to really decide intentionally What you want your purpose to be and set a goal and set, I think, a big goal a big goal. Write a book. I think As I was just pondering, what would some what is one easy thing that many people who are either retired or approaching retirement could do To inject meaning and therefore happiness in their life is write their book. Whether this book turns into a New York Times bestseller, whether it turns into a book that's on Amazon, or or whether it turns into a manuscript that you and a few friends read, that's writing that the that writing process really Has been a self actualization process for me, unbelievably. And a lot of the authors I work with now, They didn't know what writing would do for them. So I encourage anybody to just you and you don't have to plan on a whole book. Just start writing whatever you feel like writing about, Whether that's your narrative, whether that's your story, the story of your life, or whether it's an idea that you have, don't worry about it being a good book. Just think of a 1 1 paragraph That's gonna turn into a section, that's gonna turn into a chapter, that's gonna turn into a book, and just just start writing it.

Erik Seversen [00:39:50]:

That's one of the things That's like a big goal that could be exciting to wake up every day and chip away at that. So gratitude, giving yourself away to others, and, doing Really narrowing down your purpose. Maybe it's not writing a book. Maybe it's exercise related. Maybe it's, helping, you know, Somebody again, which is kind of, like, number 1. But that's those are the 3 things.

Wendy Green [00:40:12]:

But that's a purpose too, to help somebody.

Erik Seversen [00:40:15]:

And and also, I mentioned, to Earlier today, I just got back from a canoe camping trip with the I was invited by the Air Force, a friend who's in the Air Force. And it was an Air Force Rector outdoor recreation event for 3 days. And a few of the people on that trip are either are really close to retirement and they're in their fifties. And so when they start to consider retirement, they've got a really lot of time ahead of them. And as I was talking to them about retirement, these different people on the canoe trip. One of them actually mentioned how many times he has seen somebody retire in their mid or late fifties, because they got full pension, you know, they're they're set pretty much. They can go back to work if they want to, but they don't have to. Right.

Erik Seversen [00:41:01]:

He did say the people who don't have a plan, Sadly, often die quickly. They're in their late fifties and they retire and they somehow their identity, their purpose is gone and they don't do well or they actually die. Whereas, the other ones in their late fifties are already excited about figuring out which Community college they're gonna teach at or, or what adventure trips are they going to do? Where are they gonna volunteer? Those ones absolutely thrive. And so it's

Wendy Green [00:41:32]:

just Absolutely.

Erik Seversen [00:41:34]:

A matter of deciding because you don't have to be 57 to have a lot of retirement left. You could be 75 at this point and have a long plan for a long span of exciting things to do in retirement. And so it was really eye opening to hear them talk about that retirement so close to their futures. Like, one of them will retire this year, and he's in his mid fifties.

Wendy Green [00:41:55]:

Well and and, you know, as you tell that story, that's what happened with my husband. He was a government employee. And when he retired at 65, He'd completely lost his identity.

Erik Seversen [00:42:07]:


Wendy Green [00:42:07]:

He thought, oh, he'll he's just gonna hunt and fish all

Erik Seversen [00:42:10]:

day long. Right.

Wendy Green [00:42:12]:

And Within, like, a year and a half, he had died. Yep. So yeah. I think you have to have some kind of meaning and purpose and, Who are you now? Who are you going to be?

Erik Seversen [00:42:25]:

Right. And choose to be extraordinary. That's the whole my book is Ordinary to Extraordinary. There's nothing extraordinary about me. However, I chose to do extraordinary things. And so if I'm Nearing retirement or retired, choose to do extraordinary things. Choose to be the person at a group of 10 people at the coffee shop that People want to know more from because you've just done something exciting or you're planning something exciting

Wendy Green [00:42:49]:

even. Yeah. So let me tell people how they can reach out to you. You can email eric@erik, which is e r I k, at ericseverson, seversen, ericseverson.com, and that is also his website, eric sieverson.com, and you can also find him on LinkedIn. So Thank you so much for what you shared with us today, Eric.

Erik Seversen [00:43:20]:

Thank you, Wendy, for having me on. Like I said, I absolutely love what you're doing, so it was a joy to be here.

Wendy Green [00:43:26]:

Thank you. Before I let you go, I just wanna say thank you for the comments that have come in today. I love seeing your comments When you're listening live, I also love to see your comments when you listen to the podcast, so please don't be shy. Let me know what you think about what we're offering here. And don't miss the opportunity to join the 2nd Boomer Banter, which will kick off on October 17th at 12 noon EST, and you can sign up to be a member of that by going to buy meacoffee.com / heyboomer 0413, which is when the 1st show was. Next week. Next week, my guest is a man named Doug McIntyre. And we're gonna be talking about Doug's first novel, which is called Frank's Shadow.

Wendy Green [00:44:19]:

I loved this book, and it's a story that touches family relationships on many levels. And it takes The main character on a journey to live about his father's history while battling his own demons. Doug is a longtime Columnist for the Southern California News Group and has been on radio and has written for TV, Including Married With Children, WKRP in Cincinnati, many, many other things. So that should be a fun conversation. Really An interesting book, so I think we'll dig into some cool stuff there. And I like to leave you with a belief that we can all live with curiosity, Live with relevance and live with courage, and remember that you are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. My name is Wendy Green, and this has been Hey Boomer.

Erik Seversen [00:45:22]:


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