Erik Erickson (a well-respected psychologist and psychoanalyst) described the stages of Adult Development as:
- Intimacy vs. Isolation
- Generativity vs. Stagnation
- Ego Integrity vs. Despair
Generativity is the stage of Middle Adulthood, the stage that many of us are in. I love the term, GENERATIVITY. This is a time to Re-generate and Re-define ourselves to be who we want to be known as during this stage of adulthood.
Generativity is about creating a positive change that benefits others. Success at this stage leads to feelings of usefulness and accomplishment, while not embracing this stage can lead to stagnation. When I think of stagnation I think of stagnant water, scummy ponds. Yuck. That is not for me!
During this stage we get a chance to craft how we want to be seen in the world. We are so used to defining ourselves by who we were in the working world, or who we were as a parent or a spouse. That is all part of who you are and helped you become who you are today. But there is so much more to you than you might be giving yourself credit for.
Ask yourself some basic, and important questions.
- What are you good at?
- How do you want to help?
- How do you want to be known?
Take some time to reflect on these questions. The answers get clearer over time. Once you have an idea of your personal brand, how you want to be known in the world, your challenge is to LIVE UP TO IT.
Erickson’s last stage of Adult Development is a more reflective stage. This is the time when people look back on their lives and ask themselves whether they lived a meaningful life.
Those who feel proud of their accomplishments, (work, family, social, spiritual, etc.) will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom.
Those who are unsuccessful during this phase will feel that their life has been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left with feelings of bitterness and despair.
You are the crafter of this chapter in your life and you get to define who you want to be and how you want to be, whatever stage you are in. Write it with vibrancy and enthusiasm.
I am the host of Hey, Boomer, and a coach. I work with and inspire people who want to turn retirement upside down. There is no stagnation happening here. I want to be known as someone who makes a difference in people’s lives and as someone who makes a difference in the community and our country. That is my brand and that is my mission.
What about you? How do you want to be known, and how will you live up to that?