Ep. 123 – Allan Milham – Transition into The Third Act of Life

How do you find a purpose and meaningful productivity after your retirement? We often place all of our identity in the work we do that we forget to focus on the third act of life, which is after retirement.

If you want to continue making an impact and be productive after retirement, it is time you start focusing on the third act of your life.

In this episode of the Secure Your Retirement podcast, we have Allan Milham, the founder of Questage, and a high-performance leadership strategist. Listen in to learn the importance of having an identity much bigger than your job and focus on other meaningful things.

In this episode, find out:

·      Allan on how he got to the work of helping people establish their third act of life.

·      How the culture of putting all of our identity into work leads to loneliness in our third act of life.

·      How to reengineer your third act of life with purpose, productivity, and positivity.

·      Why organizations are being forced to create a learning and meaningful culture to cater to people.

·      Allan explains how they help people shift into their third act of life.

·      How he helps retirees establish a foundation and polish their legacy.

·      Allan on working with highly productive learners desiring to contribute beyond themselves.

Tweetable Quote:

·      “We live 5-6 years longer if we have an optimistic orientation versus pessimistic.”– Allan Milham

·      “Leadership is way beyond just the day job; leadership matters greatly in the third act of life.”– Allan Milham 

Get in Touch with Allan:

·      Website: https://www.questage.com/

·      LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/allanmilham/


If you are in or nearing retirement and you want to gain clarity on what questions you should be asking, learn what the biggest retirement myths are, and identify what you can do to achieve peace of mind for your retirement, get started today by requesting our complimentary video course, Four Steps to Secure Your Retirement!

To access the course, simply visit POMWealth.net/podcast.

Here’s the Full Transcript:

Radon Stancil:Welcome, everyone, to our Monday podcast. Every Monday, Murs and I are looking for and striving to bring experts so that you get a different perspective than what Murs and I do. And we are able to interview them and maybe help bring some information, some wisdom from outside of maybe even our industry to help, not only Murs and I, but help all of our listeners be able to have a better planning for, and living throughout retirement. Today, we have Allan Milham and he is out of Phoenix, Arizona. And he actually works with individuals in, well, I’ll say, I don’t know, all of the different types of individuals, but he fits very nicely with the individuals we’re working with. So, let me, first of all, say, Allan, thank you so much for coming on and talking with us today.  
Allan Milham:Well, thank you for inviting me. I look forward to the conversation.  
Radon Stancil:Good. Now, let’s just start off. You have a consulting firm. They’re based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Can you give us a little bit of background as to where you came from, how you got to where you are today, and maybe what your consulting firm does and how it helps people, how that might help some of our listeners?  
Allan Milham:Sure. Well, time is short, but I need to take us back to when I was 12 years old in the Midwest, playing in a creek. And my brother knew he wanted to be in sales when he grew up, and Scott was going to be a mechanic, and Beth was going to be a nurse, and Amrey was going to be a teacher. And I thought, “Oh boy, you are damaged goods, my friend,” because I had no clue. I thought, how did they have that knowing and I had nothing? So, it really was very humbling for me to get into my career early on with Marriott International. And then I went back to grad school and worked for a career consulting firm, the largest consulting firm in the world at the time in their San Francisco location. And it was really there that I found my passion.  
 I’d always been interested in leader and I’d always been interested in what allowed some people to hit their potential to thrive, versus just level off and survive. And so, I was privileged, really, and guided, I have to say. I can’t take responsibility for it, but having been scouting for seven years and become an Eagle Scout, had leadership roles in the church and in school. But there was always that thing about the doingness of leadership versus the beingness of leadership. And so, it wasn’t until I got into my career consulting and I’ll never forget Tom, because I met him in the fifth year there. Tom was about 60 years old. And you could not walk in off the street to work with us, the companies afforded the opportunity, in this case, it was a merger acquisition. And Tom did not get the… The guy got the job.  
 And when I met him in my office, I remember just him being very depressed. And I began to talk with him and it was the first time in his life with a stellar resume, with an unbelievable pedigree education, that he didn’t have a business card. And without that business card, gentleman, without that title, there was no there, there, because his entire identity had been his work. And it’s interesting when you think about our culture, normally if you were at a cocktail party, normally the first question might be, “Hi, so, what do you do?” If we’re in Europe, it’s not the, “What do you do,” it’s the, “Tell me about your family, where are you from?” And so, for a generation, we put a lot of our identity with the work piece.  
 And then we get into the third act of life and we get to that moment where we’re at an inflection point and we don’t want it to be lonely. People, they don’t feel relevant, they don’t feel purposeful and productive. And so, questions wants to solve that because we’re the first generation ever to be hitting the third act of life, not to go fishing or to go knitting, but rather to be highly engaged, to be productive, to be purposeful. And so, we really are excited because we call it the three Ps. When we meet someone that’s ready to look at re-engineering their life after a full-time career, we want to really help them to find new purpose and define meaningful productivity.  
 So, we take the word workout and we put the word productivity in, and that productivity has two pathways. One is certainly around, how do you want to pay it forward? It could be consulting, it could be doing your craft and on your terms, or it could be a foundation shared you’re volunteering. And then the second roadmap is really the lifestyle productivity. And so, we go out 10 years and then back it up to say, what do you want that to look like? And the therapy is positivity. This is so critical around the right mindset.  
 We now know through positive psychology that we live five to six years longer if we have a optimistic orientation versus pessimistic. And right now, we’re really challenged because of the mental health issues in our world, obviously with the pandemic. But we really talk about the power of the mindset as you go into your third life, and we look at self care first, and then we look at the family, then we look at the productivity. So, it’s an exciting conversation to be in and with a generation of learners, like we’ve never had before.  
Murs Tariq:Yeah, Allan, that’s interesting. That’s a really good background as well, so thanks for sharing that. And you kind of started to talk about, and that was my immediate question that has come to mind. But before I bring up my question, I’m just going to share a story because it’s so recent. I actually just sat down with a client and a client of ours, and we were going through his retirement plan and everything, and he is a soon to be retired pilot. And so, I asked him the question of, “Hey, what are you going to do after this is all done and you’ve hit this next stage of your life.” And he said, “Well, I’ve already actually started doing it and I love it.” And so, a quick story here is basically, he bought a classic car.  
 I forget the name of it, but he bought a classic car that he’s always had his eyes on and he bought it. But what’s interesting here is that at first it was, “Let me just drive around a little bit and enjoy the classic car,” but then it kind of shifted into, “Well, I joined a car club here and I joined a car club there, and now I’m part of this community of classic car owners. And also now, I’m associated with certain charities, all of a sudden, that these car owners or these clubs are affiliated with. And I’ve thrown myself into that. I was a pilot for so long and while I enjoyed that at that time, that phase has changed. And now, I didn’t know that I was going to love all of this, but I’ve really fallen into it and I’ve loved it.”  
 So, it’s amazing how this third act of life can happen overnight, or it could take some time and thinking, which I guess is where you come into play. And so, my question is, with the pandemic that we’ve been in for way longer than we thought we were going to be in, a lot of people have either had the opportunity, or they were forced into a situation where their career ended or their career that defined them ended because of downsizing or just because of, “Hey, I’ve got this ability or this opportunity here to start working remotely,” or whatever it is. So, we’ve seen a lot of job changes over the past year and a half across the country. So, what has that been like for your consulting firm in the sense, are you seeing an increase of people trying to figure out that next stage of life because of the current opportunity at hand?  
Allan Milham:Yeah. In fact, it’s interesting because Bloomberg came out with an article in April. And what they were discovered is that they called it life is short philosophy. And what we’re having, what we’re seeing is some people saying, “Look with this pandemic, we need to change our game.” We’re burned out, we’re Zoomed to death, not fulfilling. And so, for a part of our population, they’re actually pulling the life is short and getting out. And then to rejigger back to that purpose, to say, what will be meaningful for us to do? Unfortunately, we also have the flip side of this scenario, where we have a percentage of baby boomers that will have to work as long as they possibly can, because of the lack of financial resources or whatever the life journey gave them. And so, sort of have the tale of two cities here on both ends.  
 And then you have this new dynamic that’s not so much related to the boomer generation, but as you both know, or probably saw, we have in April, 4 million people resigned their jobs. It’s called the great resignation. And then in May, 2 million more quit their jobs. So, you’ve got 6 million people and as a former career consultant, gentleman, I’m still trying to get my head around… I was raised with a loyalty thing, shake a hand, and I’m going to be on board. And what we’re initially discovering is that people want more meaningfulness in their work and they want to be doing purposeful thing, and they want a culture that is a learning culture. “Don’t command and control me.”  
 So, that’s going to force us as a workforce, and particularly, organizations to how do we create that right culture. So, but to the boomers, we’re the first generation where we’re hungry to continue to learn. We’re hungry to be really productive. And there’s a new dynamic happening in America and it just happened down the street here where you have retirement facilities that are being built on campuses of colleges and universities, and they have full access to the courses at the university. Isn’t that beautiful to say, instead of, we’re going to put you into a room and with limited activity, no, we’re going to give you the vitality and the ability to continue to learn as long as you want to.  
Radon Stancil:Yeah. So, when you talk about this idea of basically doing this shift from always talking about what I did, this is what I did for a living, this is what I did for my career, this is what I did all those decades and now, that disconnects you from what I’m doing today. How do you help somebody, I don’t know, mentally make that shift? I mean, how do you make that transition?  
Allan Milham:Yeah. So, a great question. And so, the first phase of the work, when we’re working with clients is it’s really a discovery phase. They clearly know who they are as human beings, but we use a powerful tool out of South Africa called the Integrative Enneagram, that really looks at core motivation. And then we take that and we start building a new roadmap around the skills and the competencies and the motivations and the values of what they desire to be using. And we get very transparent around what we’re not packing for the journey, because most of our clients come with a very robust skillset, but doesn’t mean that with all these skills, that you love doing them all. So, we have to get very myopic to really design what are we packing for the journey, and then we begin the scenario testing of being able to say, “Well, what productivity really excites you?” And so, we move from the rear view mirror to looking forward.  
 And I have two friends, they’re husband and wife, 70, and I think he’s approaching 80. And I just love this story. When they go to an event, they do not sit down at a table, they mingle. And the minute someone says, “Oh, hi, I’m so and so, what was your career?” They politely excuse themselves and move on because they’re not interested in where they’ve been. They want to talk and be in conversation with people that have the vitality say, “This is what I’m up to, and this is what I’m doing.” And that’s what we help make that shift.  
Murs Tariq:Got you. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And so, when it comes to the thought of leaving a legacy behind, sometimes that’s financially oriented, but sometimes the phrase of, “I want to be remembered for this,” comes about. And if you ask a retiree, I don’t know if they’re going to have an answer or not as to what they want to be remembered for, but how do you help them think through that? I guess, what is your process when it comes to making this whole shift and then ultimately that personal legacy? How does Questage help in this whole process?  
Allan Milham:Well, Murs, that’s grounded right into the first phase of the work, because legacy does matter. And even though the majority of their life may have already happened, because we’re living longer, we still have decades of purposeful living. So, it’s a very fair question to sit with and really think about how do I want to be remembered. And as you can imagine, most people, when they get to the last breath of life, aren’t celebrating the fact that they crushed it three decades ago in that sales meeting. Or they’re able to be the operator of the year for their association. They’re remembering the personal moments around family and experiences that really touch their heart.  
 And so, when we talk about legacy, we really define that with the end in mind, and then ask the question, well, what do we need to do this year to move you closer to that being a reality, and then the following year? So, we lay the foundation for it, but then they get to polish that as they move forward in the third act of their life, so that it really gets crystal clear and they’re able to achieve it with a smile on their face when they’re complete.  
Radon Stancil:So, thank you for that. I have a two part question. First of all, the name of your company you told us right before we started, could you explain? It’s called Questage and you said that’s a made up word. So, what is Questage?  
Allan Milham:Well, I worked with a really powerful brand team up in Northern California. And it was just great, because they just got into my head. And ultimately, we were talking about the fact that my work and with leaders has always been in the coaching space, is asking questions, what and how questions. And then we talked about the stage, very intentional about the stage of life, where I want to focus on, being the third act, and the age. In my case, I work with 54 to about 70, 68. That’s sort of the sweet spot, not that we couldn’t be on the other of it. And so, we put those altogether and made up Questage, which is sort of fun and because it does have a lot of meaning behind it as to why we do what we do.  
Radon Stancil:Great. Thank you. So, now, I guess, who do you work with? Who does your firm work with and what does that look like? What would that process look like?  
Allan Milham:So, we ironically work with a lot of advisors in the financial world because as a lot of them say to us, “I’m not getting really paid to be armchair career coaching for the third act life. I really want to get them organized on the financial portfolio.” And so, we really partner with them when they find themselves in that conversation, so that we can bring in our skillset and bring in our tools. And it’s a fast process, it’s a 90-day process, so it’s not long handholding. And when there is a assessment on our website that says, “Are you ready,” and it’s a 10 question assessment where we’ll get an automatic response based on the kinds of ideal clients we choose to work with.  
 Because we really believe leadership is way beyond just the day job and we believe leadership matters greatly in the third act of life. And it’s no make wrong for anyone that’s done and they just want to go do whatever. But our niche is really working with highly productive learners who desire to continue to make a difference in a contribution beyond just themselves.  
Murs Tariq:Well, very good. So, yeah, I think I agree. And you said it earlier at the beginning that the idea, the notion of retiring and just kind of hanging out at the beach for years on end, I think that is not reality anymore for a lot of people once they do, and this is on a podcast, so I’m going to say “retire.” That whole construct is disappearing a little bit.  
Allan Milham:It is.  
Murs Tariq:And it’s all about, what am I going to do next and how am I going to be happy in my later years?  
Allan Milham:That’s right.  
Murs Tariq:For anyone that’s listening, Allan, and thank you again for joining us today, but for anyone that’s listening, if you could, if they’re interested, could you give them an idea as to how they could potentially learn more about Questage and also reach out to you?  
Allan Milham:Absolutely. And let me just say that, I think the word retire is going to fall off the universe. We originally call it high impact retirement and none said, “I don’t want to do that. That’s not for me, I’m not ever going to do that.” So, it’s more like pro-tire. And so, we have everything built right into Questage, questage.com. And there we have a very strong leadership track for leaders who are still in the workplace, diversity inclusion, women forums, and executive leadership coaching, as well as then high impact transitions. By clicking on that, they can go in, take the are you ready assessment, and the resources are all listed there to see if we might be able to be of support and benefit to them.  
Radon Stancil:Very nice. So, we’ll make sure that we include that on our website for this podcast, as well as in the show notes. And that way people can reach out to you if they choose to do so. But again, we’d like to say thank you so much for your time and coming and chatting with us and sharing with us some really nice ideas.  
Allan Milham:Thank you. Thanks for the important work you’re doing.