Business Transition Planning in Midlife Creates the Life You Want to Live

Our founder, Elizabeth Ledoux, was interviewed by Bernie Borges, the host of The Midlife Fulfilled Podcast: your weekly guide to a more fulfilling life. Host Bernie Borges shares his journey and the journey of others in midlife who found joy and success by embracing fulfillment. Check out this podcast with Elizabeth Ledoux.

Episode Description:

In this episode of the Midlife Fulfilled podcast, Elizabeth Ledoux talks about her mission to help successful people transition from business ownership to live the life they want. Tap or click the play button below to listen to: Ep 62 Business Transition Planning in Midlife Creates the Life You Want to Live.

As CEO of The Transition Strategists, Elizabeth creates programs for business owners’ transitions to their next chapter to keep communities healthy by keeping businesses healthy, soccer games playing, money flowing, and relationships going. 

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Ep 62 Business Transition Planning in Midlife Creates the Life You Want to Live Transcript

When you’re thinking about a transition, I think it’s easy to think about it as an event. I’m here, one day, I’m not here. The next like it’s an event and I like the concept of shifting your thinking to making it a journey where you can walk through it, have communication, help people who are going to or dependent on you, to be able to do it with you and also help them to understand how to support you because you’re not alone in it. The transition is good for you, and it’s also good for others. And I think that that shift and thinking is very important, when you’re thinking about doing it, because there’s a lot of fear there and it’s one way to overcome that. 

Midlife is the best season of our lives, but often many of us like fulfillment in some area of our midlife. It doesn’t have to be that way. This podcast is a resource for midlifers to discover ways to find fulfillment and whatever area of life. You need it. I’m your host. Bernie Borges Join me on the midlife fulfill podcast a journey to make midlife the most fulfilling season of your life. 

Hello, my midlife friend. Welcome to Episode 62. This is Bernie Borges, your host of the midlife fulfill podcast. Hey, if you’re new to the pod, welcome to the team. You’re joining the team of people who embrace midlife as the longest and best phase of life where fulfillment joy and success are not just possible, but highly probable, regardless of where you are in your midlife season. This week’s guest is Elizabeth Ledoux, and this is a midlife maximum episode maximum episodes, feature an expert in one of the following topics, career fitness, health, relationships or legacy 

Elizabeth Ledoux is the founder and CEO of the Transition Strategists, which is an international consulting firm that creates business succession plans for family and private businesses. 

Elizabeth’s career spans over 30 years, She’s helped hundreds of business owners, navigate the complex dynamics that come with business shifts. She works with individuals and families, who share her belief that a business transition is only successful. If it protects and supports and owners. Most important relationships, Elizabeth is an entrepreneur, a thought leader, a sought after speaker, addressing the topics of business, succession planning challenges, and opportunities in private and family business, transition business and individual growth and the business succession journey The Harvard Business School has recognized Elizabeth for her work, linking the growth and development of the entrepreneur to company success. Elizabeth is also the host of the podcast Business Transition Roadmap and also the co-author of three books, including the award-winning, It’s a Journey, the must-have roadmap to successful succession planning. Now, you can probably guess this maximum episode featuring Elizabeth Ledoux falls, mostly in the category of legacy, But you decide As a reminder, I’ll publish my solo episode as episode 63 with my takeaways from this conversation, along with my challenge for you to consider whether or not your business owner. Here’s my conversation with Elizabeth Ledoux. 

Elizabeth welcome to the midlife fulfill podcast. Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. Excited to have you Elizabeth. I’m looking forward to an invigorating conversation and I know we’re going to have we’re going to talking in the green room about all the exciting stuff that you doing and, you know, my mission Elizabeth my mission is to rebrand the meeting of midlife. I want folks to know that midlife is not just the longest phase of our life but the best phase of our life. So I want to begin by asking you your mission but first, tell us, which age bracket are you in? Well, I’m excited to say that. I made it to 60. I just had my 60th birthday and yeah, it’s a great. I’m looking at 60 is being a wonderful time in my life. So 

Well, welcome to the club is a wonderful season. Happy birthday, by the way. So I want to begin our conversation with the mission question. Tell us what is your mission Elizabeth has a my mission is to help people who are successful to live the life that they want to live. And when I think about is successful person, that’s somebody who believes that by their own actions, they can create change, not only in their lives, but also in the lives around them. So years ago, I put together a program that helps people make transitions in their lives and we focus mainly on business types transitions because in my experience I’ve seen So many things happen when businesses don’t go well. So the idea is to keep our communities healthy and our country and in other countries as well. Mainly the United States is where we work and by keeping businesses healthy and relationships going, what I found is that businesses continue to provide jobs. People are continuing to enjoy their lives. Business owners tend to be very generous and feel anthropic and they take good care of people. So soccer games, keep going and donations and philanthropy continue. So that’s why I do what I do. And and how do you do that? I mean that’s sounds like a big mission. That’s sounds like a tall mountain. How do you do that? Yeah, it’s kind of a one to many model and I’ve been fortunate enough over the last few years to continue to grow and build our firm. And so we’ve got what we call Transition Guides that help owners and people who manage assets to move through a transition strategy. And by doing that. You know, if we touch one owner or when couple of partners by doing that, we’re able to have the ripple effect move all the way through the entire community. Because again, one business stays in business, it’s transferred successfully to a successor jobs continue. People continue to have families in lives and the money continues to flow through the community. You know, people in the community, they they were rely on those businesses. So you’ve got vendors, you’ve got people who use the business and who, who rely on the supply and then you’ve got all the people that work in it. So anyway, that’s it’s a one to many model and we like the idea that every every single one that we touch makes a difference for a lot of people. 

So have this this visual in my head, it was a bit of a kind of like a food chain of all kinds of businesses from the mom and pop grocery store. Maybe grocery stores not the right example because now they’re big. They’re national chains, but like the mama pops say dry cleaner. All the way to the, you know, thousand person company that maybe got started 30 years ago by the founder. And now there are thousand. People is that what you’re referring to? Like the community, just really being all of the above, all of the above. Yeah. Because the you know, years ago there was a statistic that I used to use in a talk and it I used to say, you know, there are nine million businesses that will transition from one generation to another in the next like 10 years of the time. And if each one of those businesses last one employee you would have nine million people who would lose their job, which is significant. So yes, so it’s the mom and pops, they actually are the backbone of our country. And you know, you in the grocery store concept in Fort Collins where I live, there’s a great little grocery store that’s privately held that just transitioned and it’s very small So they still exist. So I stand corrected, how? I don’t want to correct you. But but they’re, they’re amazing places all over our country in all of the small towns where it’s so easy for people to have a belief of, oh, well, just shut that down. You know, it’s not worth to very much and it’s gonna be a lot of work and nobody would want to take it over and nobody would want to buy it. And I can give you all a different reasons why people don’t transition their companies or their businesses where they’re wealth to others. And they’re so much that gets missed when something gets when it gets shut down. When it’s gone so many people get impacted. And it’s I will tell you that transitioning a business generationally to someone that you know or would like to find is not the easiest road. It though I think is one of the most important things that people can do is one as a successor, step up and believe in yourself. And as a person, transitioning, believe that you know, this could be the most important thing you do in your entire career is to help this business continue and continue serving the community. So how’s it done? Well, what’s a transition plan look like? I mean, I would I would I would speculate that it’s not one size fits all, it’s not, you know, but universal thing, but there’s probably some common elements in place, so, what’s involved? Yeah, so the there are, what we did is we built a structure and I’m a patrolling engineer by background. So, I’ve got this complete logical side to me. But I’m also very creative. And when I built the framework, the framework actually will hold any business and there’s six questions that are going to be answered by the time you leave your company. Me most people start with the how and the how much which usually when they do that they get lost completely. We like to start with the why and people’s why? There’s a lot of commonality in their why, you know, what do they want for themselves, what do they want for their spouses? Their family employees, successors the business, in general, the customer, the vendor. So you know, how do you take that and put that together and then if you have multiple owners, meshing, all of them together because everybody has their own. Why? So we come up with the, why behind the entire transition and then what do you have that? You would like to transition who who are your candidates? Who might even be interested or capable? Those are different questions and then the when And there are many wins people think of transition as an exit and at some point in time, there will be a final exit. There’ll be a final transaction of the equity, but there are a lot of winds as they go forward. You know, when do I want to start to think about it? When do I want to transition certain jobs? When do I want to work last? When do I want to not be working at all in the business? When do I want to transact it? Is it going to be in pieces or parts? Or is it going to be all at one time? So you’ll answer those six questions. 

With your why and then you’ll do the what the, who the wind that how in the how much. And as soon as you get an idea on those which some of them you may have no idea right now some of them you may know exactly what you want to do. So I think of a stoplight so green, I’ve got it yellow, pretty good red, no clue. Then what you do once you have that compass in your direction, you know what, you have to figure out, you start down that timeline and you can use, I mean that thinking you can use Even in personal transition because in order to make a transition as a person, if I’ve been doing something for 10 years or more to give it up, I need to have something that I like more in order to leave. And I have to have something that I go. Wow, I’ve loved this business. I’ve loved my job and I can’t wait to be able to do that. So I’m gonna teach somebody else how to do what I do so that I can go. 

That leads me to this question. We were talking before we started recording about the three phases of midlife, right? Pearly stage thirties, and forties many states fifties and sixties place days, 70s and 80s. Those are generalizations. But the round decades. How do those stages come into play on this whole topic of transition, in terms of, whether it’s the Y or the hour, the wind, What’s the impact of those stages? Yeah, so I was listening to your earlier podcast that came out just recently for your new year and and it made me think about the what’s been happening over the last 20 or 30 years that I’ve been doing this. So people are living longer they’re healthy, they’re engaged. And retirement just doesn’t retirement anymore. We think of it, as a next adventure. So what we’re seeing is that people are wanting to stay longer in their businesses or even in managing their assets, if they’re personal assets. And so people in their 70s and 80s are still engaged where the 50 and 60 year olds are wanting to be running it, right? And that even happens with the 30 and 40 year olds, they’re wanting to move up as well. So you have to be that in the 50, 60 range, you started transitioning and somebody else would take over and that was sort of the norm to have that happen. Now, what we’re seeing is that people are older and so the 70 and 80 year, olds are still active and the 50 and 60 year olds are pushing. And I’ve got a great story about that. It was a family that we got invited into to help with the transition and how we got invited, was it from the 50 and 60 year olds, trying to figure out how to get their dad to let them build and grow the company before they got too old to do it. 

Because they were ready and he was kind of like yeah, everything’s running just fine everybody and he was happy but the the kids probably got you know kids to 50 and 60 year old kids, right? Kids. Yeah, we could do so much with this and they were good. Yeah, they were so excited. So we’re just seeing more of that and it creates a tension and that one, it creates a tension in the family. But we also had another owner situation where the owner Didn’t he wasn’t ready to leave in the successor. Who wanted the business was ready to come in and the successor actually left. And said you’re never going to get out here. I’m out of here, any wind over and found another opportunity and went on. So people have an internal growth desire or growth need. And if you aren’t paying attention to that you actually can lose some your key people because they move on because you won’t. So you bring up an interesting. You. That story gave me a thought that that I want to share with you. So what if I’m in a business, I’m employed not in the family, I’m not in a succession line but are the things that I should be looking out for. You know, I may have been with the company. Five, 10 years, I generally like to company. And I know the owners. What should I be that looking out for which signs should I be aware of that? You know, there’s going to be a transition at some point and that it’ll be good or not. Yes. So a couple of things to keep in mind, is it depends on the age of your your age right in that scenario. If you have an owner and the person that you’re talking about is 10 years younger and the kids are 10 or 15 younger years younger than they are. You’re really important in the growth and succession of the kids because you they’ll listen to you if you choose to interact with them. And and that, you know, if you choose to make it that way, they’ll listen to you better than they will, their parents, their parents, and you would be in a growing helping to develop them. So that would be one thing that you could look for if you though, Want the ownership and know that you’re never going to get it? Then I think that you need to think about that. Because I’ve, and that has to do with just transition. In general, my personal life mission is to help successful people, right? Live the life that they want to live that great life. And I think sometimes you need to look in the mirror and say, what do I really want? And I think a lot of people don’t know, They don’t know what they want. And you know, I said earlier that it’s hard to make a change because if you’ve done something for a while in your good at it and you’re kind of safe in that spot, making the change to your next adventure that next adventure has to be so clear. And so good for you that you can’t wait to get there because you have to leave stuff behind. You have to move. So, and, you know, we talked a little bit earlier about our pathfinder program and that’s about creating and helping you to really define that next adventure because 

You can be a successful business owner and be terrified of not being not having purpose and fulfillment in without your business because it’s your identity. And you also can be a successor who is happy in their role hoping that some days. You’ll Be able to be that owner and get passed over. So, I think open transparent knowing what you want having the great conversations, they’re hard, but they are so valuable. 

Yeah, I on a previous episode, it was episode 45. It we talked about self-discovery and It made me. Become more aware Elizabeth about the fact that we all go through self-discovery, but Maybe more than once or twice, or even three times in our entire lifetime. And as we go through these midlife stages, sometimes we are resisting. The next self-discovery journey that’s in front of us, you said earlier, like oh everything’s fine, you know, it’s safe right? And we’re maybe it’s just time to discover that next step, that next phase that next thing, whatever that next thing is even if you’re in there, you’re 70s or 80s. I have a friend who’s 90 years old and he’s healthy and he just retired three years ago and he still keeps extremely busy. And I joke with him, I say you, you’re still a midlife or, you know, because the only thing after midlife is end of life and he’s not ill, you know, of course, no one knows when we’re gonna go, you know, but he’s 90 and healthy and active and intelligent. And so my point is that sometimes we resist that self-discovery. Do you encounter that? And you will line of work and other people you work with. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And our you know, are society and our experiences even in our own lives. Kind of what happens is you create mindsets or beliefs or feelings about how something is and and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken with people who say, I really don’t want to retire because you know what happens when you retire, right? Yeah, you’re no longer on this planet because statistics show and it has to do, I think with that self-purpose. So if you’re willing, if you’re afraid of something, I think you need to look at it and engage in it. If I’m afraid of retirement, let’s look at it. Let’s engage in it. What’s keeping you? From thinking that there’s something better than what you have today, not something worse because again, when you transition you leave something behind without any doubt. I was just on a call today. With the person who is navigating out of the day today aspects of their company and their business and we’re talking and he’s really struggling. He knows that he wants to do something different. Tired of doing. What he has been doing with the company. Started hiring the people to bring them in and again, transition actually creates opportunity for others, right? He’s hiring these people. He’s asking them to do more. He’s promoting people inside of his company and then he turns around and goes, but I’m terrified because I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I don’t know what I’m gonna fill my time. So the push is, I don’t want to do this anymore, but the he doesn’t have the pull he’s missing that. So we’re working. And what is that look like for him? What’s that gonna be? Because there is a next adventure. And so using that, that individual, as an example, one of the things that I am talking about in this podcast, is that when we find fulfillment, I don’t mean 100% fulfillment because I truly believe that that’s just on attainable for most people. Especially the older we get because our lives get more complex and just to be 100% profillage just as far as the irritating but but as we seek more fulfillment, I argue that fulfillment is a form of success. And if you dealing with people who have had success in a business and that’s how they define success and only by that definition, then maybe for this individual, it needs to be thinking about. Well, what’s the next chapter of fulfillment that can feel like it’s? It’s a success for him? Yes. Yeah, because the idea of fulfillment and people get so identified with their role, right? And I’ll you can play that as a business owner, where you have ownership in your leader and you can make decisions and create change and also take care of people. You know you can say yes you can go and you know yes I want you to do more so They get so identified with their role. That the it’s actually frightening to think about what’s next and in that fulfillment, that’s about purpose. And in my book it’s about transition, it’s called it’s a journey and I believe that any transition is a journey, it’s not an event. Or at least we hope it’s not right. We’ll all have that event someday in our lives, but maybe not right now. So I like this, it’s a journey concept because we’re able then to envision what our next steps are. And in the book, we use the Ikigai is a Japanese term and that means your reason for getting out of bed. So what’s your reason for getting out of bed every day? And we all need it, we all need that drive. And that excitement that says, man, I can’t wait to get up and get out of bed and get on with my day because it’s going to be amazing, where’s this? Oh my gosh, I don’t have anything to Job.Blah blah blah. And then you know, they really are dragging all day because we all have a purpose and we all have the opportunity, I think to be fulfilled. It’s just that there’s a little bit of work sometimes in finding it. 

Elizabeth. Give us a closing thought in this whole conversation, anyone out there listening who’s thinking about that, you know, transition or maybe there in a company where maybe this topic is come up with your closing thought. I think by closing thought that would be most important is when you’re thinking about a transition, I think it’s easy to think about it as an event. I’m here one day I’m not here. Like, it’s an event and I like the concept of shifting, your thinking to making it a journey where you can walk through it, have communication, help people who are going to, who are dependent on you, to be able to do what with you and also help them to understand how to support you because you’re not alone in it. The transition is good for you, and it’s also good for others. And I think that that shift in thinking is very important when you’re thinking about doing it, because there’s a lot of fear there and it’s one way to overcome that. 

Working people, learn more about you and everything you’ve got going on Elizabeth. Yeah, so my my website is, it’s plural so and there you can find out everything you need to know about us. You also will have the opportunity to contact us and we’ve got a nice little survey out there if you’d like to take that. So you can also check us out on LinkedIn. And I do a little bit of Facebook also. Okay. Well, my listener knows that all that would be linked up in his show notes and Elizabeth. I just want to thank you for joining me on this midlife maximum episode of the midlife fulfill podcast very enlightening. You’ve actually given me a lot to think about and no doubt the listener as well. So, thank you so much. Thank you, Bernie. I appreciate being here. 

I feel so calm after this conversation, Elizabeth has such a calming effect which is really great considering how intense this topic can be for many. I’m sure. Elizabeth has this calming effect on her clients as she’s guiding them through their business and like shifts. If you haven’t listened to one of my takeaway episodes, yet I started publishing them with episode 55. They drop on Wednesday mornings and they’re shorter than guest interviews. Usually, under 10 minutes, If you’re subscribed on a podcast player, any podcast player, they just shows up on your player on Wednesday mornings. If you’re not subscribed, be sure to just press the follow or subscribe button so that you don’t miss all future episodes. I want to thank Elizabeth Ledoux for sharing her expertise on transition strategies on this midlife maximum episode. Remember whether or not your business owner, this topic can be relevant to you. Now I’ll comment further on my solo takeaway episode on Episode 63. You can find all the links to Elizabeth Ledoux including her LinkedIn profile, her website and her podcast. In the show notes for this episode just scroll down or scroll, right? Depending on which player you’re listening on. 

Before I close out this episode, I want to give you an example of what I mean by immersive. Brain collaboration, You know, from previous episodes that I’m looking to partner with brands entered immersive way through. Meaningful storytelling that aligns with the brand. So if you work for a brand that offers products or services in one of these areas, career fitness health relationships or legacy. Here’s what immersive storytelling looks like. Imagine I interview someone whose life has been impacted by your brand’s products or services. Not in a promotional way. No, no, no in a storytelling way that is informative to you. The listener of the midlife, fulfill podcast as a listener, you learn something valuable from the story and the brain who sponsors the story has the affiliation with the story. The brand makes the story possible. The brain has the halo effect Here’s another way to think about this. I love commercials said no one ever well maybe except Super Bowl commercials with that except for Super Bowl commercials, nobody likes commercials. So my point is that immersive brain collaboration is not delivery of commercial messaging, it’s relevant meaningful storytelling storytelling that educates inspires or even entertains. So if you’re with a brand that wants to reach the midlife, fulfill podcast audience through meaningful storytelling and this sounds like something you’d like to explore. Get in touch with me. Scroll down to the show notes page, find my email address and get in touch. 

My next guest episode features, Tom Schreier on another midlife maximum episode. Tom is the founding director of the inspired leadership initiative at the University of Notre Dame. I’ll give you a short preview of my conversation with Tom Shire The inspired leadership initiative is what is known as encore education at an institution of higher learning in this case. Notre Dame. IOI, for short, is for people who have successfully ended a career in some vocation, a few examples, could be a teacher, a nurse, a lawyer, a dentist, a doctor accountant and athlete, any career. That was someone’s focus. And now they’ve ended it and they want to find new purpose, new direction for a new career chapter. It’s way more than career counseling. In fact, it’s not even that it’s called encore education for a reason. So be sure to tune into episodes 64 for this midlife maximum episode featuring Tom Schreier, the founding director of the inspired leadership initiative at the University of Notre Dame. My midlife friend, here we are again at the part of the episode where I remind you of two things if you’re still with me. Wow, I am humbled. I am grateful and I am honored and if you’re 80% fulfilled, you are doing great. I’ll see you on the next episode. 

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