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What Happens in the Shameless Third Act?

Introducing Act III, Scene I

(Casting You & Me in the Leading Roles) -

Here I am, a woman of a ‘Certain Age.’ What’s comes next?

Do you ever wonder this for yourself, whether you’re a ‘Certain Age’ or some other age?

I’m taking stock- I’ve had two successful careers, one as a Corporate Banker, Financial & Credit Analyst and Corporate Governance Advisor; the next as an Asset Management Director for a prominent NYC non-profit. I'm now eye-deep into a third as a Professional Coach, Leadership Advisor, Life & Business Strategist and Public Speaker.

The truth is, it's a bit terrifying. I’ve lived an ‘A-List,’ ‘A-Plan’ life in the city of my dreams long enough to call it my own and to bump into people I know in this city of 8.5 million nearly everywhere I go. I’ve raised two wonderful, intelligent, beautiful and healthy children who are now every bit as wonderful, intelligent, beautiful and healthy as they have ever been, trailblazing their passions, their careers and their young adult lives with the very type of energy I arrived in NYC with.

All of this banked (so to speak), and yet, I continue to be confronted about ‘What Comes Next?’

Many of my friends, acquaintances and business associates are dreaming of retirement some 10-20 years from now with visions of traveling, the golf course, reading those many, many books on the shelf and collecting their full monty of a pool of well-earned, well-deserved pension, 501K funds and social security benefits.

Here’s the thing: I am just not there. I you are there and are happy, I applaud you. If you are not, read on...

I’m at a stage of life full of wisdom and insight; in a field of dreams that lies between the hard-driving life of career-building and the escapist ideal of ‘Retirement.’ This is a risky, challenging, bold, scary, dynamic, mind-blowing, exhilarating, roller-coaster-ish, frightening yet courageous place to be. And, I am going to admit this out loud, It can actually be quite isolating and a bit lonely from time to time.

'What the hell am I doing here?' That question comes up for me quite a bit…

Yet, the word ‘retirement’, and its concept, just doesn’t fit me (or a good many of my clients) quite yet.


(Courtesy, Merriam-Webster)

§ The act of retiring, withdrawing, or leaving

§ The removal of something from service or use

§ Pullback, pullout, recession, retreat, withdrawal

Looking at these words and sampling a few of its synonyms, I know quite fiercely that there is NO WAY I’m withdrawing, leaving, retreating, pulling out, pulling back or being ‘removed from service’ any time soon.

So…here’s what’s next: I’m stepping boldly and shamelessly into my ‘Third Act.’ I’ve only just begun to put my greatest gifts to work. I’m as lustful and exhilarated by life as I ever have been. My professional coaching, speaking and leadership work with clients has me knowing that our need to align with Self, our voracious drive for growth, and the exploration of our expansive Human Potential call to us louder and more urgently than we have ever heard before.

I am excited to be on the cusp of the new; hungry to grow, Be, shift, expand and to approach, from a different wing, Life’s Big Stage.

And, I share all of this in a sense of service to you, who’s reading this and I imagine relating to it in some important way if you've gotten to this paragraph.

Here is what I want for YOU: Whatever your personal ‘Act’ or life stage, from young adult to post-retirement and in between, check in with yourself with naked honesty, full awareness, deep compassion and relentless hope about where you are. No doubt you are right here, right now, for a reason and for this very moment, you are exactly where you need to be.

Next, ask yourself these questions:

- ‘What wants to happen next?

- ‘Am I ‘riding things out’ until retirement (whatever my version of things are at your life stage) as an escapist fantasy?

- What’s my ‘Joy-Quotient’?

- Have I given up on The Now?

- Am I on the fast-track to burn-out?

- Am I settling for less than the dream that brought me here?

- What change or transformation is looking for me?

No matter your age, your Stage or your Act on this Big Stage called Life, know that your psyche, your Self and your soul are looking to YOU to be nurtured, groomed, loved and fully integrated.

Your Next Act awaits! I invite you to heed the call boldy and with courage embracing your allies and the support you need to be shamelessly happy and successful taking on the role! And, if I can support you in any way, you know where to reach me!


Maureen M. Knapp is a Professional Coach, Leadership Advisor, Life & Business Strategist and Public Speaker who supports individual clients and organizations in designing their Act III.

For more information, to schedule a Free Act III Evaluation or to find out more about customized professional services, contact Maureen at

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