Sunset Assignments

Seeing elephants in the wild remains a huge privilege and capturing them in a photo is something special. On a recent trip to a game reserve, we were lucky enough to come across a very large lone elephant bull. The bull was in musth – meaning he was primed to mate, and as a result potentially very aggressive and dangerous. For this reason we made sure we stayed out of his way and out of his path. What made it even more special was that nature’s elements were just right allowing me to capture an extraordinary shot of the old bull as he ambled off into a beautiful early morning sunrise.

Purposefully using the variables around us such as the time of day, the light, objects and correct positioning one has all the ingredients for a great wildlife or landscape photo. Knowing that this is so, and knowing that natures variables can be used in different ways does not just happen – it takes time, effort and lots of practice with many hits and misses. When the photo is just right, magic happens.

I often hear of longer serving employees entering into their “sunset assignments”. Usually it refers to that last assignment or position before retirement. Personally I am not very fond of such a term as it sounds like the end is near and it is a fast track downhill from here. We spend many years in our careers, working hard and gaining a lot of life’s lessons. Some lessons teach us more than others. As we get older we get wiser. The reason for this is that we find ways to effectively apply our knowledge and learning, to our benefit.

Is this not an opportunity for us to make a conscious decision to reciprocate and give back to others? It is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. Additionally people entering into their “sunset assignment” should think about doing the following:

  • Put your experiences to good use – People at this point in their lives have put in a lot of practice and effort, and as such have gained a lot of experiences. Some things worked out well, others invariably not so well. Put your experiences to good use. Go do what you love doing, you have all the experiences you will ever need.
  •  Give back – Now it the time to give back – to yourself, your community and the younger generation. Mentorship and coaching are incredibly rewarding tools to help others on their way.
  •  Stay active – Staying active means active for body, mind and soul. It means never stop reading and finding new things to study. Keeping yourself physically active provides energy and longevity.

Like the photo of the elephant, how great would it be if the “sunset assignment” could be turned into a “sunrise assignment”? Looking at this time in your life as a new beginning, rather than the end of a chapter. Set yourself up on a path of huge opportunity and rewarding work. You will never regret this. After all, this evening’s sunset is tomorrow’s sunrise.