UGG founder Brian Smith recollects on life as a boomerpreneur

Not all entrepreneurs are just beginning their professional careers. There is an entire generation of entrepreneurs who have put in years of work and are just now getting ready to try their hand at entrepreneurship. They are called “Boomerpreneurs” and they are fast becoming an integral part of our country’s entrepreneurial force.

Brian Smith, the man behind UGG boots, is one individual approaching the end of a traditional career who is not prepared to ride off into the sunset of retirement. As he approaches an age where many would consider retirement, Brian is more invested in work that fulfills him than ever before. He is the very definition of the “Boomerpreneur” mindset and I am very excited to share the below post on his thoughts about his life and career.

– Cindy

brian smith

I dreaded turning 60!

The feeling started shortly after my 59th birthday and, like a large pot of water on low heat, it was eleven months before things reached a boiling point.

In the weeks leading up to November 14th, I was totally preoccupied with figuring out how I could hide my birthday from my friends and slink away so the date could pass unannounced.

Finally, a week before, I decided that my thoughts were such an unhealthy obsession that I literally took a day off and decided to get to the bottom of why this was such a big deal.

I awoke early, went for a run on the beach, got home for breakfast and set my yoga mat out on the floor and began my stretching routing. I’ve always found yoga to be the quickest way to calm my mind and allow me to think of the bigger picture of my life.

While meditating, I prayed to be released from fear and asked for guidance and clear thinking. What I got in return was a revelation.

I started thinking about my youth in Australia. At that time, I believed it was mandatory for workers to retire at 55. I was vaguely aware that so many of my friend’s Dads quit their jobs and were given the obligatory gold watch with a speech testifying to their thirty or forty years of loyal service to the company…and they all died at 60.

Now this was statistically impossible, but that is not important. What was real for me was my impression that it was true.

After my meditation, I decided to go on-line and research longevity, and there was a mountain of data to review.

One thing kept coming up repeatedly: my generation is outliving my parents’ generation by about ten percent. Because my Dad was 91 and Mom was 88 at the time, the realization hit me that I am probably going to live past the century mark. (Dad passed away mentally alert at 97 and Mom is still loving her life at 98, albeit a little forgetful.)

But the next realization was a doozy!

“My God,” I thought. “That’s forty more years. I can’t be retired for a whole forty years! How boring!”

Then I had an even more illuminating realization.

“What was I doing forty years ago?”

I didn’t have much of a clue about life when I was twenty! I had only just moved out of home and was wide-eyed in my first accounting job and my thoughts were on my next surf and partying with friends after work on Fridays.

Slowly I began to replay my life to 59. I had been a chartered accountant for ten years, a sheepskin boot importer and distributor building the UGG Australia brand for seventeen years, and had invented a lightweight concrete that led me to the pre-cast concrete wall delivery business for another ten years.

Three careers behind me and how many more in front?

At least one.

I had no idea when I began writing my UGG story “The Birth of a Brand – Launching Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Soul”, that publishing a book and public speaking is a career. Using the theme from that book, which is “You Can’t Give Birth to Adults”, I find I am in the infancy of a completely new business and I’m in my mid-sixties. And I am enthusiastic about it!

There is a mass perception that from 50 onwards, you are left behind.

I like to think that the age of a person is found by looking in their eyes. The eyes reflect the spirit and, therefore, the true timelessness of the person. You can see dead eyes in a 30-year-old and a bright sparkle in a 90-year-old that truly determines their vitality.

The bodywork may be dusty, with a few dings and skin spots, but if the engine and vital functions are purring, you may not be through one half of your useful life. And I don’t mean just time-wise, but MEANING wise.

I look at a 60-year-old today who is nothing like the 60-year-old from my youth. Toned bodies and flexibility in my yoga classes; gray-haired fit people at the health food check-out lines; swimmers at the gym and walkers on the beach.

With the recent recession, and current economic uncertainties, the employment paradigm in the world has shifted. Lifetime jobs no longer exist. Millions of displaced and at-risk employees are wondering what’s next. Baby-boomers are being replaced in unprecedented numbers, yet they feel they still have time and energy to contribute but don’t know the steps to start out again on their own.

Even those boomers who have had successful careers and consider themselves comfortably well off are finding they just cannot play enough golf or do enough shopping to find happiness and fulfillment.

Society (and that includes ourselves) acts as if those over 50 are “over the hill”. These millions of people are lacking a positive image.


And what’s more, our motives are no longer to dominate and rule the material world, but to see how our efforts can create a legacy to aid the following generations, and ultimately the world.

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