Figure Out Your Next Step — In Paradise
By Richard Eisenberg
Thinking about taking your next avenue in midlife but uncertain exactly what that might be or how to do it? Interested in spending a little time in an exotic location? Can you spare $3,000?
If you answered "yes" to all three questions, you might want to apply for The Change School, a three-week program in four-star accommodations in Bali this fall.
Align Passions and Purpose
Founded by Grace Clapham and Solonia Teodros - two 31-year-old dynamo entrepreneurs based in Singapore who were childhood friends - The Change School aims to help people in transition "align their passions with purpose for maximum impact."
Or, as Teodros described the 21-day retreat: "Take time to invest in yourself and reset."
And, as Elizabeth (Eat, Pray, Love) Gilbert can tell you, there are worse places in the world to do it than on the beaches of exotic, spiritual Bali. Sorry, Javier Bardem, or a female equivalent, is not included in The Change School program.
Taking a U-Turn on Life's Road
Amanda Bigelow, of Brisbane, Australia, told me she signed up for last year's Change School, at 53, because she had had a chronic illness from working too hard ("my life was a train wreck") and needed "to do a U-Turn."
Since the program, the former environmentalist has become a holistic health coach for women around the world. "I went to The Change School with a sense of readiness," says Bigelow. "And it turned out to be perfect to do the U-Turn I was talking about. Today, I'm incredibly happy and healthy in every way."
The School's 3-Step Process
The 12 to 14 participants at this year's Change School (Oct. 1 to 21) will immerse themselves in a three-step process, one week per step:
Break Down: This is the deconstruction week where, the school's materials say, you "reconfigure your mindset and create the ideal space for the journey ahead." Adds Clapham about this part of the program: "A lot of times when you're reviewing yourself, you start seeing your fears and challenges. It can be quit daunting."
Break Through: This is a week of workshops, skill-sharing sessions, mentorship and inspirational talks that The Change School says are designed "to further develop yourself and your venture."
Take Action: The final week is about reconstruction. Using their new tools and skills, the participants work with program leaders to distill their next steps and design personalized action plans.
But The Change School will also give participants time to have fun and soak up the beauty of Bali: morning yoga and workout classes, surfing, learning Indonesian, shopping, and dining in local restaurants.
Who the School Is Looking For
To apply, go to The Change School's site and submit a bio; an idea or project you're working on or want to work on and 500 words explaining what you'd bring to the group of fellow students and what you hope to take away from the program. Then, you'll be interviewed via Skype.
Clapham and Teodros say they're looking for motivated, purpose-driven, creative thinkers and tinkerers from around the world who want to be change agents and are ready to commit to making a change in their own lives.
The school will intentionally choose adults of all ages. "There's an opportunity for learning from younger minds and from wiser minds," says Clapham. "We want a bit of friction - but good friction, so you'll see things in new ways."
Bigelow felt the wide age range was a big plus for her. "I learned a lot from the young people, especially about social media," she says.
The application deadline is September 10, but enrollees who sign up by July 31 get a $200 early bird discount off the $2,950 per-person price for a twin room ($4,000 for a queen room). Airfare isn't included; incidentally, it takes about 20 hours to fly to Bali from Los Angeles and 22 hours from New York City.
Last week, a Life Reimagined/USA TODAY survey found that nearly a third of pre-retirees (29 percent) plan to change careers in the next five years - primarily for less stress, more work-life balance and a chance to learn.
A few of them might want to begin taking that step by first saying "Bali, hi!" and enrolling in The Change School.