On Saturday, Randy and I were fortunate enough to attend the Herb Alpert & Lani Hall concert at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts. We had front-row seats, so we really got to enjoy it up-close and personal. Then, thanks to my friend, photographer Larry Rubino and his wife Lois, we were able to meet the couple after the show. It was truly an honor!
What’s so striking about this couple is their amazing energy level on-stage. He’s 74, and she’s in her 60s, and they perform as well as musicians half their age. You really get a sense that they just love music and being entertainers. They certainly don’t need to work and could easily be enjoying a slow-paced retirement life quite comfortably. As the former co-owner of A&M Records and the leader of the wildly popular 1960s group the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert has amassed a fortune. So, money is clearly not their motivator. However, they are out touring around the country, performing sold out shows and staying much more active than the vast majority of their peers.
Is it some wonder drug that keeps these two going strong? Doubtful. My guess is that their love for their work is their secret. Herb and Lani have had lifetime careers of doing exactly what they love to do. As I get older, I believe more and more that true happiness is contingent on having a passion for your work.
We all know individuals who have counted the days to retirement, putting in their time until they were free from the daily grind. This was certainly common for my parents’ generation. It made sense 30 years ago. Companies were loyal to employees. There were pensions and generous benefits, and it was commonplace to stay in one job for 20 or 30 years.
This just isn’t the case anymore. Companies use layoffs as strategic business moves. Benefits are slashed to reduce expenses with little regard for employees, and turnover is immense as very few workers feel that their employers are looking out after their best interest.
It all sounds dismal. Right? Well, maybe not. Without having the fall-back option of the long-term job, we have the opportunity to forge our own paths. This lack of job security is forcing a growing number of people to discover their true calling. Whether it be small business ownership, working for a non-profit, or becoming a contractor who works with many companies, there is happiness to be found in finding your own passion that gets you excited and motivated each and every day.
I can’t even grasp the idea of not working. I love writing and helping businesses. It’s my passion and what I do. Why would I close up shop just because I can collect a social security check? I’m thinking that Herb Alpert and Lani Hall aren’t heading to the retirement home anytime soon. They’re busy working and from all appearances having a great time every night on stage. I aspire to maintain their level of motivation and enthusiasm as I journey through my own life.
By the way, Herb’s wife was the lead singer for one of my favorite groups of all time – Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66. In fact, I think I have all of their albums, and still play them frequently. Yes, albums. We play vinyl on our turntable. Here’s a little video of Lani from over 40 years ago for your listening pleasure.