As I complete the editing of the 50 Over 50 interviews, I keep finding wonderful moments that I had practically forgotten. This is from Connie Duckworth’s interview. Connie is the founder of ARZU. Here’s the advice she was given about retirement:
People gave me what is excellent advice, which I now give everyone who asks me about thinking thoughts on retirement– advice which I unfortunately didn’t follow. So now I really tell people, Please follow this advice. Don’t be like me. Don’t really sign up for things. You’ll get calls on lots of different things, but don’t do anything, commit to anything, for about 6 months because you need some time to decompress and to really figure out where your passion lies.
Going back to that advice, I forgot to say what the advice was that I got that I ignored. It was “Don’t sign up for anything for the first 6 months or so” because you get calls to do random kinds of things. And you look at your calendar and think, Gosh, I’ve been so scheduled for breakfast and lunch and dinner that sure, I could participate on this committee or participate in a fund-raiser 4 months from now. But what happens is, you look up 6 months forward and every single week I was committed to do something that I hadn’t necessarily thought through in a cohesive way. And then it takes another year to gracefully unwind out of those commitments. And so over time, I think very much about my portfolio of time and how I balance that portfolio between business activities, philanthropic activities and sort of family, friends and me activities.
Do as I say, not what I did?
So that’s the advice I give to people: Don’t commit like I did in the early days–wait and sort of decompress and let things sort of unwind. So, they all ended up in the right place. There was that interim period where I didn’t listen to good advice.
Connie didn’t listen and ended up creating ARZU:
So anyway, that’s how I got to Afghanistan and why I was particularly intrigued about this idea of figuring out how to employ women in Afghanistan and so, again, the nascent days of social entrepreneurship. And so I had no direct experience with Afghanistan, with international development, traditional practices, or with rugs—certainly not. And I now know quite a lot about all three, which has been this learning curve. And I have been able to develop through that, strong opinions about why international development practices are so off the mark and why as a country we waste billions of dollars when there is such need in the world. I knew nothing about this industry. And I knew nothing about the international development, sort of approach, standard operating procedures.
If you’d like to learn more about ARZU and see some of the most beautiful rugs in the world, go here.