"When you're doing 160 miles an hour around a track, it takes total concentration. You can't be thinking about anything else," says Phil Soucy, who started amateur stock-car racing about ten years ago.
At his day job, he's head of Modern Technology Solutions, a $32 million aviation-technology company. Soucy also serves on the board of New Hope Housing, the largest homeless shelter in Northern Virginia.
Now the former Air Force test pilot is plotting a retirement that includes more racing, a deeper involvement in charities, and more time with his family. "I want to develop interests that pull me away from my company," he says. "I can easily picture being 80 years old and still telling myself I can't retire because I'm too important."
Soucy's coach, Terry Schaefer, is on hand to make sure that doesn't happen. Schaefer has been guiding Soucy through a peer-coaching course called Vision Quest. Members of the group, all executives planning to retire, are required to write down their goals and the steps they'll take to get there.
"Two years from now I want to be at the office 50% of the time instead of 100%," says Soucy. The course, he says, helps him clarify his goals and develop a plan. "If somebody has notions that are unrealistic, Terry and the group will say, `Hey, wait a minute, how's that going to happen exactly?'"
Schaefer, whose background includes ten years as a geriatric social worker, says the key to a successful retirement is to figure out what will motivate you to get out of bed in the morning when you're not a high-powered executive anymore. "Whatever it is, it's already in you somewhere. My job is to help you bring it out and look at it."