S4-EP3: Richard Leider on Living Your Purpose Rather Than “Finding” It

Nov 5, 2021


Debbie Weil talks with Richard Leider about aging with purpose, the fallacy of “finding” your purpose, and how to practice daily.



Today, Debbie talks with Richard Leider about aging with purpose, the fallacy of “finding” your purpose, and how to practice daily.

 Richard is considered a pioneer of the global purpose movement. Yes, the “purpose movement” is a thing. The topic of  finding meaning and purpose has come up repeatedly on this podcast.  It’s key to a life well-lived, we’ve been told. But how DO you live a life of purpose? Are there any shortcuts or secrets? That’s what Debbie wanted to find out from Richard.

Richard Leider is the author of 11 books, many of which have been bestsellers, and recently co-authored the book “Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old? The Path of Purposeful Aging.” He’s very much on the right path for himself. At 77, he’s working, writing, and still, happily, honing his own purpose. 

Together, they talk about the idea of purpose in elder hood, and why it is crucial to longevity. They discuss purpose as a verb: it’s not something you find but it’s something you “do” via purposeful living. Richard shares his story of a profound encounter with author and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl in 1968 and how that unlocked his lifelong fascination with purpose.

They also get into what he calls in his book the Ultimate Conversation – the one about death that you should have with your family but also with yourself. 

And Richard shares what he does everyday to practice being purposeful. This might be the secret, if there is one. This is a great conversation with a man who is truly living what he talks and writes about.


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Thanks to our media partners

Encore.org, our newest media partner, is an ideas and innovation hub tapping the talent of those 50+ as a force for good. Founder and CEO Marc Freedman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and author, most recently, of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. Looking for a great gap-year transition program? Check out Encore Fellowships, which match skilled, seasoned professionals with social-sector organizations in high-impact, paid assignments.


Modern Elder Academy is a program dedicated to navigating mid-life transitions. MEA, based in Baja California, Mexico, provides the place and the tools to start reframing your lifetime of experience. Grow whole, not old. Founder Chip Conley is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning hospitality entrepreneur and a rock star of the mid-life transition movement. His newest book is Wisdom @ Work: the Making of a Modern Elder.


Next For Me is an important new resource for the 50+ crowd focused on rewriting life. Taking a gap year or timeout may be the best way to figure out "what's next" when you're in this stage of life. Founder Jeff Tidwell explains, Next For Me "connects and inspires our generation to evolve our post-50 lives through new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution."