How to Use Your Professional Skills and Personal Passion to Achieve

By on October 21, 2015
how to use your professional skills and passion for retirement

By Anna Letitia Cook –

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… (Hebrews 12:1)

As part of my series on people’s thoughts, fears and hopes for their retirement (see Keys to a Healthier, Happier and More Fulfilling Retirement and From Organised Crime to a Peaceful Retirement) I interviewed Patrick Jézéquel (Jez to his friends) to see the evolution from before he left his job, to the reality of his choices over the last 4 or 5 years. To date he has dedicated his retirement to Le Marathon Vert (Green Marathon). Jez really does follow the spirit of the quote I cited from Hebrews, not only in his attitude but in his actions.

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ALC: How did you feel as you approached retirement?

Jez: As I got closer to retirement, my main feeling was that of being glad to move on, to do something different, an opportunity to spend time doing things that really interest me: sports, reading, culture, re-learn a language… 

ALC: Was you career spent in the public or private sector?

Jez: I worked in the public sector, in the Police service, criminal investigations, specializing in narcotics.

ALC: What ideas did you have about what you could do with your time after retirement began?

Jez: For a few months before my retirement began I started helping out in an association which was launching a new marathon in my town, Rennes, in the west of France.

ALC: Why did you choose to get involved in organizing running events and races?

Jez: I first started running at the age of 48, so quite late in life for a runner. Running quickly became a major passion for me, even more so than my other interests, literature, cinema and music. I had already taken part in several races, including marathons, and really appreciated all the help and support given by the volunteers and organisers. I quickly thought that I would like to give back, and reciprocate as best I could, for everything I have received from the volunteers in these races.

ALC: Why did you choose Le Marathon Vert (Green Marathon)?

Jez: I wanted to get involved in a race in my region. I was thinking about volunteering for the Mont St Michel marathon, when I read that Rennes, my city, was creating a new race, Le Marathon Vert. I registered as a volunteer straightaway. 

ALC: What do you find particularly rewarding about Le Marathon Vert?

Jez: Le Marathon Vert is involved in sustainable development. It is associated with Green Ethiopia and the Yves Rocher Foundation, who have worked for numerous years in the Tigré region in Ethiopia. Their nurseries (growing/replanting trees) support many families, and reforest the region. In fact, Le Marathon Vert contribution is 1 km ran = 1 tree planted! That is our undertaking – so 82,000 trees for the 2014 marathon and a goal of 300,000 for this year (2015).

ALC: You started by doing what in the organization and when? And you have risen to what position?

Jez: I started from the very first race in 2011. For this one, I was part of the logistics team that manages the installation of distance markers, inflatable arches every five kilometers, signs and sponsors’ banners.

– From the second year I was in charge of the logistics team.

– In the third year, as well as this, I also was responsible for the administrative organisation and security.

– In this, the fourth year, I am race director, overseeing the course, security administration, the command post, the technical meeting and anti-doping (you can see my previous career skills are very useful here – lol)!

ALC: So Le Marathon Vert is quite a new race and is already very successful? The marathon started with how many runners? And now there are how many people and at what level?

Jez: In 2011 we had 1000 Marathoners, in 2012 there were 1200. This year we will have between 2500 and 3000 Marathoners. In addition, we have a marathon relay with 600 teams of 5 people per team, a 7km women’s race with 1,200 competitors and a Nordic walk with several hundred walkers. So this year we will have over 7000 runners. Le Marathon Vert 2015 has the honour to be host for the French National Marathon Championship. Not only is this a great achievement by the wonderful team I work with, it also shows how much the love of running is growing by people of all ages, and most importantly, it shows people’s dedication to helping and supporting others. We are all delighted about the effect this year’s marathon and the national championship will have on our contribution to Ethiopia.

ALC: So to finish up, looking back on what you have done in your retirement, how do you feel about it? How has choosing to focus on one of your passions inspired you?

Jez: It was a great opportunity for me, I very much enjoyed meeting so many new people and I easily integrated with the teams of volunteers. I really have enjoyed learning many new and interesting skills as well as putting my previous experience to good use. Running and the world of running is one of my passions. I am not aware of how much time I give as it is so interesting and satisfying. For me it is a totally positive experience which, as well as being fulfilling, is also excellent both mentally and physically.

So there you are! Jez shows us an excellent way of repurposing existing professional skills and combining them with your passions to create a new, active and fulfilling life in your retirement. What a good example of ageing healthily, happily and youthfully! 

What can you do to follow his example?


More about Anna – Mum, ‘flattie’ owner, horse lover, ballet fanatic, hiker! Into castle renovations, sculpture, farming, yoga. Drinks tea… Bosslady @WomenUPGlobal You can also find her on facebook and LinkedIn. Read about the process she created – SCOPE for career fulfilment. Visit her websites http://WomenUP.Global and

About Anna Letitia Cook

Empowering women to discover what they truly want instead of being stuck in what they "should", Anna Letitia Cook is particularly passionate about mentoring women executives, and the 50+ sector, in finding clarity in their career choices to achieve freedom, fulfilment and leadership success. She created and became CEO of her first company in the entertainment industry at age 32. Midlife approaching, hungry for a dynamic change, she refocused her experience, founding WomenUP Ltd, focusing on the challenges of corporate gender balance strategy”. Creator of the process SCOPE for career, fulfilment and success, she is currently working on her first book ‘Liberate Your Career: The Women’s Guide to Freedom and Fulfilment’, with plans for a second, ‘Glass Ceiling Grans’, early next year. http://WomenUP.Global


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How to Use Your Professional Skills and Personal Passion to Achieve