January 4, 2011 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
“What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”
That’s not a question asked or answered lightly.
Retirement is possibly the only life stage you plan and direct on your own. There are no clear expectations with ladders to climb and salary levels to achieve. There’s no one telling you how it ought to be; how it used to be; or how it’s going to be. The models you have are a scattered sampling of senior family members and former associates who didsomething in retirement. Did it work? Would it work for you?
“Where do I want retirement to take me?”
If you want retirement to “take you someplace”, you may be in for an unsettling trip. It won’t take you anywhere. It will leave you where you are.
You’re in charge of what happens next. Step back and examine your current situation. Where do you want to go? If you’re not sure, you may not be ready to retire. Here are some questions to get your thinking in gear:
What will end when you retire and are you prepared to let it go? Some examples:
Are you prepared to let go of a dependable income with benefits that you’ve grown accustomed to; a structured lifestyle of expectations and deadlines to meet; a community of colleagues who you know and know you, an identity that you can count on, that defines your purpose and perhaps your sense of self worth?
What will begin once you retire? Examples: Time. More time than you’ve had in years. Time to do whatever you choose at whatever time you choose to do it. Anonymity. Freedom. Sleep. Possibilities. Endless possibilities.
What do you need? A strategy that addresses the expanse of time that lies ahead. A plan that covers more than the six months it takes to complete the projects you want to do; a plan that is more than a filler between playing golf and sleeping, and fishing and sleeping, and sleeping and sleeping.
Everything is created twice. You conceptualize something before you do it.
That’s the Carpenter’s Rule: Measure twice. Cut once. Now’s the time to plan for what can be the best time of your life by asking some big questions:
What do you care about most?
Who do you care about most?
How do you want to remember the life that you’ve lived?
How do you want to be remembered by those you care about most?
Once you’ve identified what’s really important, you’re open to pathways that enable you to respond to those questions.
This discussion might sound more altruistic than you can stand. You may have already dedicated your most productive years to taking care of others while working hard to just provide the basics. You may want to take some time for yourself. And you want to enjoy taking it, without guilt. You want to keep it simple because you’ve had enough complexity to last a lifetime. You can do that.
There are four dimensions to the human condition: emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual. Fulfilling any one of these areas can sustain and even increase your capacity to be creative and productive. The more you expand each dimension, the more capable you are of doing more and feeling better doing it.
Emotional fulfillment can come from keeping and maintaining positive relationships with family and friends; exploring and building new friendships; and getting involved in acts of service to the community.
Physical fulfillment can draw from an exercise, diet, and sleep regimen that promotes health and fitness while providing a positive release for stress.
Spiritual fulfillment can come from observation and appreciation of nature, involvement in the arts, observance of edifying religious practice.
Intellectual fulfillment can be derived from reading, travel, listening to music, independent or classroom study, writing.
Design your future. Take time in your creation. Measure twice. Then live fully.
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Yes! You may use this article by Executive and Career Coach, Joyce Richman, in your blog, article in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you include the following bio box:
Joyce Richman (www.richmanresources.com) has been specializing in executive and career coaching since she started her own practice in 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce is a weekly guest on WFMY-TV and the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at TheCoachingAssociation.com.
November 30, 2010 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
“I can’t help but wonder what he’ll do once he isn’t working here anymore. This place seems to be his whole life; what happens when it isn’t?”
I bet you know him. He comes to work early and stays late. He’s known as a company man. He’s dedicated, loyal, with a work ethic that challenges the most diligent. His only fear is failing health even though he’s never had a sick day. (He’s never had a day that he stayed out sick. He’s had several sick days.)
His children have grown up without him. He tries not to think about that. They speak of him with respect but without warmth. They don’t really know him. They ask their mother if she does.
“No,” she says, “not really. But he’s always been a provider, and he’s respectful.” She says it could have been worse. She’s known of worse. She’ll take what she gets. What good would it do not to?
He’s starting to think about retiring. Not that he wants to, but he’s starting to lose his edge. He’s slower than he was, more forgetful, less enthusiastic. It takes energy to be enthusiastic. He’d rather save his energy for the nights that he works late, even if he no longer has to, or wants to.
Retirement. The word makes him tired. There’s nothing that he wants to do in retirement but maybe sleep. But he gets to sleep on weekends and still wakes up early. What does that leave? A lot of nothing. And nobody to do it with. His kids are grown and haven’t talked to him about anything important in years. Maybe never. They’re nice kids. Good kids. Kids with their own kids. But they all stay away.
His wife’s been a good sport. A good mother. She’s never demanded much. She’s stayed loyal. But they don’t have anything to talk about. What does he care about her garden or her garden club or her garden club friends? He’s never met her friends. At least he doesn’t remember meeting them. Maybe he did once, at one of the kid’s weddings. He doesn’t remember.
Volunteer. Someone at work told him that he would make a good volunteer. He doesn’t want to be some old coot who’s taking care of other old coots. That’s for somebody else.
What is he going to do when no one at work wants him anymore? He’ll have to be. And he doesn’t know how to just “be”.
If this all sounds like I’ve been watching you, I have. And I can tell you, you’re not alone, but there’s not much comfort in that, is there? The good news is, you still have time to figure this one out. Use your time wisely.
Where should you start?
Your family. Reconnect now. You want them to welcome you home. You want to have a place with them, and a part to play. You want to be as vital to them as they are to you. You’ll want to be a wise listener; an empowering husband and father. You’ll want to learn about their life’s lessons, their struggles, and their successes.
Take your time and stay the course. It won’t happen overnight. You worked your way out of their lives, you’ll have to earn your way back, one day at a time.
Your community. Take your time and learn where you can contribute most. When you combine who you are, with what you do, and where that combination is needed most, you will have a match that gives more to each than either will gain alone.
Your mind and your soul. When is the last time you read a book for no reason other than it told a great story? If it’s been a long time (or you’ve never been a reader) you’re in for quite a surprise. There’s a world of information waiting for you. Turn off the computer and experience learning where other people go to learn. Go to the library, go back to school, go to a play, go to concert, go to a parade.
Take care of your heart, your head and your feet. If you’ve avoided check-ups rather than have doctors tell you to slow down, check-in. Tell them you’re ready to listen. And if they say it’s OK, lace up your walking shoes and head outside. Go to the park because it’s there. Walk alongside babies in strollers, and dogs on leashes. Wave at children on swings and families on cookouts.
There’s an extraordinary world out there just waiting for your visit. But don’t wait until you retire.
You have time to figure it out, if you’ll start right now.
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Yes! You may use this article in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you include the following bio box:
Joyce Richman (www.richmanresources.com) has been specializing in executive and career coaching since 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce is a weekly guest on WFMY-TV and the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts conducted seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at TheCoachingAssociation.com.