The Last Two Years
Nearly two years ago, I remember someone telling me about a virus coming that was going to be serious. I waited and watched for a few weeks, and then one by one, all of my speaking engagements around the country were soon closed down. I also closed my clinic for a month. I remember having the thought then, "This will settle down in a month or two." (I could put a laughing emoji here...)
As it progressed, I saw how much time people were spending at home. I began to think that for folks closing in on retirement, this was a great opportunity to 'try on' some pieces of the retirement lifestyle, which folks don't often get to do. After some time, I was sure people were now getting clearer and more comfortable with their plan for a next chapter in life. I began thinking the call for retirement coaching would vanish. I was just plain wrong.
Hungry for a Reset
This past fall, my phone started ringing. While many people have found their way into a new routine , a number of folks also came to the realization that they want to plan for more than simply not working and having more leisure time. A number of factors have been at play in influencing this:
The Deeper Aim
I base my work with clients on building a foundation of structure, connection and meaning into retirement. While I am hearing about needing more of all three from clients, the frequency that I hear about wanting more purpose or meaning has really enlarged. Structure and connection are important building blocks to enable the pursuit of meaning.)
Once we get past the surface, I hear clients saying:
And finally, one added dimension a lot of folks (myself included) have gotten to in these last two years is a renewed appreciation for simplicity. I don't hear people wanting to cram their days full of activity or have to think about more complex matters.There's plenty of that around us. If you are currently building a plan for your retirement, the desire for simplicity may be another dimension to try on.
Questions for Your Own Reset
When I begin working with clients, each has goals, a timeline, and an agenda unique to them. I nearly always begin by using a set of exercises that focus on helping bridge the past with the future. With that bridge, each person can work on their specific path that emerges.
If you are at the stage of thinking through your next chapter and wanting to incorporate some depth, here are some questions for you to consider:
Take Your Time
If you find yourself yearning for more of a plan or something a little bit deeper, take some time and play with the above questions. Don't make that a one-day activity--take some days and weeks to sit with them. As you go about your days, ask yourself what part of you an interest or activity may quell--intellectual, physical, emotional, social, spiritual or some combination. Let the questions weave through your activities and conversations in the next weeks.
When some themes and ideas begin to emerge, start searching for resources where you can search out your interests and places to incorporate them in new ways in your life. That may involve classes, finding people you can interview or be in conversation with (who do you know that fascinates you?), websites that organize volunteer opportunities, or simply an internet search. Just getting clearer about what you want to focus on, you may be surprised what you stumble across or what just shows up.
I'm Happy to Help
If you want help to search, evaluate, or even someone to hold you accountable as you incorporate a plan for your life, consider working with a coach. I'd love to work with you or even do a fun workshop for you and your friends. If you have a hunger, know that there's more to life!
In Part 1 of this blog, I challenged you to stop and take a broader look at your life and your WDYWFY (What Do You Want For Yourself). I encouraged you to begin that process by taking a look at what matters most to you by identifying your top values. That process is important, not only to identify your top values, but also through realizing what isn’t in the top five. Sometimes we are spending a whole lot of time and energy on things that we later realize aren’t that important. If you’ve not had time to do that yet, here is the link where you can do that: https://www.think2perform.com/our-approach/values
Building from your values-based framework, reflect a bit and write goals for this year or this first or next part of your retirement. What do you want to have happen? I know, it’s almost February and that may feel a little like New Year’s stuff. Creating and getting clear about your goals is an important step to make your ideal life your real life! It gives your brain something to organize activity behind. Even if you can only come up with one goal you want to make happen for your life this year, go with it. I’m all for simple.
The Acid Test for Your Goals
You have likely learned about writing goals using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic/Relevant and Time-based) acronym. I encourage that, and let’s simplify that even further for use here by using an idea that I am borrowing from Doug Lennick, the CEO of think2perform:
When you think about turning your wants into goals, Doug advises applying this acid test to each goal:
Signs Along the Way
When I work with people on building what’s next, once their goals are set, I also ask them to put ‘markers’ alongside their goals. What fun things will you notice or encounter that will be evidence of moving in the direction of your goals? This is not a measurement, such as, “When I step on the scale, I will weigh 14 pounds less”. A marker happens out in the world as a result of your intention and effort, but isn’t the end goal. For example, “Someone will compliment me on how much healthier I look.” or “I will be asked to lead a retreat.”
I think of pairing markers with goals as push vs. pull. When we set a goal and work toward it, we are using effort and determination to push toward it. Markers are something we envision happening out in the future and simply show up along the way to provide evidence we’re heading in the right direction and are in alignment. They pull us forward. I think it is as important to envision out to the future and watch for those signals showing up as it is to do the work each day to make your goals happen.
Questions for You
As you arrive at your goals and markers for your year or your retirement, here are some questions to ponder:
Enjoy the gift of this year ahead of you. Taking time to think about what you want for yourself and what matters most to you, how you live in alignment, and what it will look like when you move in that new direction will help help you make meaningful use of this year in your life and in your retirement. That is my hope for you in your 2020.
Ruth Tongen helps people plan and live meaningful, fun and healthier retirements.