Whether you are already retired, thinking of retiring, or just taking a breath before what’s next, how well do you know who you are outside of your career? Do you have clarity about your purpose?
Part of my passion for this work has come from talking with people in my health care practice who have retired in the last few years. Many are doing everything they’ve always wanted to do: travel, participate in family activities, and pursue hobbies. Some are busy attending to health issues or surgeries they have put off.
I notice that a portion of these folks, often former business owners, C-suite and other successful executives or knowledge experts who were always in demand, talk of feeling insignificant or invisible after some time passes in retirement. I will commonly hear these folks say, “I don’t know where I fit any more or why it matters that I’m still on the planet.” The conversations turn to the past and who they used to be and how this is different. While they may keep a full calendar, they tell me about waking in the morning and wondering what the real reason is for getting out of bed that day. They are hungry for something to sink their teeth into.
In an earlier blog, I’ve talked about the relationship between purpose and good health as we age. The freedom of retirement brings new choices about where to spend our time and energy.
I recently saw a video featuring Wes Moore, a social entrepreneur and author of The Work. He posed the question, “How much of your identity do you find through your business card?”. He went on to clarify knowing your purpose, which is not the same as the work you do (but your work may involve it). Knowing and living that purpose should come through how you do everything.
In the new retirement, people are choosing to start a business, take on a project, get or reshape a job, or volunteer to help someone who is working in a space where they can express their purpose and passions. Some choose to regularly donate to a cause that is really important to them. I lean toward thinking there also needs to be a time investment with the donation from a purpose/health standpoint. That may simply involve promoting and telling others of the cause that matters.
There are endless ways to form meaningful connection and live on purpose. The important thing is that if you clearly know what your deeper purpose is, you can make choices to move toward it. If you don’t know, I’m happy to explore with you to help you identify it and find ways to move in that direction a day at a time. You can simply click this link to send a request: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions for self-reflection:
Ruth Tongen helps people plan and live meaningful, fun and healthier retirements.