Retirement (Photo credit: 401K)
Lately I am in situations where people are either retiring, planning to retire relatively soon, or thinking about retirement. So I find myself coaching naturally before you know it. I can't help myself. Even tonight, one of my colleagues who is over 60 said, "I am scared to death about retirement."
My passion is helping baby boomers figure out what to do with the rest of their lives!
First, let me repeat, we are NOT retiring. We are moving on. The question is "to what" are we moving on to. We are going to be doing something for the next 25-30 years. So much of retirement planning has the focus on money. But once a person has "enough" money (whatever enough is to you), the hard part is what they call "lifestyle planning" or what kind of life do you want to plan.
We seem to plan the others parts of our lives: relationships, colleges, careers … and we don't take the time to plan this last phase of life. The time is now.
So what is the key? The key is to LET GO in order to move on. The key is to overcome our fear.
Fear of the unknown can be a seriously paralyze us. When we don't know where we are going, we hold on tighter to whatever we have. if we were on a swing, we would be holding on tighter to the ropes in fear that we might fall off.
Recently, I had a workshop from which I drew heavily on a great book by Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners titled: Don't Retire, Rewire: 5 Steps to Fulfilling Work. They use the word "rewire" as a way to remind us that it is important to think about where we might channel our gifts, talents, time, and energy in this next phase of life. Since we have 25-30 years of life to contribute, we need to be proactive in thinking about how to rewire. But when we embrace retirement or embrace making a change, then we are free to use our time in ways that allow us to continue to contribute. According to Sedlar and Miners, we can contribute in these ways:
- For me: use our time to learn new skills or talents or to do things that make us happy.
- For free: volunteer and give back to our community and family
- For fee: consult, teach lessons, get paid a fee for your services
- For wages: start an encore career–second career
Embracing this change is similar to embracing being bald. As one of my sons said, "When I start going bald (which is likely for all of them–bad family genes), I am going to embrace it and make the most of it."
People who own their own business can decide when they don't want to do it anymore. But for most of us, there is a time when we need to move on either for ourselves or for the benefit of others. Living in denial does not help us. Never planning for it and avoiding thinking or talking about it is not the answer either.
I have also concluded that the more control you have in the situation, the better you feel about it. From my own life experience, I can tell you that planning to leave and taking actions to help let go make the transition so much better. We leave on our own terms and as Meg Wheatley said recently "walk out and walk on" to continue to learn, to grow, to contribute.
When I dropped Meg Wheatley off at the airport, she reminded me, "There are easier ways to make money than what you are doing. But you are being called. You are following your calling. Everything else will work out." And the book I am reading now uses the metaphor: building the bridge as you walk on. That is what I am doing and it is giving me courage and inspiration.
What is holding you back?
What are you afraid of?
How can you overcome that fear?
How do you want to spend your time in this next 25-30 years?
I don't have answers, but I have options.