Category Archives: RENEWAL AND TRANSFORMATION

MASTERING GOALS: TOP TIPS

Following is a short list of common hints of wisdom for goal (target) achievement:

  •  Write down your goals (along with your Purpose Statement) and carry them with you.
  • Be precise in setting your goals; know exactly what you want and how you will get  there.
  •  Don’t allow the difficulty of the task to prevent you from beginning; just get started, see where you are and keep your perspectives clear.
  •  Break up your long-term goals into shorter ones; this will keep you motivated as you  progress.
  •  Keep your eye on the bull’s eye of your target, not the wall behind it.
  •  Learn to delegate; elicit the help of others to assist you along the way.
  •  Set your priorities; there is a logical sequence to getting anything accomplished.
  •  Keep attentive and focused; don’t let distractions send you into new directions.
  •  Practice mentally rehearsing what it will feel like when you have accomplished your tasks.
  •  When encountering difficult obstacles, back off and consider other avenues to your destination.
  •  Analyze the feedback of your interim progress toward a goal; Learn from your achievements.
  •  Keep an inventory of your skills, talents and resources; Upgrade them continuously.
  •  Congratulate and reward yourself for incremental successes along the way.
  •  Become a master list maker; Keep organized and enjoy checking off things you have done.
  •  Understand the mechanics of planning and the proper execution of your plans.
  • Combine tasks whenever possible; Try to kill two birds with one stone to economize your efforts.
  •  Recognize your biorhythms for efficiency; know your best time of the day to be productive.
  •  Work smart, not hard; don’t think of quantity of effort, think of quality of effort.
  •  Never procrastinate without a valid and unavoidable reason.
  •  Secure a mentor, partner or coach to support your progress and to be accountable to.
  •  Keep a sense of humor; Laugh at yourself when you stumble and quickly get on your feet again.
  •  Remember that your Purpose is behind everything that you do.

YOUR ENCORE YEARS

 

TWO MORE DOGSIt’s Time to Rethink Retirement!

I was amused by a lady entering retirement who described the rest of her life as being on her next to last dog. In her mind, her life expectancy was measured by the time two more dogs would come into her life and then die.  I suppose she was thinking she had another 24 – 30 years left, still a long time to spend taking care of her next two dogs . . . but unfortunately, she had no other plans for making her encore years as fulfilling as possible.

Many baby boomers regard their “second adult life” with similar resignation.  Their best hope for this life stage is that things will automatically work out  –  maybe have time left to own a couple of dogs, play some golf and possibly volunteer at something meaningful.  However, after the day finally arrives their new reality soon becomes a much different experience.

Financial issues, caregiving for a parent, health limitations or a feeling of insignificance often takes center stage,  quickly crowding out what had been expected.  Also, changing social circles and the absence of daily routines from a work career soon leaves many retirees bored, frustrated and/or feeling that life has lost its purpose.

As a “retiree” myself, I can certainly relate to the realities of going from a fully engaged work life to one requiring me to transform to new ways of thinking and living.  Once the honeymoon period of no routines or responsibilities wore off, I quickly found myself searching for new retirement options.  Fortunately, I did discover my renewed purpose and I’m now living the dream that I didn’t think was possible.

In fact, the word “retirement”  should no longer belong in our vocabulary. And instead of our lives going “to the dogs,” let’s look forward to the most exciting, purposeful and rewarding years still to come.

 

STUCK IN A RUT?

Feeling uninspired . . . stuck in a rut . . . that your life seems to be going nowhere?

If that resonates with you, chances are  a.) You don’t really know what you want, or b.) It’s not important enough for you to do anything about it.

Let’s tackle the first point: You must know what you really want.  If you don’t have a clue, then you are saying you don’t value anything. However, few of us would admit to that.  If you value your life at all then there must be a few things that are very important to you. Values are your highest needs for self-fulfillment – your hopes, aspirations and expectations. Take some time to think about them and make a list. If you become emotional about them, then you are on the right track.

On the second point: Decide if it’s important enough to take action.  What you most value or aspire to will never happen unless you take the initiative to make it happen. This is such common sense it’s amazing how many of us don’t recognize this. Life owes us nothing. We have to take ownership of it or it will turn out no better than what we put into it.  it’s really your choice: either live it to the fullest or waste it away.

So why is it so easy to get sidetracked to doing what is most important? Why do we so often find ourselves stuck in the ditch with no way to get back out of it?  There are many reasons but here are some key ones to reflect upon and consider changing in your life:

  1. YOU DON’T HAVE A PLAN:  Once you decide what is most important and where you want to go, you need a roadmap to follow. Living in the present is good, but only after deciding what you want your “future-presents” to look and feel like. Create a path to follow and stay on it.
  2. YOU’RE STILL WAITING FOR TOMORROW:  Again, there is no time like the present. This is when things happen. Procrastination kills the spirit and derails motivation. If you say you will do something when the timing is right then you will never do it. There are always excuses but the bottom line is they will never get resolved to your satisfaction. If you wait for the perfect timing, then you will always be waiting – never doing.
  3. YOU LIKE BEING IN THE COMFORT ZONE: Taking action means change. And if you don’t like change then you will never move forward. You might feel that what you are giving up is a loss, but that is where you have growth and positive self-renewal. It may seem difficult at first to give up your comfort zone but once you move forward you will not miss what you left behind.
  4. YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN YOURSELF:  This is self-sabotage at the extreme. If you don’t believe that you have the right or the worthiness to design and live your own life, then someone else will do it for you. In fact, if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will either. Negative self-talk is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Having no confidence leads to failure, but a positive self-belief will lead to success. Whatever you say to yourself creates that reality. You are free to choose either so choose wisely.
  5. YOU HAVE THE WRONG INFLUENCES: Look around and see who is impacting or affecting your life.  Are you hanging out with the wrong people? Are they pulling you down or draining your life energy?  If your circle of friends has low expectations, you will subconsciously adopt their attitudes and beliefs. You must find better role models or consider a mentor that you respect. Most successful persons will state that modeling themselves after someone they really admired made all the difference in their own life achievements.
  6. YOU MISTAKE “BUSYNESS” FOR PRODUCTIVITY:  The proverbial treadmill requires effort but goes nowhere. In today’s fast-paced world, we deceive ourselves by working longer and harder but often find it leads to more stress and little else. When we only respond to our daily urgencies, we seldom find we did what was most important. Ask yourself if you’re just going in circles or are you spending quality time supporting what you most value. This is also the key to life balance – move away from meaningless activities and move toward those that are more rewarding.
  7. YOU’RE NOT RESPECTING YOURSELF:  Are you spending countless hours in front of a TV or at a computer monitor surfing the web or playing video games?  Are you ignoring sleep, exercise and healthy eating habits? Are you mindlessly going through the same daily routines without any regard to improving yourself? If so, you are disrespecting your talents, your mind and your potential. At some point, you will look in the mirror and not even recognize who you are. Decide now if you want to reach old age and regret the missed opportunities you could have made for yourself.
  8. YOU HAVE NO PASSION:  At some point, you must ask yourself what you are passionate about.  And once you discover your passion, you will know your purpose. Dig deep to discover what stirs your soul. Life is not meant to be lived on the sidelines so acknowledge what really lights your fire and begin to live it.  While you may have buried your passions deep inside you, they are still there. You are free to bring them forth again.   

Make today a new beginning. You don’t need to remain in the rut or feel resentful about how your life is going.  It’s all about the attitude you adopt and your willingness to make changes. Your only obstacle is your own mind. Think differently and you will begin to change your life.

THE HIGHER LIFE – 25 PRINCIPLES

Live Higher 11x14 jpgLife mastery is not difficult once we believe in its possibility and also desire to achieve it. Following are my top 25 principles for living a higher life and I hope you find them to be a helpful guide:

  1. Worry Less – Laugh More

  2. Sit Less – Move More

  3. Analyze Less – Feel More

  4. Text Less – Talk More

  5. Work Less – Volunteer More

  6. Complicate Less – Simplify More

  7. Rest Less – Sleep More

  8. Conceal Less – Discover More

  9. Discriminate Less – Understand More

  10. Complain Less – Appreciate More

  11. Consume Less – Give More

  12. Waste Less – Save More

  13. Think Less – Act More

  14. Abuse Less – Support More

  15. Eat Less – Taste More

  16. Critique Less – Love More

  17. Follow Less – Lead More

  18. Amuse Less – Learn More

  19. Blame Less – Value More

  20. Control Less – Flow More

  21. Doubt Less -Trust More

  22. Hesitate Less – Risk More

  23. Watch Less – Read More

  24. Resist Less – Accept More

  25. Plead Less – Pray More

EMBRACE YOUR VITALITY

According to Dr. Richard Johnson, the founder of Retirement Options, there are ten descriptors of retirees who live life with vitality:

1. Has a high self-regard: They seem to think favorable about themselves even in the face of trial and tribulation. They harbor an internal sense of “all rightness” at their core that appears undisturbed by outside pressures. Certainly they can become upset and irritable at times, but they regain composure rather quickly and emerge without damage to their self.

2. Value their physical health: They monitor their body and are aware of its needs. They are kind to their body in the sense that they don’t overtax it, they give it proper rest, grooming, exercise, medical attention, etc. They have realistic expectations about what is appropriate for them at their stage of life.

3. Have a high sense of personal worth: They see themselves as valuable; they recognize their accomplishments as successes, and can easily understand how useful their work is to the overall project. They enjoy a high sense of utility; they believe that what they are doing is worthwhile.

4. Have faith in themselves: They understand at deep levels that they are capable, resourceful, and enduring. They enjoy an appropriate sense of personal confidence, which is seldom, if ever, overstated. They seem to possess an aura of stability and security.

5. Expect success: They have a hard time believing in failure. What other people might call failure, they seem to recognize as just another learning experience. They expect good things to happen right from the outset of a project or task.

6. Enjoy productive and supportive relationships: Perhaps because of their internal confidence, they enjoy people. They don’t fear that they will be unfairly criticized, and if someone does become upset with them, they can handle the situation with appropriate social skill.

7. Take optimal care of their body: They like the feeling of knowing that they are doing what is necessary to keep the marvelous machine of their body in top running condition. They feed it correctly, get proper rest, maintain a regular exercise program, and perform other health maintenance and promotion activities, which allow them to perform maximally.

8. Engage in stress reduction techniques: Whether it’s regular exercise, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, a power nap, prayer, soothing music, appropriate “self-talk,” or any of a number of other stress reduction techniques; they know several and use them regularly.

9. Take good care of all their gifts: They know their gifts and talents as an individual, and maintain an active interest in the development and growth of their talents. They seem to appreciate what they have been given and are not particularly envious of the talents and gifts of others.

10. Make continuous adjustments to their attitudes and behaviors: They seem to know innately that their attitudes are the bedrock of their personality and that they need to keep on top of which ones need modification and in what ways these modifications can be made. Attitudes can become antiques, useful yesterday, but quite out of function today. Sometimes we neglect to trade-in our antique attitudes for newer, more functional models.

 

 

 

TO WHERE SHOULD I RETIRE?

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Knowing when to retire is a challenge in itself, but deciding where you want to live in your encore years can be equally perplexing.  One option is to stay right where you are (known as “aging in place”), but keep in mind your present home could become a financial burden in the distant future. Also, your current accommodations may need some structural changes if mobility ever becomes an issue.

Relocation always seems like an attractive option but this too will require some deep analysis. Are you wanting to be near your grandchildren, aging parents or your own children?  Or do you simply want to run away to the mountains, to warm beaches or even to an urban center with lots of cultural and entertainment choices. For some, a second home could prove to be a good interim choice allowing more time to check out the area before making the final leap.

Obviously, one size does not fit all – both financially and emotionally. It is imperative, however, that you and your spouse are on the same page and that you also have some discussions with friends and family before making any major decisions. Even the location and quality of medical services needs to be factored into the relocation equation.

Knowledge is king if you are seriously planning a move in retirement.  Fortunately, abundant information can be found on the websites of US News and World Report, Forbes, AARP, Kiplinger and Money Magazine.  They all provide reports covering  topics as diverse as:  Bargain Places to Live, Best Places for Military Vets, Best Towns for Wine Lovers, Places with the Youngest & Oldest Populations, Terrific Towns for Second Careers,  Sunniest Places to Retire, Most Affordable Mountain Towns, etc.  Again, doing your homework beforehand will make a huge difference in choosing the place that ideally matches your real needs and desires.

If you become stuck on this issue, please contact me to explore your options in more detail. As a retirement specialist, I have a plethora of information and data resources for you to consider.  My probing questions and helpful exercises will be very beneficial, giving you the clarity you need before making this important decision.

 

 

 

HAVING NO REGRETS

I think most of us can recall FDR’s famous quote “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But his less well known quote is “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

This resonates with me because coaching new retirees always involves hearing about their “doubts of today.” And sadly, these fears and uncertainties will often lead to their “regrets of tomorrow.” If, however,  they could overcome their present doubts they would likely find their future lives to be much more fulfilled.

Most of us would agree that at the end of our life we’d like to go back and re-do a few things that could have been changed – maybe spend less time at the office to make more time for ourselves and our families, taken our studies more seriously, made better career choices, etc.

And while these are important considerations, these are not the main reflections of those at the end of their lives. According to palliative expert Bonnie Ware, the top five regrets of the dying are:

1. I wish I’d lived a life true to myself,  not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

And I’d like to add that Nadine Stair on her 84th birthday said, “I wish I had waded in more mud puddles”.

Living with no regrets places the responsibility upon us, not just to decide what we want out of life but to then go and live it. Since we have a finite timetable for life, why not decide today what risks we are willing to take and then begin the process of taking them. Why not reframe our current fears and self-doubts into a more positive and optimistic outlook for the future.

So will we answer this question for ourselves, or will we let others answer it for us? Will we act out of fear or out of courage? If we decide to go for it, what will It be? What do we want the rest of our life to look and feel like?

Now would be a good time to answer these questions.  The choice is ours . . . to be able to look back one day at our life without any regrets at all!

THE NEW RETIREMENT

CertifiedRetirementCoach_Logo72DPI - GIFAccording to Dr. Richard Johnson, the leading authority on retirement options, “the “new retirement” is not an ending, it’s a new beginning, the start of a new life of vastly expanded proportions.”

Unfortunately, a large number of the 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day still view retirement as the end of their personal growth.  They may then find their remaining years drifting into boredom, low self-esteem, limited social interactions, and a feeling of lost purpose.

However, there is an equally large number of baby boomers who sense this is the best time to live their dream, to make new self-directed choices to grow, prosper and make significant contributions to society.  In essence, they will choose to finally live their purpose.

Which group you will fall in depends on your attitude, your pre-retirement preparations and your perceptions of future opportunities. Your retirement success is within your own control but it will take some deep introspections and self-awareness training.

A certified retirement coach can provide you the detailed assessment of the factors that will shape your retirement satisfaction.  This coach will help you discover your options for life fulfillment in your encore years.  Since your “second adult life” could last 30-40 years, working with a certified retirement coach today would be time well spent.

Contact me today to learn more . . .

 

DESIGN YOUR OWN LIFE

Time Out jpg

Most of us avoid the task of life planning because we feel that it is  not in our control, that our environment has more control over us than we have over it. Or we feel that it may involve risks, risks that could lead to disappointment or failure. Or we’d rather not ask the tough questions because we don’t welcome a forced analysis of our lives.

No doubt, this is a difficult process. But unfortunately, if we don’t plan to live our own life, then somebody else or our external environment will do it for us. We should ask ourselves if our life is something we want to give up so easily. We must revere the sanctity of our life and vigorously protect the right to plan our future as we choose.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. It will go on, with or without us. We do have the choice to make it as meaningful and as purposeful as we choose it to be. Planning our lives and then living our lives according to that plan should not be an option. We really have no other choice if we want to realize the life that we deserve and expect.  Let’s take some time to make that happen.

 

CREATING A NEW REALITY

Expressions-11All of life transformation and self-renewal is embodied in the process of relieving the tension between the reality we have now and the reality we aspire to. For instance, if we are overweight, we feel the tension between our current self-image and a projected self-image. If we are not happy in our job or career, our anxiety tells us that something needs to be done about it. If we are feeling tired and physically unfit, we sense the need to exercise, sleep more and improve our diet.

In virtually every aspect of our lives, there is a perceived gap between where we are and where we want to be. This gap is a void we must fill to make life more significant and meaningful. If we let the gap widen, we feel more tension and frustration. By not attempting to close the gap, we are passively allowing life to happen to us. But by taking action to bridge the realities of what we have versus what we want, we are taking charge and making life happen.

This process of closing the gap brings our behavior in alignment with our purpose and our values. By knowing what we are here for and what is most important to us we gain clarity of our current reality. We can see exactly what is missing, what expectations are not being met, and we will become compelled to take action and redraft our future reality. We can then literally make our life what we want it to be!

FIND YOUR SUCCESS PARTNER

Most of us can recall those times when we succeeded due to the impact of a mentor, a guidance counselor or perhaps an understanding spouse who was by our side as we undertook some personal endeavor. But we can also recall those instances where we endeavored to go forth alone and then gave up because we lacked the direction and support we needed. We found ourselves stuck in a place we didn’t belong but also didn’t have the encouragement or advice to get ourselves unstuck.

Imagine having a supportive partner in those situations where we lacked the resources, both mental and emotional, to stay on the right path.  Recent research has shown that simply stating goals are largely ineffective, writing them down had only slightly better results, but having a partner proved by far the highest success rate in goal achievement.

Examples of this working partnership could include: job hunting or changing careers, learning a new skill, writing a novel, becoming a better speaker or listener, starting a business or planning retirement, getting out of debt, dealing with a difficult workplace issue, breaking a bad habit or making a significant lifestyle change.

The list is endless of possible scenarios where having a trusted partner on your side would have made all the difference. Going it alone is certainly an option, but consider how well that has worked for you in the past. If you truly want to stay the course this time and ensure your success it is okay to admit that you could use some serious help.  Find your trusted partner who will support you and you will have much greater success in making it happen.

A HIGHER PERSPECTIVE

Orange Sunset jpg

We often don’t appreciate the quality and value of our lives because our vision is too limited or even blocked.  To see our real possibilities we must see it from a new viewpoint, much like Robin Williams offered his students in the movie, The Dead Poets Society. When he asked all of the students to get up and stand on their desks, they came to realize that their previous views had changed, that everything looked different from their higher perspective. In order for us to transform to lives of greater significance, we must change our point of view, to see our lives from a different and higher perspective.

WELCOMING CHANGE

Our personal growth is the process of transforming with change. As we receive Wake Up Calls at several points in our lives, we will see that our challenge will be to convert to new ways of thinking. Having a strong Purpose to propel us forward will smooth the bumps and ease the pain of the process.

So why do we dread these awakenings? Is it because we prefer our comfort zone, the life that conforms to our existing habits and allows us to take the path of least resistance? No doubt, it is difficult to let go of what we are comfortable with, but it is this process of letting go that allows us to experience and enjoy new parts of ourselves.

Without letting go, we remain in the rut. It is said that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions. And if we do not look above the edges of the rut, we will only see the walls of the grave that imprison us.

Therefore, managing change is the act of transforming by choice. This requires active decision making on our part, where we’re always seeking new solutions to our life. But if we welcome change the solutions will quickly follow.

OUR LIFE SPIRAL

Life Spiral

A strange paradox of life is that the more we attempt to perfect it, the more imperfect it seems to become. At first, this paradox would seem to imply that life is hopeless. But it is precisely this imperfection that makes it so interesting and promising. From birth to death, life is a continuum of change – an ongoing series of events, happenings, and transitions. We are born as a bundle of potentiality. We grow and learn. We face challenges and obstacles. We experience the good and the bad, hope and despair, happiness and sadness. We mature from these experiences and develop a much richer understanding of our Purpose in life.

Having a clear Purpose and faith in ourselves will help us navigate the twists and turns of life. Life is never going to move in a straight line. It will never be predictable at any point in time. It spirals continuously, from some place we have been to some place we are going. To keep pace with these constant transitions we must always be aware of our Purpose as we confront the challenges of change and self-renewal. We can manage the effect of life’s paradoxes by first recognizing and accepting their inevitability and then by making Purposeful choices to manage them. Since we have unlimited opportunities to do so we have an open invitation to make life more significant and worthwhile. The one thing we cannot do is stand still.