As a career and retirement coach, I’m trained to help people make life’s transitions. One that I enjoy is helping people transition to retirement. You may think this is an easy transition, after all those years of anticipation, but in fact, many fail to successfully make the transition. After years of waking early, meeting deadlines and commitments, and having tight schedules, suddenly waking up and ‘doing nothing’ is a shock to the system…and the head!
Many people successfully make the transition. I have friends with vibrant social lives, and some with busy volunteer schedules. They are fully enjoying their retirement days. Others struggle. I made an attempt to retire myself recently, and found it extremely unsatisfying, lonely and I missed having a purpose.
Some observations I’ve made about why people ‘fail’ at retirement are:
Helping people avoid retirement failure is so rewarding and such fun! I believe everyone deserves the retirement of their dreams – whatever that means to them. Beginning with an assessment, we identify roadblocks to YOUR happy retirement, then develop a strategy to break through them, helping to ensure you have a happy and meaningful retirement. I’ve had a few clients take sabbaticals that allowed them to see how they would fill their days without work. The lessons learned from those experiences, helped them make adjustments to their plan.
Some strategies people have used include:
Everyone can have a happy retirement. It may just take some planning and redirecting your goals.
I've been thinking about the term 'giving up' this morning, and how it freezes so many people into inaction.
“I give up”. You’ve said it. You’ve heard countless people say it. In our society, “I give up” has a negative connotation. It’s looked at as a failure. I think it’s time we put a different spin on it. Let’s think of it as changing your mind or making a different choice, not giving up. Giving up sounds reactive and weak, when in truth, changing the course of your life takes courage.
Sometimes people find themselves in a situation that isn’t optimal for them. Maybe you’re at a job that has become toxic. Or perhaps you’re in a relationship that is no longer good for either partner. Maybe you just made a choice that turns out not to be as optimal as you thought it would be. I’ve been in all of these situations.
When I’m there, I see two choices. I can just stick with it, miserable, stressed out, knowing my life could be better, but embarrassed to acknowledge the situation. Or, I can be brave, know what is best for me, discount any naysayers’ opinions, and make a positive step in my life.
Yes, I’ve quit the job that became toxic. Yes, I’ve left a relationship that was not good for either me or my partner. And yes, I’ve made decisions that turned out not to work. But every time, I overcame the fear of ‘giving up’, and had the courage to make a choice that was best for me. I took control of my life, rather than letting my life run me. And, each time I took the risk, I came out stronger, more confident, and happier.
We have just one life to live. It is our responsibility to live it to the fullest, being the best us we can be. It’s never easy to do, but it is so worth it. Think of the time you spend being unhappy, thinking about your situation, wishing things were different. These are terrible wastes of your time and your life!
I believe we all have the answers we need within ourselves. So, how do we bring them to the surface? Be brave. Write things down. Face your fears. I always like to think, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Then I make a plan to avoid that happening. Talk to people. Hire a therapist who’s impartial. You don’t have to go it alone. Just pick the right people, those who will support you rather than judge you. You CAN do it.
Be Brave. Go for it.
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Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.