Friday, July 6, 2018

Full of Yourself

Lady was full of herself, likes to be on stage.”

How would you respond if you received this feedback after speaking to a group of retiring educators?

Nobody likes to receive negative feedback. Even when it’s a very small, insignificant percentage of the whole, we tend to dwell on the negative. In fact, research suggests our memory of negative emotions and experiences is four times stronger than our ability to remember positive emotions and events. This is probably why I forgot about the glowing comments and kept thinking about being “full of herself.”

That is until I thought more about what it means to be full of myself. I understand the comment was not meant in a positive way, but when it comes to helping people prepare for the non-financial side of retirement, this lady is “full of herself." My understanding and knowledge of what contributes to thriving in retirement has helped hundreds of people navigate this next stage of life. And so I’m on stage. And I want other people to find their stage in retirement too.

Where are you feeling full of yourself and where is this going to show up in your retirement years? What strengths do you love sharing with the world? What “stage” do you want to be on?

What are you going to do about the negative people who don’t want you to have your stage? The ones who say, “Who do you think you are?” Will you let them keep you from doing what you love to do? I hope not. Instead, ask yourself, “Who do I think I am?” and then share this with the world.

Find your stage. Be full of yourself.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


“Have you blossomed? Are you still blossoming? Or are you blossomed out?”

These are the questions a friend asked me while we were enjoying lunch on my deck. Hmm… I thought for a few seconds. I hadn’t been asked this question.

And then I knew the answer. 

“As long as I’m choosing courage over comfort, I’m still blossoming.”

This phrase, “courage over comfort” comes from Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston and best-selling author. These three words have provided the nudge I’ve needed to initiate difficult conversations, challenge status quo, say yes to something outside my comfort zone, and to keep blossoming in retirement. In fact, when you practice courage over comfort, retirement is fertile ground for blossoming.

Heidi Zak, Cofounder of Third Love, warns us that, “The status quo will always be here, so have the strong conversation with yourself and take the leap. It’s hard, but these decisions are the ones that really change the direction of your life.” Courage over comfort.

According to Brown, “Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.” If the contagion factor is true, then my friend went home with a little more courage to create the life she wants in retirement. 

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Magnifying Effect

It’s nice to believe that once you retire you’ll suddenly have the motivation to exercise more, eat healthier meals, expand your social connections, and be more thoughtful of your spouse. According to happiness research, all these factors contribute to a better quality of life. The problem is research also suggests if you’re not doing these things already, you’ll be less apt to do them in retirement.

Retirement tends to magnify what exists. So if you’re currently outgoing and social, you’ll tend to expand on this when you have more time in retirement. And if you’re not so social, you tend to be even less so in retirement. The same is true for exercise. 

Those who exercise before retiring, increase their physical activity in retirement.  The opposite is true for less active people, who tend to become even more sedentary. This magnifying effect also applies to committed relationships.

Couples with a healthy, positive relationship continue to enhance their connection in retirement. The reverse is true for couples in unhealthy relationships. To put it simply: The good gets better. The bad gets worse.

The time to start preparing for the magnifying effect is before you retire. Take an inventory of the quality of your life. What would you like to change? What would you like to do more of in retirement?  Then begin now, before you retire, to make these changes.

Believing you’ll suddenly be a different person the first day of retirement is like believing you’ll suddenly have the motivation to lose 25 pounds starting January 1. It might work for a while, but like most New Year resolutions, old habits don’t change because of a date on the calendar.

Instead, gradually start to make these changes.  When your retirement date arrives, you’ll already be on your way to a happier and healthier future.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Power of Listening

I’m not a fan of yard sales, but I think one reason people are drawn to them is the thrill of finding a hidden treasure. My version of this is to go to Home Goods, a discount home furnishings department store chain. Evidently the company understands this concept. Their website states, “At Home Goods we want you to experience the thrill of finding.”

One day as I was browsing the aisles, a framed quote on a crowded shelf of wall décor caught my attention: “Listen to your dreams.” 

There is something subtle that speaks deeply when we listen to our dreams. When we listen, we have a relationship with our dreams—our vision of how we want to live. Listening gives hope.

Listening honors our dreams, just as listening to a person, honors that person. We’re not thinking about how we’re going to respond or one-up her story. We’re observers of her story. By listening, we can be observers of our dreams.

According to Collin Powell, “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” I agree. But before we conjure up the sweat, determination and hard work, we need to listen.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lessons from Darwin

Bucket List: Trip to the Galapagos Islands. ✔ Check.

Honestly, I don’t have a bucket list. So when friends, Dennis and Jan, invited us to join them on a trip to the Galapagos Islands, I didn’t even know where to find this destination on the map. This trip was on Dennis’ bucket list. Still, Dave and I are always up for an adventure so we signed up, and then did our research.

The Galapagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The Galapagos tortoise might be the most popularly recognized animal, but the diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else, is the reason it’s considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. 

We were aboard the National Geographic Endeavor II, a beautiful ship that accommodates 96 guests. It was an expedition—each day filled with hiking, deep-sea snorkeling, kayaking, all while observing amazing animals, fish, and plant life. Now I understand why people have the Galapagos Islands on their bucket lists!

The Galapagos Islands is also home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. As I was entering the lobby, the quote on the door grabbed my attention. “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”—Charles Darwin, English naturalist and geologist

Adapts to change—seems to fit the challenge of adapting to retirement. If you’re resisting change, feeling like retirement has robbed you of who you used to be, how's this working for you? Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, author of The Third Chapter, reminds us, “Resisting change in retirement is like trying to stand still in a fast moving river.”

Instead of hanging on to what you used to be, Lawrence-Lightfoot suggests retirement “requires the willingness to take risks, experience vulnerability and uncertainty, learn from experimentation and failure, seek guidance and counsel from younger generations, and develop new relationships of support and intimacy.”

No one said retirement was going to be easy. But if you want to do more than just survive, if you want to thrive, take Darwin's advice: be adaptable to change.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.