Friday, July 14, 2017

imagine Sunday evenings...

When I speak to a group of pre-retirees, I only have to say, "imagine Sunday evenings," and then pause a few seconds, to trigger a wave of laughter and sighs from the participants. Instantly people understand the wonderful feeling of approaching a new week without facing impossible deadlines, micro-managing supervisors, stressful commutes, etc.  

By the time we've been in the workplace for 30+ years, most of us are more than ready to give up these unfavorable aspects of employment. But there's one lingering characteristic about work that is difficult to let go—our work identity. We become so attached to our work role that we don't know who we are without work. This can be a real problem when adjusting to retirement.

Think back to the workplace for a minute. We're all familiar with the annual job performance review—an evaluation of how we measure up to our stated goals and objectives. Now I invite you to think of another type of performance review—your eulogy.  One strategy that might help to release some of your attachment to the work role is to fast-forward to your final performance review.

What's important to people when they face death? Do they focus on their accomplishments or do they talk about the little things? As Arianna Huffington says in her book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, “Our eulogies are always about the other [non-work] stuff: what we gave, how we connected, how much we meant to our family and friends, small kindnesses, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh.”

How do you want to live on in the “minds and hearts of others?”

If we can acknowledge that work is a role—a role that will require less of our time in retirement—then we’re free to examine other roles. It’s often these other roles by which we will be remembered in the final performance review. 

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Grand Invitation

"The grand invitation is to embrace the reality of your life and to figure out what to do with it." –Chip Edens, Rector of Christ Church Charlotte, congregation of 6,000 members

When I read this quote in Raymond Kethledge and Michael Erwin's book Lead Yourself First, it struck me that the "grand invitation" relates to our retirement years—an invite to figure out what to do with this next stage of life.

I think grand invitations are exciting; such as the type I receive for big expensive weddings. I enthusiastically open the envelope, and then the second envelope, pulling back the thin sheet of tissue paper to read a message that's written in beautiful cursive font. 

If only retirement were so easy—an invitation arriving in the mail that perfectly describes how to live in retirement, complete with a RSVP card to reply, "I'm coming." Unfortunately retirement doesn't work this way.

You receive the grand invitation but don't miss the phase between "grand invitation" and "figuring our what to do with it." You can't accept this invitation until you "embrace the reality of your life."

What is the reality of your life? Be honest with yourself. If you've been retired for a while it might be easier to describe your reality. You've been retired long enough to know what comes with this new stage of life.

For many of us, the reality is that we have lots of free time. And yet, some of us hold fast to the idea that busy-ness equates with significance so we pack our schedules so tight so that we don't have time to think and reflect on what we want to do with this grand invitation. When I acknowledge this reality, I'm more intentional about how I spend my time, investing it in organizations and relationships that enrich and expand my life.

When one guy got real with his realities, he said, "I have the financial resources to do more than I've been doing in retirement, but I've been living as though I don't." His grand invitation is to figure out how his financial resources can best be used to add to a meaningful retirement. Perhaps your reality is that you're less prepared financially for retirement than you want to believe. Still, start with your reality, embrace your situation, and then figure out what you want to do about it.

Once you realize your realities, then you can acknowledge what's working and what's not working for you in retirement. Now what do you want to do about it?

Your grand invitation is waiting. This is a party you don't want to miss!

Copyright 2017 Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Push and Pull Factors

There are many factors that impact when we think is the best time to retire. One to consider is the push and pull factor. 

Push refers to the things about work that make you want to leave. They are pushing you toward retirement and away from work. These might be long hours, a stressful commute, hectic days, unreasonable deadlines, difficult supervisor, office politics, changing technology, etc.
Pull refers to the things that are attractive about retirement such as less stress, more control over your schedule, opportunities to explore new interests, travel, etc. Think of these as pulling toward retirement. Pull factors may also include attending to increasing responsibilities, such as caring for an elderly parent.
Since the decision of when to retire is so important, it is essential that you evaluate your push and pull factors.
What is pushing you away from work? Do you experience the push factors everyday or just some days?
Negative events have a way of holding our attention longer than positive events. If you keep a daily journal to record how you feel about your work, maybe you'll find that many days continue to bring you fulfillment and satisfaction.
A high school history teacher told me that he has a 4-day rule. If he has four bad days in a row, then he's going to retire. So far he hasn't gotten past three. This is his way to evaluate his push factors.
The pull factors also need to be evaluated. We think we want more time to do the things we enjoy doing, but we're not very good at assessing just how much time we need for those things. We're making the decision at a period when we don't have any extra time.
One way to try out your pull factors is to take an extended break from work so that you can "practice" being retired. Experience what it feels like to have so much unstructured time. Spend considerably more hours with your spouse or partner than you can when you’re working. How well do you manage idle time? Are you doing the things you wanted to do and experiencing the intentions that pulled you toward retirement?
I don't think there is a perfect time to retire. However, by knowing your push and pull factors, you'll be in a better position to make an informed decision.

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Retirement Manifesto

While in Barnes and Noble bookstore I was drawn to the beautiful cover of a new magazine. I sat down on a nearby chair and took a few minutes to delight in the lovely pictures and graphics. Surprisingly it was the last page of the magazine titled magnolia manifesto that really captured my attention. It was a statement of the founders' core values and beliefs. In a sense, the manifesto serves as a manual for how they aspirate to live their lives and lead their company. 

My inspiration for writing comes from a variety of places, and on this day it was simply the idea that a retirement manifesto could bring clarity and intention to how I want to live in retirement. And even more, maybe a manifesto could help couples to find their way in retirement.

What is a manifesto?
A manifesto is a statement of your core values. It may include beliefs, goals and wisdom you have gained over the years. When writing a manifesto, consider your vision for the future, what you believe to be true, and your intentions. Keep the language strong and affirmative. The meaning and purpose should be evident and explicit.

Getting started:
Begin by brainstorming ideas of how you want to experience your retirement years. You may find it easier to write a personal manifesto first, and then discuss a joint statement. You don't have to know exactly what you're going to write when you begin. And with time you'll probably want to amend your manifesto.

The following sentence stems will help you get started. Repeat or modify them so that they represent your beliefs and vision for the future.

We believe that…

We want to…

We know this to be true…

We believe in seeking…

We love…

We are committed to…

We want to live in a relationship where…

And of all heroic pursuits large and small, we believe there may be none greater than…

Once you have written your retirement manifesto, I suggest creating a beautiful document and displaying it where you'll regularly be reminded of your commitment to these core value and intentions. Don't forget to review your manifesto often. Amend it as life changes. Expand it as you grow and mature. This is a living document—a manual for creating the life you want to live in retirement.

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Announcing New Retirement Course!

If working isn't weird, then how can we take the "best of work" and bring it into the "best of retirement?"

A Guide to Take the Weirdness Out of Retirement explores what you will need in retirement that will create a sense of meaning and purpose at a time when you're no longer defined by your work title. So much of the weirdness of retirement comes from losing our sense of direction. In this course we explore how to create a "new normal" by embracing new roles, being involved in work that is greater than ourselves, and recreating conditions that contributed to our happiness at work.

If you're not interested in every day feeling like Saturday and Sunday, then you are going to love learning about new organizing concepts that are much bigger than a life of leisure. 
If you're not ready to give up work completely, you will be glad to learn how to regain the psychological benefits of work. 
And if you're worried that you don't have something that you are passionate about doing in retirement, in this course you only need to be curious and have an explorer mindset.
If you are facing the decision to retire, you will find support that will help you feel prepared to step into retirement. This is especially important if you are in a work environment where it is not "safe" to talk about retirement. This major life decision and transition is too complex to go it alone. 

This 2 1/2 hour online course is offered through—a global marketplace for learning and teaching online.

Course price $20 with coupon code: RETIREHAPPY 

I hope you'll try the free preview and share the coupon code with friends. 

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.