Thursday, September 14, 2017

Creative Change

When I speak at pre-retirement seminars, one of the first topics I bring up is the definition of retirement. That’s because as Baby Boomers we’re very sensitive to being referred to as “retired.” Just ask someone, “Are you retired?” You’ll probably get a somewhat agitated, knee-jerk response, such as: I’m refreshing, repotting, reframing, or re-anything except re-tired.

This adverse reaction to being retired is why, within the first couple minutes of my presentation, I explain that I’m not going to talk about our parents’ retirement. I disclose that I think people should never retire. And that it’s up to us to redefine this next stage of life. But to do that, we need more than a clever comment. Instead, we need “creative change.”

According to author Jennifer Mueller, in her book Creative Change: Why We Resist It…How We Can Embrace It, creative change happens when we “move away from defining something to embrace a completely new and different way of defining something.” This is more than a new name for retirement. This is a new way of living.

Many aspects of our life will have to take on a new definition for us to experience creative change. For instance, our relationship with time changes dramatically. If it doesn’t, we end up frantically trying to fill every minute—we continue to function from a time scarcity mindset and the belief that busyness equates with significance. Instead, we need to  embrace the gift of time, realizing that some things are better done slowly. 

If you're questioning how you will use your extra time in retirement, one answer is to make everyday events into something greater. In other words, do the opposite of what’s expected by turning a “molehill into a mountain.” Studies on happiness suggest people receive lasting gratification when they make a situation more challenging, take pictures to remember the event and reminisce about it at a later date. This is the reverse of investing just enough time to get the job done.

To experience creative change we need to redefine the value we place on money. Until now, financial compensation played a big role in determining the value of our work. If something didn’t pay enough, most likely we didn’t do it. Now if we wait to be paid to do something we love, we might miss out on it all together. For example, if you love to write but are waiting to get started until you’ve signed a publishing contract, you could be waiting a long time. I can’t promise, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I can assure you that if you do what you love, whether you’re paid or not, you’ll experience a more fulfilling retirement.

Freedom is another area that requires a shift in thinking if we’re to experience creative change. In some ways freedom is our new currency. We have to decide how to spend it and invest it. But there are two sides to this coin. As author Seth Godin says in his book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn, “Freedom is our problem and freedom is our opportunity.” I hope that you’ll put forth the effort to invest in opportunities with your newfound freedom.

Until we creatively change our definition and relationship with these parts of retirement—time, money, and freedom—we will only come up with a new pseudo definition of retirement. Not much will have changed except for our terminology. But if we embrace creative change, if we commit to a completely new and different way of defining retirement, our futures are full of possibilities. We may be retired, but this isn’t our parents’ retirement!

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Invitation to the "Dare to Soar Telesummit"

This Saturday, September 9th, I invite you to join me at the Dare to Soar Telesummit. My course, Retirement COMPASS: How We Can Find Our Way When Life Has Lost It’s Rhythm, is scheduled for 12:05pm (ET). Click here to learn more about the other speakers, free giveaways, and how to access the workshops.

The Telesummit is an action-packed day to celebrate eight life-changing new books and courses. Scroll through the 18 free workshops to find something that you find interesting. If something grabs your attention, pay attention. Follow your curiosity.

If after listening to these new authors you feel inspired to write your own book, you’ll have an opportunity to learn more about the Write/Speak program. Next year your name could be listed among the presenters. If that sounds crazy, then do just one thing. Participate in at least one workshop. Amazing things can happen when we take the first step.

I hope you’ll join my presentation at 12:05 (ET). I’d love to have you on the call! 

Phone: 1-712-775-7085. Access Code: 880212#

Life rewards action. Take that first step.

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Start at the Bottom

Down the road from my apartment in Saratoga Springs, NY, a luxury condominium building is being constructed. Over the past several months I've watched construction crews tear down an existing building; large bulldozers clear the land and dig a foundation; and eventually, steel beams and wood framing appeared. Today windows are being installed. 

Last week, as my husband and I walked by the site, I said, "I wonder how builders know where to begin. The project seems so big and confusing." My husband responded, "You start at the bottom."

I think it’s fair so say that my husband knows nothing about home construction, and yet, it seems clear that you have to start at the bottom and then build up.

In some ways, building a retirement is similar to building a condo. It’s big and confusing. So where do we begin? I’m suggesting we start at the bottom and build up. We start with a foundation that’s formulated from our values.

Building the Foundation

If you were starting a new life today, what would you absolutely require? What do you want your life to be based on? What do you value most? Susan David, author of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, provides these descriptions of values:

·      They are freely chosen and have not been imposed on you.
·      They are not goals; that is, they are ongoing rather than fixed.
·      They guide you rather than constrain you.
·      They are active, not static.
·      They allow you to get closer to the way you want to live your life.
·      They bring you freedom from social comparison.
·      They foster self-acceptance, which is crucial to mental health.

If you’d like to learn more about your values, take a values assessment quiz. There are hundreds to choose from a Google search. Click here for a link to an assessment tool that I find helpful.

Back to the conversation I had with my husband. He missed one very important step when stating you start at the bottom and build up. Contractors don’t dig a big hole, pour concrete, and then sit down with a beer to talk about what type of building will sit on the foundation. Instead, they begin with whiteprints, the technical drawings that capture the architectural design.

This is where building a condo and building a retirement differ. The whiteprint, the architectural plan for our future, is designed from our values. Once these are solid, we can sit down with a cold beer or iced tea and dream about what we want to build on this foundation.

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Make Every Day Count

When you go to bed at night, can you say that you feel good about how you spent the day? If this were your last day on earth, would you be okay with how you lived?

Living every day with a sense of purpose and direction can be challenging when we’re no longer employed. When we were in the workforce, it was much easier. We had to show up to work. We felt productive because that’s what we were supposed to do—get stuff done.

Conversely, in retirement this sense of purpose and being productive can be elusive. It’s hard to live every day with intention. I don’t want to disappoint you, but most likely there will be some times when you’re languishing and mindlessly wondering about the house. You’ll get in your car to drive somewhere, but have nowhere to go. It’s not easy to purposely fill 16 hours (960 minutes!) Busywork doesn’t count. I’ve never found satisfaction in just keeping busy.

Over the years I’ve written several blog posts about intentional living. I encourage you to browse through these archived articles to learn how to create a retirement with meaning and purpose. You’ll find a lot of great ideas that will bring direction to your retirement years. Here are just a few suggested posts to get started:

Still, even if you read every post I’ve written since 2010, there will be times when you feel like a boat without a rudder. One these days, before the day ends, I suggest doing something that will make a difference in the world. That might sound like a big task. Fortunately we don’t have to find a solution for world hunger, or build a school in Nairobi, to benefit from the positive emotion that comes from extending a small act of kindness.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Fill a large bag full of clothes that you no longer wear and put it in a collection container. When I was in Uganda, I witnessed the difference these clothes make in the life of a micro-entrepreneur who mends the clothes and sells them to support her family.

Instead of going out for drinks, give $25 to KIVA. It’s a gift that keeps giving because once the entrepreneur has repaid the loan, you get to reinvest the money in another entrepreneur. Plus it’s really fun to choose the person, country, and type of business that you want to support.

Prepare a meal for someone and/or deliver homemade cookies to a college student. If the recipient invites you to stay for a visit, stay. You’ll leave feeling good from connecting with another person.

Send a card or write a letter to a friend or family member. Remember years ago how wonderful it was to receive a long letter from a friend? Email and texting are not the same. You’ll experience a sense of anticipation once you drop the envelop in the mailbox. Days later, you’ll make someone’s day when he/she receives your letter.

I encourage you to try one of these suggestions and to come up with your own. Then post a comment below. I believe you’ll be surprised by how rewarding a simple act can be, and make you feel good about your day!

 “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Psalm 11:25

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.