Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Retirement: Your Start-Up Business

You might think that a retirement expert gets her inspiration from authors of retirement books. Not me. I gain insight from authors who write about best business and management practices, not from books describing the best vacation and retirement communities. That's why I've decided to take one book each month and focus on 5 steps that can help you thrive in retirement.

This month's featured book is, "The Start Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career" by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha.

1.    "Today you need to also think of yourself as an entrepreneur at the helm of at least one living, growing start-up venture: your career."
Change the word "career" to "retirement" and then think about your future as a "Start Up" business. From this perspective, you bring new life, energy, and enthusiasm to creating your retirement lifestyle.

2.    "Finished ought to be an F-word for all of us. We are all works in progress. Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, and grow more in our lives and careers."
This statement applies to retirement as much as it does to when we were pursuing careers. Maybe more since we're in charge of our own learning and growing. Where are you going to challenge yourself? What do you want to learn? When are you going to start? 

3.    "Whatever the situation, actions, not plans, generate lessons that help you test your hypotheses against reality. Actions help you discover where you want to go and how to get there."
Retirement is the time to dream about what you want to create and how you want to live in this next stage of life. But don't stop at dreaming. You won't know what a dream can become unless you get started. Lean into an idea. Take a baby step in the direction of your dream. You can talk about plans all day, but until you start to do something and take action, nothing happens, nothing changes. Life rewards action. Get started now!

4.    "Don't let uncertainty lull you into overestimating the risk."
I love this statement because it proves true in so many situations. When we're creating the life we want to live in retirement, there are a lot of uncertainties. Uncertainty breeds a degree of risk, but just how much risk is also uncertain. Consider the idea that you may be overestimating risk. Unless you're happy with status quo, agree to live with some degree of uncertainty and keep moving forward.  

5.    "An entrepreneur who is trying to build a business in an unhealthy society is like a seed in a pot that never gets watered: no matter how talented the entrepreneur, her business cannot flourish."
Okay, so you may not be trying to build a business, but I think of retirement as my life business. In retirement I want to continually learn and grow, to be challenged and excited about living each day. That's why it's important to place myself in the right environment. If you are living in an area where your spirit does not come alive, or hanging out with people who do not support your growth and development, then you'll be like a seed in a pot that never gets watered. Consider the environment that you need to flourish and take steps to move in that direction. Set the stage for the life you want to live!

Copyright 2015 Patrice Jenkins All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Don't Retire From... Retire To....!

It's easy to envision what you're leaving behind when you submit your retirement notice. The long hours, stressful days, hectic commute, unreasonable deadlines…  Who wouldn't want to get away from these pressures? And the sooner the better.

But, if all your focus is on what you're retiring from, I'm telling you that you're not ready to retire.

Until you have an idea of what will be your reason to get out of bed each morning feeling curious and energized, hold onto your job. To be ready to retire, you need to know what you're retiring to.

How do you go about figuring out what you're retiring to?

Just as you prepare financially for retirement by starting early, diversifying your assets, and preparing for the unexpected, you need to prepare in advance for what you're retiring to. Here are some suggestions to get started:

Engage in roles outside of the work role.

Explore ways that your hobbies and interests can bring meaning and purpose to your days.

Expand your social network and involvement in community activities.

Experiment with this next stage of life. Be open to new ideas and opportunities that promote discovery and growth.

You'll know that you're ready to retire when you can fill in the blank:

I'm retiring to ___________________________.

Copyright 2015 Patrice Jenkins All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Nothing to Prove, Happiness to Gain

Retirement grants us permission to do whatever we want with our time, energy, and resources. 

Before retirement, the next rung has driven us up the career ladder. We've added degrees to our name. We've built an impressive resume. We've done everything that we're supposed to do to prove to the world and to ourselves that we're ambitious, intelligent, and capable of soaring to great heights in our chosen occupations.

Congratulations! We made it!

Now what?

Career theorists suggest that matching our skills, interests, and/or self-image with a career is how to go about choosing a career path. According to self-image theories, you choose a career path that fits with how you see yourself. The foundation for this theory begins at a young age.

I remember having a discussion with my son, Steven, when he was 12. On the drive home from a Little League tournament he described in detail what a day of work looked like, including what he was wearing, how his office was decorated, whom he was meeting after work and what they were going to do. At the end of his story, he turned to me and said, "So Mom, what am I doing all day?"

I'm happy to report that 13 years later, Steven is living the image that he described in detail on that drive home. He's working in NYC's financial district, wears a suit to work on most days, and meets up with friends for drinks or a game of basketball after work. The job fits with how he perceives himself, his self-image.

Many of us have been successful in our careers because the role and responsibilities fit our self-image. The self-image theory worked for us. But beware, it may not work so well when deciding how we want to live in retirement. When it comes to retirement, we may need to give ourselves permission to do something because it's fun or different or challenging, and hopefully all three.

I'm thinking about getting a part-time job in a bakery. I know that I don't need a Ph.D. to bake delectable chocolate chip cookies. I worked really hard to earn a doctorate degree, but will I keep myself from doing something that I believe I'll enjoy because I'm too educated, too professional, or too something to do it? If so, I'll miss out on what may bring enjoyment and pleasure to my life.

When you think about what you'd like to do in retirement, complete the following questions:

I'm too educated to do _________.

I need to be paid too much money to be able to do __________.

But, when I think about what I'd like to do, what looks like fun, I'd like to try _________.

Now is the time to give yourself permission to have fun, to experiment, to say yes to something that you couldn't do when your career and reputation were on the line. You have nothing to prove and happiness to gain. Step over the line and create your own definition of retirement success.

Copyright 2015 Patrice Jenkins All Rights Reserved.