Monday, October 26, 2015

On The Hook


Finally our time is our own. We're "off the hook" when it comes to work commitments and related responsibilities. We have the freedom to do whatever we want with our time and energy. Many of us need to recharge our physical, mental and emotional batteries after dedicating 25+ years to a career. For a while, this period of freedom is replenishing and fulfilling.

And then what?

If we want to live an engaged life, which I assume we do, then we may need to think differently about being "on the hook." It might not be something to avoid.

According to Seth Godin, author of: What To Do When It's Your Turn and It's Always Your Turn, "Being on the hook is a privilege. It means the people around us are trusting us to contribute, counting on us to deliver. It's not something to be avoided."

In my endeavor to create possibilities, I often find myself on the hook. I do it to myself. No boss or supervisor or parent makes me do it. However, when I begin to feel pressure from these responsibilities and commitments, I'm tempted to wish I hadn't offered—I want to get off the hook. Here's an example:

Recently I offered to present a program at the local library on "The Retirement Experiment Project." This project is in a conceptual stage. In preparation for the workshop I had to bring more clarity to the topic and develop materials for the participants. I was on the hook to deliver something of value for the people who were giving of their time and energy to attend. A week before the event I asked, "Why do I do this to myself?" I wanted to get off the hook.

So what came of this commitment? I did the work. I showed up. Fortunately Godin's statement is changing the way I think about self-imposed responsibilities and commitments. By approaching the library commitment from Godin's perspective I felt privileged to be a source of information and ideas that may help people find meaning and purpose—a sense of direction—in retirement. Being on the hook was a good thing—for me and for the program participants.

How about you? When was the last time you purposely put yourself on the hook? If it has been a while, then it's time to do it. The best thing about retirement is that you choose your commitments. I encourage you to stretch yourself and try something new. Step out of your comfort zone and create possibilities. Being on the hook is a privilege that you don't want to miss.

Copyright 2015 Patrice Jenkins