Friday, July 22, 2016

Week of My Life!

My goal each month is to write two articles for this blog. And so, this morning when I sat down to write at Starbucks, I was hoping to be inspired. I made a couple unsuccessful attempts at new topics. When these didn't go anywhere, I pulled up some other articles that were in the works. Still no great inspiration. Finally, I decided to buy a card for my husband's birthday (today!) and call it quits.

On the drive home I was feeling a little discouraged about not having at least a good start on an article. Here it is July 22 and I have published only one post for the month. Time is running out.

Then I began to think…this week has been one of the most exciting and rewarding times in my life. Surely there is some wisdom or inspiration to be gained from what brought about these events. Here's what happened…

On Tuesday and Wednesday I had two presentations for the New York State Teachers' Retirement System. I love speaking with people who are planning and preparing for their retirement. For some participants, this date might be 5-10 years from now. Still, these individuals are taking steps to prepare and I have the privilege of sharing in their journey.

The other big event is my husband and I closed on a property in Saratoga Springs, NY. This is the little city where we rented an apartment last September to May to experiment with downtown living. Who would have thought that less than a year later we would decide to purchase a studio apartment—our pied-à-terre (a French term meaning a small house or apartment that the owner uses as a secondary home.)

The lesson for my readers (and for me) is that neither of these life-enhancing events took place without effort. I didn’t magically wake up one morning to public speaking engagements. Instead, I responded to an unexplainable feeling that I’m supposed to be creating, speaking, and making a difference in my own unique way. I took action and gradually built a consulting business.

The same is true for Saratoga. By being willing to experiment—trying something different even though it didn't make sense to most people—Dave and I learned that our lives can be enriched by sharing time between a country home and city home. We also learned that we didn’t' have to compromise our retirement savings to achieve this goal. As I wrote in my journal, "The size of the space doesn't matter. It's the magic that happens there that matters."

Now it's your turn. What dreams do you have that will lead to an awesome week? I'm not talking about extremely unrealistic dreams. According to Seth Godin, author of What To Do When It's Your Turn, "The safest of dreams we experience are dreams with no hope of coming true. Concrete dreams, on the other hand, are based on effort and keen sense of what is possible. Living with the possible takes guts."

So, what are your concrete dreams? What's possible? And what are you going to do about it?

Copyright 2016 Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 8, 2016

What Work Do You Need to Do?

Friday Routine is my weekly ritual of driving to Starbucks, ordering a skinny mocha grande, and writing a blog post. Why do I do this? I don't have thousands of readers. I don't have a Facebook page so I must not have any "likes." And yet, every Friday I show up to the page and work to meet my goal of posting two articles each month.

Similarly, Bill, a retired music teacher is committed to directing a community band. In this volunteer role he is free to direct, compose, and improvise music as he wishes—and he does it with excellence. When my husband Dave said, "Bill puts so much effort into directing the band" I responded, "It's the work he needs to do." Dave and the other band members benefit from Bill's work, but that's not why he does it. Bill puts so much effort into the director's role because it makes him happy.
I'm the same way. I do the work when no one is looking, when it seems like no one is watching, reading, or is interested. I do the work for me. I do the work because it makes me happy. 

Author Elizabeth Gilbert understands this concept. In her book, Big Magic, Gilbert says, "I did not write this book for you; I wrote it for me. I wrote this book for my own pleasure, because I truly enjoy thinking about the subject of creativity. It's enjoyable and useful for me to meditate on this topic."

My heart sinks when a friend talks about wanting to write a book but she's hung up on the dismal chance that a publisher will be interested in her work. Hence, she hasn't started writing. She's missing out on the joy and satisfaction of doing what she loves to do. She needs to learn that in retirement you do the work for yourself. You do the work because it makes YOU happy.

Instead of waiting for the big phone call to start your work, Gilbert says to "follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself." There is no better time to do this than in our retirement years.

So, what causes a revolution in your heart? Now get started on creating this work—
the work YOU need to do for YOU.

Copyright 2016 Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.