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.