Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Graduation Mindset

For the past six years I’ve been speaking to audiences of retiring educators. The morning sessions focus on financial preparation and legal information. Then lunch. Then me. When I take the stage, I make reference to the earlier topics, and then I say, “One thing I believe nobody has told you today is that most of you aren’t retiring.”

The room with 60 or 70 people is suddenly silent. If I’m reading their body language correctly, I imagine they’re thinking I know something about their pension that they don’t know—that the market crashed or the contract changed.

I don’t want to keep my audience in this state of anxiety, so I quickly add, “The reason most of you aren’t retiring is because this is how Webster defines retirement: discharged, aged, old, pensioned off, give up work, step down, and be put out to pasture. That doesn’t sound like me and I don’t think it describes most of you.” The group is quick to agree.

Instead of retiring, I suggest they are “graduating.” Remember back to your graduation day. Were you filled with an overwhelming sense of excitement and hope? Did you believe a world of opportunity was available to you? Life was wide-open for the making? Graduation is the new retirement. 

Just as a formal education didn’t prepare you for everything you needed to know in your career, the work you’ve been doing for 30-40 years hasn’t prepared you for this next stage of life. There’s going to be a lot of “on the job training.”

Just as you may have changed careers over the past couple decades, you’re also free to change up what you do with your next graduation.

With a graduation mindset, approach your retirement with a sense of hope, anticipation and eagerness to make the most of this next stage of life. Trust that a great beginning follows an ending.

And now for my own graduation motivation, consider Mark Twain’s advice:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Congratulations on your graduation!

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Full of Yourself

Lady was full of herself, likes to be on stage.”

How would you respond if you received this feedback after speaking to a group of retiring educators?

Nobody likes to receive negative feedback. Even when it’s a very small, insignificant percentage of the whole, we tend to dwell on the negative. In fact, research suggests our memory of negative emotions and experiences is four times stronger than our ability to remember positive emotions and events. This is probably why I forgot about the glowing comments and kept thinking about being “full of herself.”

That is until I thought more about what it means to be full of myself. I understand the comment was not meant in a positive way, but when it comes to helping people prepare for the non-financial side of retirement, this lady is “full of herself." My understanding and knowledge of what contributes to thriving in retirement has helped hundreds of people navigate this next stage of life. And so I’m on stage. And I want other people to find their stage in retirement too.

Where are you feeling full of yourself and where is this going to show up in your retirement years? What strengths do you love sharing with the world? What “stage” do you want to be on?

What are you going to do about the negative people who don’t want you to have your stage? The ones who say, “Who do you think you are?” Will you let them keep you from doing what you love to do? I hope not. Instead, ask yourself, “Who do I think I am?” and then share this with the world.

Find your stage. Be full of yourself.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.