Are You Open to Unsought Opportunities?

FreedomIn your full time professional world you may have enjoyed the feeling of control over your activities and the approval from those around you. When Baby Boomers leave the comfort of that world, they will experience a major life change. The change requires navigating the emotional transition that arises from letting go of the past, traversing the period of unknowing, and welcoming the new beginnings. The degree to which you hang onto your need for control or approval during these phases will determine how smoothly you make your transition into your retirement lifestyle.

When you free yourself from your need for control or approval in the encore stage of life, you create space to allow unsought opportunities to arise. When you let go of the need to control what happens in your life you actually can experience greater fulfillment by being aware of the unexpected. This is a new chapter of your life. When you let go of your need for approval from those around you, you become freer to make new and exciting choices for your retirement lifestyle.

The Sedona Method is an effective process for releasing such limiting feelings. The 5 Step Process consists of:

Step 1 – Notice what you are feeling about wanting control or approval.

Step 2 – Ask yourself three questions:

  • Could I let this feeling go?
  • Could I allow this feeling to be here?
  • Could I welcome this feeling?

Step 3 – Ask yourself if you are willing to let go of the feeling.

Step 4 – Ask yourself when you will let it go.

Step 5 – Repeat these four steps until you no longer experience your feeling.

For a more complete description of this deceptively simple, yet powerful, process, please see http://www.sedona.com

When you let go of your need for control or approval you can more easily accept the dynamics of transitioning through the change into your retirement life. Allow yourself to surrender to the process, have faith in yourself and those around you, and trust that everything is as it should be in the present moment.

What do you do to be open to unsought opportunities?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

 

What Are Your Three Wishes?

Wishes for retirementThe encore stage of life for Baby Boomers can look like a blank slate. What will you fill your blank slate with so that you make your transition with ease and live a unique and exciting lifestyle in the encore stage of your life?

You may have spent many years in the familiar structure of your full time work world. Now is your chance to write a new chapter for your retirement lifestyle. What do you want to include in it? One place to start is to make the time to reflect back on your entire lifetime with the focus on what went well for you over the years in the various aspects of your life. What would you like to get more of in these next years?

Making use of the organizational development tool known as Appreciative Inquiry* (AI) can help clarify what you want in your own encore years.

5-D AI Process

  • Definition – Decide what to learn more about.
  • Discover – What is the best that is in your life.
  • Dream – What is possible for your future.
  • Design – Innovative ways to create your new future.
  • Delivery – Implement and sustain the changes for your future.

Points to ponder-

  • Describe the most energizing moment, a real “high” from your professional life. What made it possible?
  • Describe what you value most about yourself – don’t be humble.
  • Describe how you stay positively affirmed, renewed, energized, enthusiastic, inspired.
  • Describe your three concrete wishes for your retirement lifestyle.

Many people believe that energy flows where your attention goes. Focus on where you experienced positive energy in your past. Now you can choose what you want more of in the encore stage of your life.

*Appreciative Inquiry is a methodology developed by Professor David Cooperrider and his colleagues at Case Western Reserve University and is used throughout the world. http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

Two Secrets for Building Trust

Retirement identityLeaving the full time work world may cause Baby Boomers to feel a disruption of trust in their identity. The dictionary defines trust as the confident expectation of something; hope. When you enter the encore stage of your life, you may experience many changes that are unexpected which can alter your level of trust in your own identity.

Being immersed in the familiar structure and community of your full time work world can give you confidence in who you are, what you can do, and your life in general. Transitioning into your retirement lifestyle can shatter that confidence.  You no longer have those familiar props to define you. What do you trust your identity to be now?

Courage and curiosity are two attributes that you can use to renew your trust in yourself in the encore stage of your life. When you let go of your previous identity, you can build a new one through being courageous and curious.

The dictionary definition of courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.  Entering your retirement years is a major life change that can create feelings of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about what your identity will be in your unknown future.

Curiosity is defined by the dictionary as the desire to learn or know about anything. You can transition through this major change into the encore stage of your life by activating your curiosity and learning about the many new opportunities that are available to you now.

You may have used your courage and curiosity to be successful in your professional world. Now you can employ these strengths to design your own unique and exciting retirement lifestyle.

Reflections to build trust

  1. Set aside an hour for quiet inner reflection to better understand how courage and curiosity have served you throughout your life.
  2. Look back over your life and pick three major life changes that you navigated successfully.
  3. Write down what you did to be courageous during those changes.
  4. Describe how being curious helped you establish your new identity in each life change.

From what you now know about your ability to be courageous and curious, how will you trust them to create your identity for the encore stage of your life?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

 

Little Changes Make a Big Difference

Accepting the changes that come from leaving their full time work world may be difficult for Baby Boomers. Even though this major life change may bring new opportunities, you may feel more comfortable with preserving the status quo. This feeling can lead to resistance, even though there is a promise for a better future in the encore stage of your life.

The next time you feel resistant to change in your retirement life and you are having a difficult time accepting it, try making the change in small increments – one little step at a time.

Here are 8 bits of wisdom to help you accept your retirement lifestyle changes:

  1. Acceptance of change doesn’t have to be some big and formal event.
  2. Change can happen in many little ways.
  3. Try making changes in small increments – say, 10%. 10% doesn’t sound like much, but the impact can be profound.
  4. Your life is actually filled with dozens of little changes happening around you and to you all the time, which hardly seem worth noting. But 10% + 10% + 10% adds up.
  5. Every one of the little changes in your life means that there are also little beginnings taking shape and building a larger whole.
  6. 10% is certainly something you can learn to accept in the encore stage of your life when it comes to change.
  7. Don’t think of change in terms of “all or nothing,” “100% or zero percent.” Instead, think of accepting change in smaller doses.
  8. Minor events can have major impacts on living your retirement life with fulfillment and contribution.

Making small changes as you adjust to your encore stage of life can help you to eliminate resistance and feel like you have more control.

What small changes will you make this week to enrich your retirement lifestyle?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

 

What Is the ROI of Your Time?

Clock for the encore stage of lifeWhen fully immersed in their full time work world, Baby Boomers’ personal and professional lives can be filled to overflowing with a myriad of activities every day. When you leave your work world, and all of the related activities, life can seem to move in slow motion. The empty spaces in your calendar may loom ominously. How will you spend your time?

Fill your calendar with new activities. You may now feel overjoyed to have the freedom of your encore years to do the many things you have longed to do and yet never made the time to do them.

Fill your calendar with action steps to achieve new and existing goals to make your retirement lifestyle fulfilling.

Leave open spaces in your calendar to allow yourself to be drawn to new inspiration for renewing and reinventing yourself in the encore stage of your life.

I suggest you closely observe how you actually spend your time during one full week to see where your intuition leads you and what activities draw your interest.

Witness your actions

  1. Print a one-week calendar that shows hourly increments for each day. Or, use a calendar journal with hourly increments.
  2. Record on your calendar how you spend your time during each hour of each day throughout the week.
  3. When the week has ended, take some time to reflect on what activities filled the hours of each day of your week. What activities were related, were repeated, were random? What activities inspired or energized you? What do you want to do more of, do less of?
  4. Ask yourself whether or not your actions support your values and the achievement of your retirement lifestyle goals. What changes in how you spend your time during the week would help you upgrade the quality of your life and give you a better return on your investment of time and energy?
  5. Print another one-week calendar that shows hourly increments for each day. Schedule time for those activities that you want to make sure you include each day and/or week to ensure that you live your encore stage of life to the fullest.

Know that your calendar can change again and again as you take action to continually upgrade the quality of your life. As you grow, you will experience new inspiration and interests on your journey through your retirement lifestyle.

What is the return you are currently receiving on the investment of your time?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

 

How to Get What You Want in Your Encore Years

Lifestyle in encore stage of lifeEnvisioning the lifestyle for the encore stage of life can feel very overwhelming to Baby Boomers as they leave their full time work world. It’s a stage of life that you have not lived before and the traditional retirement lifestyle may not fit what you want for yourself.

But, what do you want? How easy is it for you to clarify in your own mind what you want? How easy is it for you to articulate what you want so that you can clearly envision it and experience it in your encore stage of life?

Depending upon your early conditioning, it may be easy for you to envision what you want and to ask for it for your retirement lifestyle. What conditioning did you receive when you were growing up about getting what you want? Were you able to ask for what you wanted and frequently rewarded by receiving it? Or, were your wants often denied to the point that you no longer believed that your desires were worthwhile? You may have stopped allowing yourself to want anything. You may even have permitted others to tell you what to want.

No matter what your early conditioning was, your encore stage of life is a new chapter for you and you have the opportunity to make it be what you want. You do have a toolkit of inner resources which you can use to create your vision for the third phase of your life.

Visioning Toolkit

Values – reflecting back over your entire life, what have been your core values by which you have lived your life? These same values can guide you as you design your vision for the next stage of your life.

Inner strengths – what unique strengths have others recognized in you and sought you out because of these strengths? Numerous personal assessment surveys exist to help you understand your inner strengths. One such free assessment is the VIA Survey of Character Strengths at http://bit.ly/a6MN

Interests – what have you been interested in, both personally and professionally, that you want to carry forward into the encore stage of your life? How willing are you to try new experiences? What vision do you hold for what interests will manifest in this new chapter?

Mindset – what is your prevailing mindset as you design your retirement lifestyle? Is it positive and proactive, or is it negative and discouraged? You can discover your own mindset with the free assessment by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. at http://www.mindsetonline.com

Whatever vision you create for any or all aspects of your encore stage of life, know that it will be subject to change as time goes on. Trust the use of your inner resources to upgrade and alter your vision for every aspect of your life with clarity and confidence.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

10 Tips to Transition with Ease into Your Encore Years

Transition into encore stageNavigating the transition from the full time work world to the encore stage of life can disrupt Baby Boomer’s identity. The transition period between their previous professional focused identities to their retirement lifestyle identities can feel very unsettling. What will you consider your identity to be during this period of in-between knowing?

This phase of transition allows you the opportunity of deep self-exploration and transformation. You may experience it as a major struggle or a time of wonder.

What identity do you want to take on for your encore years? What aspects of your previous identity will you carry forward that will serve you in new ways? What aspects will no longer be useful and should be released?

10 tips to transition with ease into your encore years:

  1. Have the courage to recognize that you are experiencing a major life transition.
  2. Believe in yourself and whatever higher power supports you.
  3. Be gentle and patient with yourself as you explore new ways of doing and being.
  4. Allow yourself to not have all of the answers, or be in control.
  5. Observe your habits and routines to determine which ones serve you now.
  6. Notice what you are pretending to not know.
  7. Trust that you will always have everything that you need.
  8. Practice gratitude for what you do have.
  9. Seek good company that supports and inspires you.
  10. Show up in the present moment and give your very best.

As you enter your encore stage of life, you can create whatever identity that you desire. It will include both who you are being in the world and how you spend your time during your retirement lifestyle. What are your strengths and values to tap into now to build your new identity? What strengths and value do you have to offer others as you make new contributions to society? Now is the time to create your best life yet.

My story

Whenever I experience myself going through transitions – major or minor, I refer to these ten ways to restore my sense of ease. There will be moments when I feel stuck and have no idea what to do next. Other times I will feel like I am lost in space, drifting through the unknown. When I pause and remember to consider these ten tips, my confidence and clarity are restored. I know I will make it to my next new beginning with ease.

How will you transition with ease into your encore years?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

 

How Comfortable Are You with Ambiguity?

Ambiguity for Baby BoomerThe major life change for Baby Boomers when they leave their full time work world is an external event that happens. How will you experience your transition through your change into your encore stage of life? You will go through endings and new beginnings, bridged together with periods of unknowing which can feel very unsettling in your retirement lifestyle.

If you have been deeply immersed in your full time work world, you may have felt very comfortable and confident with your responsibilities and your relationships. When you move into your retirement, you may feel overwhelmed by your unknown future. It may seem so ambiguous to you.

Your encore stage of life is a time for exploring yourself in new ways. You may feel bewildered by all of the questions you ask yourself about how to spend your time and what your identity will be. Instead of trying to take control of your life as you may have been used to doing in your work world, I suggest that you give yourself time and space to allow new understanding and new opportunities to arise. You’ve never been in your encore stage of life before. It is a new time to ask yourself new questions and make new choices for yourself.

The poem below by Rainer Maria Rilke beautifully states how to understand this time of unknowing.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Approach your encore stage of life with humility and patience, feeling gratitude for your capacity to expand your own self awareness. This exploration will strengthen your ability to live a retirement lifestyle of fulfillment and contribution, leaving a legacy of your choice.

What questions are you living right now?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

Do You Practice Life-Long Learning?

Learning in encore yearsWhat will your identity be when you leave your full time work world and enter into the encore stage of your life? This stage of life gives baby boomers an opportunity to branch out and explore new ways of being and doing during their retirement years.

One support for clarifying your new identity is life-long learning. If you were totally immersed in your professional world, the learning you experienced over the years may have been focused on acquiring work-related knowledge, skills and abilities. How will learning manifest in your retirement lifestyle?

Expand your expertise

You can build on the expertise that you already have, as well as explore new learning topics, resulting in numerous benefits. Should you want to take another form of employment or volunteerism, you may need to update your skills in order to be relevant and successful. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn about a particular subject and never took the time to do so while you were working. If you plan to travel, you may want to learn a new language that could make your travel experience richer.

There are other benefits you can receive from learning new subjects. Brain science is learning more and more about how learning stimulates the brain cells and can slow the aging process. When you learn about new subjects, you can also become a more interesting conversationalist. And, in the learning process, you will meet new, like-minded people.

Share your expertise

Your encore stage of life is a prime time to share your existing expertise, as well as your newly acquired knowledge. You can teach the subject matter to others, either in the form of employment or as a volunteer. As you teach, you continue to learn more about the subject as well as yourself and interacting with others. Lastly, you will leave a legacy of the value of your expertise with others who learn from you.

How to enhance your expertise

There are numerous ways to refine what you already know and learn about new subjects that fit your retirement lifestyle, such as:

  • Online learning
  • Universities, colleges, community colleges
  • Professional associations
  • Centers for life-long learning
  • Government agencies

How will life-long learning enrich your retirement lifestyle?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

 

Discover Your Family Treasure

Stories of familyThe encore years of life offer Baby Boomers a time for reflection and conversations to discover valuable family stories. When you uncover the stories you hold for your own life you create greater awareness of how you fit into your family. And, when you share your stories with others in your family, you expand their perspective of their own lives, as well as of the family as a whole.

Reflections on your own life stories can help you design your retirement lifestyle. What do you remember as the most important? Are there any repetitive themes? How can they inform your choices for the next stage of your life?

Discovery Process

There are many ways you can discover your family treasures, including:

  • Journals and diaries that you and others have kept, or currently write.
  • Asking other relatives what they remember about events that you remember – their memories may be illuminating.
  • Allow other relatives to interview you with their own questions which you may never have thought of.
  • Record your discoveries to share in the future by writing them down, or by making audio or video recordings.

Sharing Your Stories

Family members may think they know each other well when they have grown up together. Other relatives may know each other superficially because they see each one another infrequently. Instead of keeping conversations on a mundane level, I encourage you to share the wisdom you have accumulated throughout your life when you reach your retirement years. Your stories will allow others of all generations to know and appreciate you more. Your perspectives on life can inform family members of new ways of experiencing life.

Throughout the ages, and in other cultures, the wisdom of the elders has been highly regarded. I recommend that you gather your own stories and the stories of your family and actively keep them alive by sharing them with one another often.

What family treasures will you discover in your encore years?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com