Relationships are all about WE and US, not ME.

How many times have you, or someone you know say, “THEY are not making ME happy, there’s something wrong with THEM, MY needs are not being met.” Or alternatively, “If only THEY would… I would be happy.”

One of the couple complains the other defends, the temperature rises in the room, feelings get hurt, the argument escalates, and the relationship goes downhill from there.

WE’ve all had conversations just like these. We are all too aware of how conversations like these will end. WE hate listening to conversations like these between those around us. WE are well aware that our homes, our families, our communities, the public media, popular literature, are awash in conversations just like these.

I call these conversations ME-based conversations. They are full of ME, MY feelings, MY experiences, MY needs, and how I am being frustrated.

But what if shifted the way WE talk about our relationships from ME-based language to WE-based language?

What if WE were to say instead, “WE are not making ME happy; there something wrong with US, OUR needs as a couple are not being met?”

With this simple linguistic shift in the way WE speak about ourselves to ourselves and others WE take our partner off their hot seat, stop making them wrong and the one accountable for our feelings, responsible for the dysfunction of our relationship with them.

Isn’t it a lot easier to hear our partner when they tell us, “WE are not making ME happy,” “There something about US, how WE speak and listen to each other that isn’t working for US.” Isn’t “WE need to take a look at how successfully WE are doing US.” easier to hear than, “if only YOU would…then I would be happy.”

With this simple clever shift in the way WE talk about ourselves WE take our partner off the hot seat, stop making them responsible for our feelings and upsets. When our partner no longer has to defend themselves in the face of our upset and dissatisfactions – then WE can shift our attention to where it belongs, to US, about WE, and what is going on between US. Once WE have accomplished this, WE can begin to discuss, focus upon those thoughts left unsaid, misspoken, mistaken and misunderstood.

As a WE, speaking with one another as an US, WE have an opportunity to powerfully listen to one another. Together, WE are able to focus upon our WE-practices and take a good look at persistent behaviors and ways of our being together that are hurtful, unproductive, identify and examine those behaviors that simply don’t work for an US, any US.

As a WE in partnership with our relationship at stake, WE can look for what is missing, that if present would make a difference for US as individuals and bring new workability, expanded love, relatedness and intimacy to our WE.

And then We can be happy.

 

 

 

10 Things to Be Grateful For

Retirement gratitudeDuring their transition from their full time work world into the encore stage of life, Baby Boomers may experience feelings of loss and letting go. These are valid feelings because you have left a very familiar way of life and they should be acknowledged. Losing a significant part of your life may cause feelings of lack because you no longer have what you had before. And, if you do not have a clear vision for your future retirement lifestyle, you may feel a great deal of scarcity and emptiness rather than rich abundance.

All this may feel very overwhelming. One powerful antidote to these feelings is focusing on that for which you are grateful at this new time of your life, whether large or small. Consider these:

10 Things to Be Grateful For

Yes, we’re thankful for our health, our safety, our loved ones. But what else? What do we take for granted? What moves us? What would fill our hearts daily if we would just notice it?

1. The senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste—daily miracles each of them.

2. The plant world. From the productivity of a late-summer tomato plant to the delicate unfurling of a fern, nature’s exuberance and tenderness is something to behold.

3. Opportunity. Our steady companion, opportunity is always ready to take us down a path yet unknown. (Hint: We have to say “Yes!”)

4. Beauty. What do your eyes feast on? What splendor makes your soul rejoice? It is all around us every day. How often do you stop to drink it in?

5. The ability to learn. There is no age limit on learning—period. When we stop learning, we really stop living.

6. Young children. They model for us innocence, faith, resilience, playfulness and unconditional love.

7. Music. What inspires you, lifts your mood? Rock & roll, African drumming, violin concertos, Turkish oud, gospel? A nightingale?

8. The ability to give. Every act of love benefits the giver as much as the receiver.

9. Color. Sunsets, Gauguin paintings, green peppers, blue eyes. Imagine a world without color….

10. Change. It’s unavoidable; the only constant. Change can be unsettling or challenging. But the mystery of it and what lies beyond it can keep us young at heart.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

 

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

 

Where Do You Start?

Encore startEven with the best designed plans, Baby Boomers can experience a shocking new reality when they leave their full time work world. Your encore stage of life may look like nothing you have ever known before. You may feel naked and alone without the familiar structure and community that supported you so well. How will you spend your time? What will your identity be? How will you make your transition with ease?

Whether you have already designed your retirement lifestyle, or feel overwhelmed about what could be possible, where will you start living the life you truly want and deserve?

Start with what is true for you right now

Pause and allow yourself to become engaged in your present moment. What do your senses tell you?

  • What do you feel right now?
  • What do you see right now?
  • What do you hear right now?
  • What do you smell right now?
  • What are you aware of within yourself?

This exercise will give you the courage and clarity to feel grateful for and contented with all that is true for you in the present moment. The present moment is the reality you have at all times. Everything else in your life is based upon your own perspective that comes from memories of your past or visions for your future. You can enrich the encore stage of your life by returning your attention to the present moment regularly. This is the starting point for each next step in every action you take in the third phase of your life.

When you create the habit of recognizing the reality of your present moment, you have the power to make the choices that will continually upgrade the quality of your retirement lifestyle – a lifestyle that is unique and exciting for you.

What is your true reality in this present moment?

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

 

Find Your Authentic Power

Authentic powerWhen navigating the transition from their full time work world, Baby Boomers have the opportunity to increase their self-awareness. As you design your encore lifestyle, what is your relationship between your personality and your Higher Self?

You may have lived your life driven by taking care of your individual demands and satisfying the demands of others. This worldly focus of your personality, or ego, can cause all sorts of discord and discomfort throughout your life. A life filled with striving for personal success indicates that you may have been unconscious of your Higher Self, or Soul.

Now you have an opportunity to enhance your experience of life in retirement by aligning yourself with your Higher Self. This higher energy can speak to you as your intuition and creativity. Your authentic power can motivate you to leverage your knowledge, wisdom, and expertise, to serve others without attachment to the outcome. You may feel a strong desire to live with greater ease and compassion.

My experience

For many years I based my life choices on fear and self-doubt. Finally, a health challenge forced me to reassess how I was living my life. I investigated numerous teachings and practices that all seemed to advise living in alignment with my Higher Self. Through practices of reading, writing, and reflection I have learned to live my life with trust, peace, and harmony. My daily practice of meditation reconnects me with my authentic power and sets me on a course for the day of ease and grace. I invite you to enjoy the same in your retirement lifestyle.

Many authors have written about how to live in alignment with your authentic power, Soul, or Higher Self. The Seat of the Soul Institute at http://seatofthesoul.com contains valuable information about how to explore this subject more thoroughly.

How will you live in alignment with your Higher Self during the encore stage of your life?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, http://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