Here are the six essential steps to the new life you really want.
Posted January 24, 2011
You’re yearning to be free of all your old constraints—including your current career—and to create work that’s deeply fulfilling and makes a difference in people’s lives. At the same time you long to uncover those parts of yourself that have been long buried and breathe life into them. You’re hungry for more balance, and to express yourself creatively, too. And, you want it all yesterday. Right?
Slow down, girl.
As someone who spent a good part of her life pushing ahead to the next big accomplishment, rushing to the next greater goal, charging off in search of the next destination, I can tell you first-hand how important the process is. In fact, I’m embarrassed to say that for a long time I didn’t even know there was a process.
In the transition into my own “retirement”, I learned the hard, painful way that the journey is really the destination. And I can tell you, the more you’re able to enjoy and be present in the journey, the easier the transition, and the better the end result. If you go through this transition the same way you’ve always gone through transitions, you’re just going to end up with more of the same old same old, instead of the new life you really want.
The biggest mistake I made was jumping right to step #5 in the process, the planning stage. Okay, so I can hear you saying, “Well, planning is good, isn’t it? Why not start there?” Because you’ll miss 4 of the 6 incredibly important steps you’ll need to take you from where you are right now in your life to living the life you really want to be living. And, believe me, you’ll be so overwhelmed trying to plan your life without building a solid foundation and gaining some clarity first that you’ll never even get to #6.
If you make my mistake of diving right in without taking the time to experience the process, you’ll miss all the fun. And I guarantee you won’t be happy with what you end up with.
The 6 essential steps to creating a revolutionary retirement are:
1. Give yourself permission. This is not as simple as it seems. In fact, this is a really big one. Bottom line, it’s never going to happen, if you don’t give yourself permission. Not just to retire from your current work life. That’s hard enough. But, to go for it—all of it—whatever “it” is for you.
Once you give yourself permission, you’re on your way. Until you give yourself permission, you can wish and hope and dream all you want, but you’ll stay standing rooted in place right where you are. Oh, and don’t worry if you don’t know what “it” is. That’s part of the process!
2. Develop patience. Impatience will kill the dream of your new life faster than anything. Everything has its time and its place, and it takes time to do it right. If you start by creating a plan first, you’ll cut out the most important parts of the process -- the parts that will help you discover who you are, and how you want to live your life. When you find yourself getting impatient because you’re not “there” yet, remind yourself that you don’t even know where “there” is. Then, take a deep breath and relax.
3. Discover your passion. Okay, you’re really good at what you do. But, does it light you up from the inside, pull you out of bed each day, energize and enliven you? Maybe it did at one time, but be honest. The zest is gone. Part of your journey is to uncover what would bring you the most joy in this next stage of your life. Give yourself permission to take all the time you need. You won’t be sorry.
4. Define your purpose. Someone once told me that you don’t find your purpose, your purpose finds you. If that’s true, this becomes the easiest step. When you’ve uncovered your passion, you’ve discovered your gift. Sharing your gift is your purpose. It’s what you came here for. It’s as simple as that.
5. Design a plan. Okay, now you’re ready for the planning stage. You’ve expanded your thinking, explored all possibilities, and have gained clarity. You know who you are, how you want to live, what you came here to do. Take a look at where you are right now. How big is the gap between where you are and where you want to be? What do you have to do to close that gap, step-by-step? That’s your plan.
6. Pursue it, pursue it, pursue it. There’s nothing left to do but to go for it. Your plan is a roadmap to your future. As you take each step along the way, be open to the opportunities that arise. They may appear, at first glance, as detours. Take a second look and consider the possibility that a path you hadn’t explored may be your next great adventure.
Remember, to get the results you want, take all the time you need, and do it differently this time. After all, the destination is the journey, and the journey is everything.
Lin Schreiber, PCC, is a Retirement Revolutionary who loves helping self-reliant women reinvent themselves in the next stage of life, formerly known as “retirement.” Lin is featured on the PBS series Boomers: Redefining Life After Fifty, and is the author of The ABC’s of Retiring Retirement. A Professional Certified Coach, Certified Retirement Coach, and founder of Revolutionize Retirement, Lin combines her contagious enthusiasm, nonstop energy, and passion for her subject to create a fun, dynamic learning environment that energizes and inspires her audiences.