Don't Be Afraid of Retirement
Tips to help defeat the three most common retirement fears.
Posted July 25, 2011
So, you're ready to retire, but you just can't bring yourself to pull the plug on the status quo of your life. You're feeling fearful about what life will be like for you in the next stage. Whether it's lurking persistently below the surface, or you're completely paralyzed by it (or somewhere in between), it's keeping you stuck right where you are. In your heart you know you want to move on.
The bad news is fear never really goes away. The good news is you can learn to move through it, once you understand which type of fear is holding you back.
Here are the three most common types of fear that can keep you from taking the leap into your next grand adventure, formerly called “retirement”:
1. Fear of the Future. If you're suffering from an acute case of WIS (What If Syndrome: “What if I get sick, run out of money, lose my spouse, am bored,” etc.), then you're definitely afraid of the future. The only problem with playing the “What If” game is it takes you completely out of the present, and that's the only place where creation happens. Not only does this fear keep you stuck, it also keeps you from designing and implementing the life that you really want to be living. So, what if you looked to the future with hope and excitement, instead of fear and trepidation? What if you explored all the many options and opportunities that are available to you, instead of conjuring up things that may never occur? What if you created your own future, based on who you are, and how you want to be living your life, instead of letting your fear limit what's possible? When you push through your fear of the future, you ignite the wonderful world of possibility, and fire up your ability to create life the way you want it.
2. Fear of Leaving Your Comfort Zone. Take a moment to explore where you are right now in your life. You may think what you're feeling is comfort, but more likely what you're feeling is numb. Are you in the “wow zone” or are you in a rut? When you're in the wow zone, you feel fully alive, can't wait to get out of bed in the morning, excited about what each new day will bring. When you're in a rut, you're just going through the motions. Remember this bumper sticker wisdom -- the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. When you push through the fear of leaving your comfort zone, you build confidence, and discover the real “juice” in life.
3. Fear of Failure. This is a sneaky one. Think you're afraid of failing? Think again. I've seen hundreds of women bump up against what they think is the fear of failing. And, in nearly every case, what they're really afraid of is succeeding. Think about that for a minute. First of all, so-called “failure” is really an illusion, because you can use it to teach you, inform you and strengthen you, so you can adjust your sails and go in a different direction. As long as you learn from every experience, there's no failure. Second, isn't your fear really about being your brilliant, beautiful, powerful self? You have a sense of all that you would gain, but you're afraid of what you might lose. And, the operative word here is “might.” When you push through your fear of success, you give yourself permission to shine your light and go for “it,” whatever “it” looks like for you. And, you give the people around you permission to shine, too.
Each time you face your fear, you reduce its power to hold you back. The less power it has, the more power (and control over your life) you have. In fact, you can actually use fear to fuel you forward in your life. So when you find yourself fearing the future, open to all the wonderful possibilities the future holds. When you're in the deadly rut of your comfort zone, burst out of it and discover a more confident you. When fear of failure is staring you down, give yourself permission to shine no matter what, and craft your retirement into the life you've always wanted live.
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.