A Retirement Retreat - Retirement Net by Lin Schreiber

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A Retirement Retreat

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8 steps to a successful, do-it-yourself retirement planning retreat

Posted June 24, 2011

As a businesswoman, I take an annual retreat each December to reflect on the past year, review my three-year vision, and plan the coming year. It was my brilliant virtual assistant Donna Gunter who first turned me on to the idea, after she learned of the concept from successful business coach Chris Barrow in the UK.

I’ve enjoyed my annual retreat tremendously. It’s been incredibly useful in helping me continually expand the outer of edges of what I think is possible—in my business, and in my life.

It’s worked so well, that I now encourage my clients to use an adapted version of the retreat to help plan their encore lives, formerly known as "retirement."

Here’s how you can do it:

1. Book 3 days on your calendar. Sure you’re busy, but we’re talking about planning the rest of your life, so carve out some quality time for your retreat. Ideally it’ll be three consecutive days, and at a time of year when you can breathe a little easier. If you can’t manage three days in a row, spread them out over the month, but make sure that they’re three whole days. You’ll need them.

2. Get away from life’s distractions. A cabin in the woods or a cottage by the beach would be terrific. Not in the cards? Don’t let that stop you. One year, I spent my retreat at the Williams College library, one of the quietest public places I’ve ever been in. Leave the cell phone at home, and if you’re using a laptop, don’t fire up the Internet.

3. Find a peaceful place to be. You’ll want to be in a place where you can quiet yourself enough to hear your Internal Guidance System, or what I like to call your IGS. It’s like the GPS in your car, only better, because it’ll never let you down. Your IGS is your own wisdom, your deep inner knowing, and it’s impossible to tune in to when there’s a lot of commotion in your space.

4. Ask yourself the really hard questions. Start with what kind of a life do you really want? You’ll want to answer this one as if money is not an issue. Then, ask yourself what’s enough . . . what do you really need to be happy? And, finally who do you want to be in this next stage of life? Have you spent decades turning yourself inside out being what was expected of you in your work? Then you’re ready to let the "real" you out, and live your most authentic life.

5. Be brutally honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly of your life. Writing down everything about your life that you really like is a great place to start. But, don’t stop there. Write down everything you don’t like about your life as it is right now in all arenas of your life including health, purpose/work, play, love, relationships, money, spirit, and any others you come up with. Then, flip each one of the sentences on your "don’t like" list into the positive, and you’ll start to clarify what you do want.

6. Write your ideal encore life vision. This is where you really get to have some fun. Let go of your dinky thinking and really use your imagination to create the best possible what’s next in every arena of your life. Keep working it until everything in this vision puts a great big smile on your face.

7. Write your three-year vision. It doesn’t matter if you’re "retiring" tomorrow or 5 years from now. Armed with your encore life vision as your road map, write down what you would like to accomplish in the next 36 months towards your vision. Know that this is a living, breathing document that will continue to evolve and change at least once a year at your annual retreat.

8. Create a 90-Day Goals List. Finally, you’ll want to design your action plan for the next three months. Take the seven (or more) life arenas you worked with in number five, and create three goals for each arena. Create a new 90-Day Goals list every quarter, and be sure to mark it on your calendar, so you’ll continue to be fueled toward your encore life vision.

One of the advantages of this do-it-yourself retirement planning retreat, is it offers you a terrific opportunity to think big, get in touch with what’s real for you, and start aligning your encore life with the real you. Enjoy!

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.


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