Updates from new blog at www.nextchapternewlife.com/blog/

Friday, December 5, 2008

Retire? I have to keep working since: I don’t know what to do

Really? If your kids were saying the second half of that sentence you'd give them a bad time about finding something fun to do. You'd send them to their room to find a game or outside to enjoy nature. Its time to do that for yourself.

Yet,I totally understand where you're coming from. I spent years working 60 hour weeks and traveling almost weekly. Work and life balance had no meaning to me. How can you balance something completely weighted on one side with nothing on the other? I found three day holiday weekends a struggle. I could fill up two days easily with the various catch up chores of life, but if you added another day, I was toast. When I retired at 49, I had numerous people predict I'd be back in a year. They knew I loved my work and they also knew I didn't really have too much else going on in my life. Huhh. Little did they know!!

There are a few things you need to calibrate to help you with this problem. 1- You need to redefine retirement 2 – You need to discover the world of a million possibilities 3- You can't just sit on your duff and expect a solution to fall out of the sky. So, my friend, lets take each point here and more fully explain my message.

  • Redefine retirement. In past times, retirement meant stopping working, going home and stopping being a viable contributor. People in that group, no matter their background or intelligence, became marginalized, less valuable. In a large part, they contributed to that image. But your retirement means one primary thing: the freedom to do what you want, however you want to do it. Oh man, that's huge. Never in your life have you had an opportunity like this. As a kid, you had to finish school. If you went to college, you had to get the degree. As a worker, you had to support yourself and probably a family with all the trimmings. But now, no prescription, no recipe, no counselor pointing out colleges. It's just you. That means if you want to work but just not full time, you can. Or if you want to be a bass fishing guide four months out of the year, you can do that too. If you want to finally volunteer overseas, go for it. And if you need some income, just not as much as you're making now, then start thinking outside of the box. If you could do whatever you wanted to do, what would it be? As an adult, we learn by doing, so you may not have all the answers before you give yourself the pink slip. The main point is to start thinking, make a plan. If you need to adjust the plan, adjust it and keep doing things until that AHA! Moment takes place and you realize you have stumbled on to your own version of heaven.
  • Discover the world of a million possibilities. Has your dream muscle withered away? Remember when you were young and ridiculous? You had a million dreams, one day you were going to publish a book, the next day you were going to be a police officer. Each dream was exciting, filled with infinite possibility. You need to get back into the dream gym and start working out dude, you're getting flabby.
  • Two things to do: 1- Here's an exercise. Think back to the time when you were truly excited about something you were planning to do. How did that feel? What was it about the plan that got you charged up? List the characteristics of that experience. Was it a new job assignment where you got to travel? Was it when you moved to another state, that you had always loved? Were you going to be able to work with your sibling? Now are the juices flowing? What other kinds of things would get you going? Add these items to the list. 2-Here's another exercise, do it,,you aren't tired yet!! Take the thread of even the tiniest item of interest and start researching it. Go out on the Internet and Google it to see what it brings up. See what other things are related it to. Go expose yourself to these things. Sign up for a class, or go talk to someone who does these things and find out what they like. It's almost shocking to see how much is out there for us to do. If you are sitting out there saying you aren't really interested in anything,,that just won't do. There are things in your life that interest you. I have a friend who said that to me a few years ago. She was a gal who loved fine jewelry, she now makes jewelry. You simply have to look at what you do as a place to start.

Wheww! Are you working up a sweat? You have much more to do, but I leave you with an expansion of my last point.

  • Your future won't fall into your lap out of the sky. You must take responsibility for your future. Only you can decide to make your life exciting or ho-hum. Even not making a decision, is a decision. Pick a time each week, an hour or an amount you know you can consistently devote. Put that time on your calendar. Make your future a priority, keep your appointments. Take that time and start mapping out your future. Do your researches, make those calls, enroll in a class, meet with a coach, start day dreaming, but whatever you do, take action.

In summary, just know that working is fine when you are ready to retire. But continue to work because you love it, not because you don't have something else to do.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I hate my job …Am I too old to change careers?

Even though you will live to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 90-100 years of age, spending a major amount of your time doing something you hate is way too much time lost. The quick answer is, No, you aren't too old to change careers.

A myth that has and does exist in our society is that "older" people aren't wanted in the business setting. We cost too much, we're too out of date and we are just: out of it. I have never believed this and now that I'm in the group we're talking about, I still don't believe it. If you are one of those unfortunate people that does believe this, I ask you now to work on getting rid of that unhelpful line of thinking. What you think can manifest itself in your life. If you don't believe me, read Dr. Dwayne Dyer's book The Power of Intention. He basically outlines for you that your thinking almost literally programs you to accomplish whatever those thoughts are. Call it the power of positive thinking, call it whatever you want but by this time in your life, you have heard this message in one form or another – you will get further in life by a good, positive attitude than a negative one. So, first thing is to change your thought patterns, by whatever means you can muster.

The next thing to know is that you need to start working on your escape plan. Time to do something you love, not just like. Figuring this out will be heavy lifting, so know that up front. But, don't chicken out, you don't just have wonderful things magically appear; you must work on yourself if you're going to make great things happen.

If you're sitting there not knowing where to turn and what to do, my first advice to you is to start by doing an analysis of yourself. I would develop a list of all of the kind of work you have experience with. Don't make this a general description like "computer programmer", really list the work like coding, coordinating meetings, inspecting equipment, creating tests, etc. Once you have that list (which you can continue to add to over time), make two columns, one column labeled as "work I like" and the other "work I never want to do again". Then check each item in one column or the other. Add work elements to the list you might not have ever done, but would like to such as "healing arts, working with children, artistic" (these go into the "work I like") Look at the "Work I like" very critically and start thinking outside the box. What kind of work does this suggest? Next, do a work environment list and evaluate it. By work environment, I'm talking about things like what work situations have you worked best in. It can cover things like travel, work teams, or solo projects. You have to figure out what it is that just doesn't work for you at this point, and what you think would work for you.

You now need to kick into research mode. Go to the library and check out several books on job search, retooling yourself and all other related topics. There are loads of these kinds of books. Most of them have exercises like I mentioned and many others that will help you start arriving at some actions and conclusions. I also wouldn't be shy of considering seriously retooling yourself by going back to school. If you have always thought teaching was great, then get your teaching credential. Go talk to people in the professions that hold interest for you, learn more about the work (and in the process you might make a great future contact) The bottom-line is that you have to work at getting new work. You need to treat this one like it is a job in itself. The reward will be worth the effort.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't toss in a few pearls of wisdom on how you're feeling about now. If you are one of these people, you probably haven't taken that next big step because of your own fears. That's normal. Change can be such a frightening thing that it will cause us to stop dead in our tracks, looking like a deer in the headlights. It's too hard to move, yet it's too hard to stay. At least with staying where you are, you know the terrain. You might not like it, but it has a comforting feeling of familiarity to it. Yuk!! Change for pity sakes. I must now quote a former boss of mine: "You must always make fear and anxiety your friend, because the minute you lose them and get comfortable, you will be too afraid to move forward."

So, there you have it. Don't stay at a job or job situation you can't stand and just know that you can recreate yourself at any age. Colonel Sanders didn't start his empire until he was well into his 60's.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Introducing Next Chapter, New Life

Hi, I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Dorothy Tannahill Moran and I am now open for business as a life coach focusing on changes in your life and retirement readiness.

So what, pray tell, is that all about? My aim is to help people go through the process of defining their goals and actions around major changes and transition they are making in their life. Facing transition can be a daunting task. It's uncomfortable and can be frightening. At the same time, it can be exciting. No matter what reactions it might invoke in you, just know that I'm here to help you navigate the murky waters and help you along the way.

To many people, it doesn't make sense that making a change can be so difficult to do. Change is hard, if it was easy, we would all lose weight, stop smoking, exercise and quit that dreaded job. As humans, we are constantly seeking to get comfortable with our surroundings and situations. When we move into a new place, we work hard to unpack, put everything away and find the new favorite spot to sit. We're seeking comfort. It's one thing to make a change; it's totally different to experience the transition that comes with it. It's the transition that we are avoiding.

So, what is transition and why do we avoid it? Change is an action or event. Examples of this: you move to a new place, you get a new job. Transition is the emotional and mental "reorganization" that you always go through when you make a change, no matter how big or small the change might be. The process is inevitable and not always pleasant. You can feel insecure about your decision or even your own capabilities. You might feel sad about the lose of your previous life and all that went with it.

Let me illustrate what I'm saying with this example. Almost all of us at one time or another has either had a bad job situation and if you haven't you know of someone who has. Despite how bad the various aspects were, you might of "hung in there" hoping it would improve. You might have gone through a stage of wanting to leave but feeling hopeless about what else you might do, or that you really had to stay because you had one more thing to accomplish or felt disloyal to the people that have become your friends. I could fill a page with the various stories we tell ourselves. At the end of the day, being in a miserable situation is at least something we are familiar with and know what to expect. A new job would mean all kinds of other stories. You would no longer know your job; you'd be in a learning curve. You wouldn't have friends surrounding you anymore. You don't know if the new boss is good or bad. There might be other bigger ego feeding things like, people not treating you like the alpha dog you were. Again, the stories about "the new thing" are numerous. As you examine these less-than-positive stories, this is the partial list that makes up transition. These are emotional-mental issues. They aren't always comfortable. BUT, the rewards of making a change can be huge, so we make these changes with the full knowledge that once we make the change and slog our way through the transition, that life will be much better.

People that write about transition often say that you can't speed up transition because it is about an emotional process and that happens at its own rate. I believe this concept in part. I have found it comforting to understand the process and to know that taking action to move myself forward helps immensely. Over the course of my life as an operations manager for a high tech firm, change was a constant. I have dealt with change and transition for over 21 years for myself and hundreds of people in my organizations. I have found that the combination of transition process knowledge and action plans is good, effective approaches.

Enter, Next Chapter, New Life. I purposely picked that name because each of us will face finishing the chapter we're in and moving on to the next one. As humans, we are in a constant state of change. It is my purpose to help you define that next chapter in such a way that you'll be excited about your life to come.