Thoughts and such like.....
We all have heard that we are experiencing the largest transition of employees out of the workforce. Businesses are experiencing leadership shortages as baby boomers move into retirement and they struggle to replace the experience and corporate knowledge lost through this transition. In the 60’s and 70’s there were six Canadians under the age of 20 for every person over the age of 65. Today there are approximately three young Canadians for every elder and this gap is getting smaller.
And yet, we still cling to the recent tradition of retirement!
Are you trying to figure out your retirement? What are the questions you’re think of? Many people think it’s about finance – do I have enough money to retire? I ask, What does retirement look like to you?
If you have a good financial person, they will ask questions around what it is that you want to do in retirement, ask questions about your health and well-being – you can’t sail around the world if you have to visit the doctor monthly or on a variety of medications that need to be monitored. However, that doesn’t mean you can never do it – it really means what are you doing about your health today, that will allow you to carry out the dreams you have for retirement. It may mean taking control of your health and working with health professionals to see how and what you can do to get you off those medications and into a lifestyle and exercise plan that meet your goal of sailing somewhere!
What about friendships? Many of us find the majority of our friendships come through work, how do you plan to keep those friendships going? Look at yourself as an example, how many friends have you had who you no longer keep in touch with now that they are retired? This doesn’t mean that all the friends you have within your professional circle will no longer stay in touch once you retire, but it does beg the question: What are you doing to develop friendships outside work?
Thinking about retirement can bring joy or fear, maybe both. We don’t have the structures that are there for us in our first and second Acts, we sort of left to figure it out for ourselves. And yet, for many of us used to structure, where to start? It’s about taking a holistic approach, breaking it down into four categories – physical, mental/emotional, spiritual and financial. Because if you don’t know what you want to do in your retirement, how will you know what you need financially!
We run a program called the Third Act, it explores all the questions above and more. Remember you only have one life to live, and Remember, life is for living. You only have this one life to live. Live it to the fullest, laugh each day, try to hug at least one person, be grateful for what you have and support others who are struggling. And, in the meantime if you are struggling to come to grips with your Third Act, send us an email and we can talk!
‘It’s amazing the feeling you get, when you receive that piece of paper’, so went the opening sentence of a client who wanted to transition into his Third Act with intention. He was talking about receiving his senior citizen card and went on to describe the gamut of feelings he went through, disbelief, grief, anger – all negative. My response was to ask what was the positive in receiving the paper?
Age, what is it, a number, a feeling – really when we consider it, age is a time of being. We say ‘he has an old soul’ when we hear something profound coming out of the mouth of an eight-year-old, or when someone is acting goofy, ‘he/she should really act his/her age’, but what do we really mean?
Age as defined by Webster has a number of meanings, the best for me is:
‘the period contemporary with a person's lifetime or with his or her active life’
Research indicates that middle age runs from 40 – 64, and old age begins at 65. Who made this decision and does it resonate with you? I know many people who have decided they are old at 40, and yet I also know 90 year olds who still feel and live as if they were much younger.
To me age is a state of mind, however, it can also be a state of health. How do you envisage yourself as you get older – do you want to stride or shuffle into your nineties? Maybe you’ve been told that well you’ve no choice it’s your genes, however is that just an excuse? Dr. Neal Barnard suggests that there is a myth about the part genes play in our health in this short video.
Dr. Bernard is not alone in stating that our genes do not, and should not dictate our health, Dr. Michael Greger, in his book ‘How Not to Die’, talks about how ‘our diet can change our epigenetics and genetic expression’. So, we can’t change our genes, but we can change how they are manifested through diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Basically, what they, and others, are saying is that there is no excuse, it’s up to each of us individually to decide how much effort we are willing to put into looking at our health and how much we willing to change to ensure optimal health as we age. It really is about how you want to live out this third of your life. Me… I want to skid to that finish line without the aid of pharmacological drugs, drips and other such aids, so last year I overhauled my diet, and increased the amount of time I spent walking and exercising – my blood test results have improved dramatically in less than six months!
The other piece of optimal health is how we think and what we believe about aging, in his book ‘The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton demonstrates very effectively how every cell in our body can be affected by our thoughts, so if you feel miserable about aging, that misery may well show up in your body! Two questions for you:
What do you need to do that will allow you to feel and think more positively about aging and the gift of time you have?
Who do you need to recruit to support you as you move toward a healthy Third Act that motivates and excites you?
Oh, and by the way, that client, at the beginning, he too recognized if he wanted to achieve the goals he had laid out, he needed to lose weight and eat better – the excitement he felt in looking forward to this new Act certainly helped, as did having an accountability partner. Today seven years later, he’s lost a noticeable amount of weight, continues with his Third Act plan, travelling, studying and working part-time. And best of all, with this new attitude and way of life he’s found love, the second time around!
Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C. The Physicians Committee
Lipton, Bruce H., Ph.D. (2015) The Biology of Belief. Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles (10th ED). Hay House
Greger, Michael, Dr. (2015) How Not to Die. Flatiron Books, New York New York
Webster dictionary. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/age
In my last blog, I talked of the importance of taking vacations, and for me, just after Christmas (literally – I left home Boxing day!) I was lucky enough to visit my sister in Malaysia after really busy December. While away I was able to reflect on how I was feeling, physically and mentally, and boy did I feel wrung out. I’d juggled a number of jobs leading up to Christmas as well as hosting my son’s girlfriends parents and family over the Christmas break, strangers until they arrived! So I had pushed myself to my limits and really needed that break, which was wonderful.
Aside from the fact that it was great to visit with my sister and her family, she also understood my burnout and allowed me the space to recover, adding quiet support and time for me to recuperate from a long flight and the cold I’d caught. She thoughtfully laid on great treats, such as a mani/pedicure on the first day after I arrived, as well as travels to other cities, and asked for nothing.
Now, as I reflect back, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. When we work independently as solo entrepreneurs there is no one to say – ‘hey take a break’ or ‘how are you sleeping?’ We’re constantly trying to add value to the work we do for our clients, while at the same time hustling for new clients. We stress about our finances, we stress about the future, where will we find the next client all the while trying to serve the clients we have to the best of our ability! So all the while I was away, I was thinking about all these things and how my outlook reflects my wellbeing.
Coming home, I’ve decided to be kinder to myself…. First I had to get over my jet lag, which I didn’t struggle against, I let it happen and was gentle with myself, if I needed to take a nap, that was okay. However, when I was away, I walked – a lot! Exploring and comparing my fitness with my big sis, who also got me swimming, not something I do often made me realize how I sometime in busy periods neglect this part of my wellbeing. On coming home, I wanted to continue these great habits and began with 30 minutes walking each morning, a couple of 10 minutes upper body sessions last week, and, of course, my great yoga class.
That was the easy part, now to get back into my work routine – I completed a number of contracts in December, and so I was able to away without trying to juggle time zones and zoom calls. Coming home I needed to follow up with current clients, and connect with prospective entrepreneurs and emerging leaders who want to grow and develop. It’s also time to restart my blogging as well writing for other on-line magazines. I could get lost in the ‘tyranny of the urgent’, frantically worrying goals I’ve set, or what my bottom line will look like at the end of the month, but instead I’m going to focus on improving on what I know is the good value I bring to clients, and trust that growth will come with the investment I’ve made and continue to make in my business. I won’t get caught in the cycle of negative thoughts and energy thieves. I've got my weekly mastermind group and a new business partner to bounce ideas off, and catch me when I'm being too hard on myself. These are supports I needed to put into place to help me not become my own worst enemy!
When I began my entrepreneur journey, I wanted to spend more time on my hobbies, and although I have spent some time playing in this arena, it hasn’t been to the extent that I had in mind. So I’ve made a decision to give myself permission to play more, right now I’m cleaning up, and putting away my vacation clothes, as well as tidying up after Christmas. Yep still putting away Christmas decorations! However, as I go through my diary, I’m adding play time. I find I work best when I calendar in all my activities, I colour code everything, this gives me the ability to look at my week and see where and how I am spending my time – if I go over, say my volunteer time then I can reflect on what occurred, and what I might need to change to ensure that I balance my week. Notice I say week, I think trying to balance days is a little crazy, I look at my weeks and months to see how I’m spending time and compare it to how I’m feeling – sometimes it’s a mixture of too much of everything, others it’s one area of my life that’s a little crazy. This colour system allows me to keep track of my life, and rebalance it when necessary.
How do you ensure you have time for everything in your life? Do you have a system? I wonder at those that discuss work/life balance as for me it’s all about life, and the balance is in how we take care of ourselves and our loved ones, whether at home or work.
Remember, life is for living. You only have this one life to live. Live it to the fullest, laugh each day, try to hug at least one person, be grateful for what you have and support others who are struggling. Give where you can, sometimes that may be financially, but often it’s lending a shoulder or an ear, it can make a huge difference.
So, belatedly Happy New Year to you all, tell me what is the one thing you’re changing this year to increase happiness in your life? Leave a comment below, so we can all learn from each other.
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog