Most of us learn that being independent, quick, productive, and strong are highly valued and result in rewards of approval and status. On the other hand, we learn that their opposite traits — dependent, slow, unproductive, and weak — are devalued and result in disapproval and shame. So, we dread the loss of these socially acceptable traits as we age, slow down, do less, and need others more. We deny the call to retire.
If our images of and associations with retirement remain outside of our awareness, dormant in the shadow, then we are blind to them. By learning to orient toward the unconscious and meet the shadows of age more consciously, we deepen our self-knowledge to include that which has been excluded for so long—a deferred dream, a secret desire, a hidden talent. Now, when the ego no longer reigns supreme, we can open ourselves and allow these banished feelings and fantasies to be heard. Retirement, when our roles so clearly fall away, is an opportunity for a profound shift in awareness. We can move our identity from doing, achievement, success, and image to our essential spiritual nature.
In this program, you will:
Date: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Time: 12:00 noon Eastern (9:00 AM Pacific, 10 AM Mountain, 11 AM Central, and 6 AM Hawaiian)
Topic: Retirement: From Role to Soul
Speaker: Connie Zweig, speaker, author, Certified Sage-ing Leader, and Climate Reality Leader
About Connie Zweig
Connie Zweig, Ph.D., is a retired therapist, co-author of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow, author of Meeting the Shadow of Spirituality, and a novel, A Moth to the Flame: The Life of Sufi Poet Rumi. Her newest book, The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul, extends shadow-work into late life and teaches aging as a spiritual practice. Connie has been doing contemplative practices for 50 years. She is a wife and grandmother and was initiated as an Elder by Sage-ing International in 2017. After investing in all these roles, she is practicing the shift from role to soul.
There are 75 million Americans over the age of sixty, many of them looking to continue the personal growth journey that has been the hallmark of their generation. They want to grow old, not just get old. The path of purposeful aging is accessible to all — and it’s fundamental to health, happiness, and longevity. Just floating along from one year to the next, accepting things as they present themselves without question or intention, is a surefire recipe for dissatisfaction and despair in later life.
The traditional milestones of old age — retirement, the death of one’s parents, grandchildren, etc., are no longer definitive of what it means to be old. Now, it’s more about choices; we’re freer now to decide for ourselves what being old means and how we intend to live our later years. But that requires us to confront default choices and reject easy answers. It means honestly exploring tough questions like, “Am I really living my life or someone else’s version of it?” and “What’s missing in my life?”
Discovering who you want to be when you grow old starts first with determining your purpose. Purpose is a verb; it is action-oriented and dynamic. It is the answer to the question, “Why do you get up in the morning?” If there’s something you love to do — write, solve technical problems or cook — that is likely one of the gifts you need for your purpose. When you combine that gift with your passions and values, that can be an indicator of your purpose.
In this program, you’ll discover the three-step framework for unlocking purpose: Find out how you want to help; Find out who you want to help; and Find out what energizes you (and what drains you).
Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Time: 12:00 noon Eastern (9:00 AM Pacific, 10 AM Mountain, 11 AM Central, and 6 AM Hawaiian)
Topic: Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old?
Speaker: Richard Leider, founder of Inventure–The Purpose Company, one of American’s preeminent Executive-Life Coaches
About Richard Leider
Internationally bestselling author and coach, Richard Leider, is the founder of Inventure-The Purpose Company, where the mission is to help people to “unlock the power of purpose” and answer that question. He is ranked by Forbes as one of the “Top 5” most respected coaches. Along the way, Richard has written eleven books including three best-sellers which have sold over one million copies. The Power of Purpose and Repacking Your Bags are considered classics in the personal growth field. His latest book, Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old? is a defining book on the power of purposeful aging.
Widely viewed as a pioneer of the global purpose movement, his work has been featured in many media sources, and his PBS special, The Power of Purpose, was viewed by millions of people. He has taken his purpose message to all 50 states, Canada, and 4 continents, and he has advised everyone from AARP to the National Football League to the U.S. State Department. During his career, Richard has addressed more than two million people worldwide in his speeches to corporate, association, and social service groups. He and his wife, Sally, live in the Minneapolis, MN area.
As someone who has lived in the East, Mid-West, West and now Northeast, I’ve watched seasons change in a variety of ways; some more dramatically and others more subtly. Seasonal changes always mark transitions with the endings, “in-between” time, and new beginnings. The month of September marks one of these transition times. From the time I was young, September carried with it the sadness of the end of summer but also the excitement of “new beginnings,” with the start of a new school year and, for me, also the Jewish New Year, which usually occurs in September (based on the Jewish calendar.) My non-Jewish friends and colleagues also talk about the importance of September for them, too, with memories of starting school for themselves and/or children. Many have said that although they don’t celebrate the Jewish New Year, they, too, have learned from some of the rituals. The rituals are actually in keeping with mindfulness and intentionality in our approach to life.
I like the juxtaposition of endings and new beginnings—it creates a time for self-reflection, gratitude and forgiveness. It’s a time to focus on and let-go of the past year to move forward and embrace the coming year, hopefully with some new learning and resolve. One of the traditions of Rosh Hashanah is a service called Tashlich, when you go to a body of running water and throw little pieces of bread into the water, to symbolically acknowledge and throw away your mistakes and “sins” from the past year. It’s part of the process of getting ready for Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. I like these rituals since they help bring these actions into clearer focus. In his Yom Kippur sermon, our Rabbi emphasized that in addition to atoning for our mistakes of the past year, the holiday philosophy implores us to live each day to the fullest since our one life is finite. He stressed the importance of appreciating our life and our relationships. We can all learn from evaluating our past deeds and appreciating the life that we have, as we move forward.
Admittedly, I set goals and resolutions at the end of the calendar year and also spend time reflecting over the past year—but September feels different. As a seasonal transition from summer into fall, it reminds me of my youth and growth and feels hopeful and joyful. The bittersweet aspect is that it also helps me prepare for and anticipate the changing colors and eventual falling of the leaves and then winter, symbolically reflecting the passage of time and aging. Perhaps the goal is to use seasonal changes as well as the actual dates of the New Year to establish our own rituals for reflection, gratitude and forgiveness. Life is too short to take it for granted. As a mini-step in the process, it’s actually wonderful to take time at the end of each day to reflect on our blessings as we let go of the day and prepare for the new beginning of tomorrow.
If you’ve been out there for awhile researching retirement, reading up on it, surfing the net, talking to anyone who will listen, you’ve probably been told you need a Retirement Coach. False, false, false! You absolutely, positively do not NEED a Retirement Coach, but you may very well WANT one, because she (or he) can help you:
1. Get Clear. If you’re lucky enough to know exactly what you want in this next stage, skip to number two. But if, like many, you find yourself confused by too many choices to make, and/or clueless as to what you really want to be doing, you’re not alone. Face it. There are too few good role models to follow, so you find yourself pioneering scary new territory. Add to that, the fact that you have a blank canvas, but don’t know where to begin to discover what you want to put on it. A good Retirement Coach will take you on a journey of self-discovery to define your values, dreams, desires, and goals.
2. Overcome What Stops You. You may know what’s stopped you from achieving what you’ve really wanted before, but do you have the tools to move through it this time? It may be fear, or negativity, or a lack of confidence that stops you. Or perhaps your environment doesn’t support how you want to live. Or you’re lacking the energy required to dance into that new life. Your Retirement Coach will provide you with the tools you need to conquer fear, beat negativity, build confidence, clear your environment, rescue energy, and more.
3. Design a Step-by-Step Action Plan. Or, a series of action plans if you’re retiring more than one aspect of your life and reinventing it. A good Retirement Coach knows the basics of what needs to be in place in order for you to thrive in this new life, and will make sure you incorporate them into your plan. She’ll also help you break your plan into small enough chunks, so you don’t end up paralyzed by overwhelm.
4. Actually Take Action. A Retirement Coach will hold you accountable for what you say you want, what you say you’ll do, and when you say you’ll do it. Don’t discount this one. Of all the benefits of coaching ? and there are many – this is one of the most valuable.
5. Keep Moving Ahead. Your Retirement Coach keeps you on-track, helps you out of the ditch when you derail, and encourages tiny baby steps when needed, steady movement most of the time, and giant leaps when you’re ready. She’ll also be there when you need a swift kick-in-the-pants.
6. Stay Focused. You most likely already know it’s not easy staying focused on your dreams. Think of the gazillions of distractions out there – some real, most self-made. A Retirement Coach helps you clear the decks of distractions, so you can keep your eye on the prize.
7. Get All the Support You Need. Being “coached” by your spouse, a friend, or a family member may seem like a good idea, but beware. They may have a hidden agenda. A Retirement Coach does not. Your agenda is her agenda. She’ll listen, encourage, support, and empower you. She’ll hold your vision and she’ll generously share valuable resources with you. And, if she’s really good, she’ll hold your feet to the fire.
Could you make this transition successfully on your own? Sure. The truth is there isn’t anything a Retirement Coach can do for you that you can’t do for yourself. The big question is – will you do it? And if you do, will you get the result you really want? If you choose to work with the right Retirement Coach, you’ll move farther faster, get better results, and have a whole lot more fun along the way.
Need a retirement coach? Contact Dorian Mintzer at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Are you looking forward to no alarm clocks, nowhere to be, nothing to do for some undefined period starting day one of your retirement? Dreaming of no one to answer to? Craving some serious down time before you figure out what’s next for you? Beware. You need a segue plan. And no, it’s not endless days of open-ended nothingness. It’s a plan that takes you 180 degrees away from your career, doing something that really gets your juices going. It will take you successfully from your last day of work through some pre-determined period of time, so you can avoid post-career depression and other assorted woes that happen to those who fail to plan an excellent segue. You may not know what’s next for you, but you can make sure that you set yourself up for a painless transition.
Here are three terrific ways to segue from your career to retirement:
1. Plan a year-long adventure. When Don Kjelleren retired in 1993 after 37 years of service with DuPont, he instinctively knew that if he went to a dead stop from traveling non-stop around the world and managing over 1000 employees running international marketing for the company, it would be, well, deadly for him. As a lifelong mountain climber, Don had already climbed many of the planet’s most famous mountains. He is also an adventurer, so he combined his love of travel with his passion for mountain climbing and his competitive nature and created a year-long goal to climb the highest mountain, run 10 miles and swim one mile in all 50 United States.
And, in case you think this was all a slam dunk for Don, you need to know that before this adventure he was terrified of the water. Not only did he overcome his fear and reach his goal, but Don successfully decompressed from his high-powered career and was recharged and ready to create the life he’s enjoying today. He currently serves on the Governor of Delaware’s Commission on Lifestyles and Fitness, is Vice Chairman of the National Senior Games Association (the Senior Olympics), Chairman of the Advisory Council for the New Castle RSVP, and belongs to a number of additional organizations associated with health and well-being. Don loves focusing his time and energy on his mission — encouraging others to take responsibility for their health.
2. Get a degree in a topic that fascinates you. When Jean Shula left her career as a successful therapist at 62, she, too, was ready for an adventure. She’s curious about the world, loves meeting people of all ages and exploring new cultures, and has had a lifelong love of learning. She thought learning something new would be a kick, and while exploring what was out there stumbled upon the European Peace University, and a year long master?s program — one academic year spent at the University in Austria and then finish her thesis at home.
Jean found the program exciting, stimulating, and intellectually challenging, but her greatest joy was living in a dorm with people from every continent, many of whom were living side-by-side with their “enemies” (i.e. Israelis and Palestinians, Indians and Pakistanis.) She found it a great place to lose one’s fears and prejudices, and she came away from the year with an understanding that she’d already led a full, rich life, and had accumulated some wisdom to share. By the time she had completed her thesis, she knew that she would pursue her lifelong dream of writing. Today, the success of Jean’s first book, The Coming of Aging: Learning to Live from the Inside Out, takes her around the country keynoting and leading workshops, and her second book will be published shortly.
3. Shift down in your work, as you gear up for the next thing. Claire LeSage retired at the end of 2008 and created (and is already living) her segue plan. At the beginning of the year, she decided that she was going to take control of her life, and her future. So, she began exploring – through coaching – what might be next for her. Claire was pretty certain she wanted to start her own business, and it didn’t take her long to hone in on the idea of Wittz End, a relocation concierge service specializing in helping seniors, their families, and estate executors prepare, organize and coordinate the entire moving process. Her personal experience of moving friends and family over the years had led her ultimately into the moving industry where she’s worked as an administrator for the past 17 years.
Halfway through the year, Claire’s website was launched, logos, business cards and brochures were printed, and her home office was coming together. She began working 4 days a week at her job, and three days a week on her new business. She began networking, joined BNI (Business Networking International), and was negotiating offering her services through the company she’s working for. Who knows? One thing’s for certain. Using this last year of work as her segue is setting Claire up for a strong start to her new “retirement” life.
Remember — that dream life of nothingness could well be a nightmare. Think about how you’ll segue into retirement, and create a plan for yourself that’s fun and challenging.