24 May

Making the Transition To Retirement


Recently I have had clients who are getting ready to transition into retirement.  This is something they have worked hard for and have been looking forward to most of their working lives.  So why does it feel so scary?

Retirement for some can mean the perception of not being useful anymore.  They might feel that because of age they are no longer valued.  There can be a sense of not having purpose.  There is definitely a shift and a change in life’s direction but is it the end or just the beginning of a new chapter?

There are emerging trends in retirement with one being encore jobs.  With large numbers of baby boomers reaching retirement age and life expectancy being longer there are changes in how we view retirement. They want to slow the pace and have less pressure but they don’t want to completely retire.  A Toronto Star article “Encore Jobs” a new trend in retirement  looks at one of these trends. With the encore career comes the ability to choose when and how we work.  It also supplements retirement income to allow for the funding of personal interests such as travel, theatre and learning.

Baby Boomers are shaping another trend and that is causing a rise in older entrepreneurs. In an article from Entrepreneur, Many Baby Boomers Are Choosing Entrepreneurship Instead of Retiring, the stats show that in 2014, 23 percent of business owners were older than 55. Business Daily says Baby Boomers Flock to Entrepreneurship as “adults over 50 comprise one of the fastest growing groups of entrepreneurs in the U.S.”  The idea of starting something new can be energizing and creative.  It may be the first time in their life that they can combine their well developed skills with something they feel passionate about.  It is no longer about the need for a large income and benefits, it is about doing something that really interests them, having fun and earning some money along the way.

The message is they’re not done yet, they have too much to offer.  The good news is that they are doing it on their own terms.  Where they might have worked within a corporate structure and had to follow structure and procedure, they are now free to make choices.  The choices are no longer driven by fear, expectation of others or what their original career choice dictated.  They can make choices about what interests them, what they want to explore and how much they are willing to give of themselves and their time.


18 May

Freeing Ourselves from Attachment to Outcome


We live in a culture that is all about attachment.  Attachment to ideas, material possessions and even people.  In counselling sessions I often hear things like “I cannot live anywhere but the family home” or “if this relationship doesn’t work out I can never be with someone else.”  Our attachment to outcome is what can sometimes leaves us disappointed or causes us to miss another opportunity because we are so focused on one thing that we don’t notice the other that is right before us.

In an article by Cherie DiNoia, Let Go of Attachment: You Can Be Happy Even If Things Change, the author explores the human experience of attachment.  With attachment can come a deep sense of loss when life doesn’t go as planned. “What if what I needed to get what I really want in life–peace and happiness–looked different than what I had imagined?”

What would happen if we set goals without caring about the outcome? Author Margaret Paul ponders this thought in her Huffington Post How to Set Goals Without Caring About Outcome. Perhaps a confusing concept as many of us believe a goal must have a specific outcome. Paul points out the difference between goals and attachment to outcome and what can happen with attachment.  “If we attach our happiness and worth to accomplishing our goals, then we will never feel happy until we have what we want.”

People may avoid new things for fear of failure.  In Want to Soar? Let Go of Outcome, Failure and Imperfection by Nicole Urdang says “by allowing a more accepting, gentle, kind approach to all areas of your life and detaching from rigid notions of what is OK, you will feel freer and more relaxed.”

By leaving our minds open we have many possibilities but choosing only one outcome limits us in ways we may not actually wish.  The words “I can’t” mean there is no other option or outcome.  What if we tried without fear of failure or loss? We might actually have an experience that brings personal growth and connection. So go ahead and set goals and open yourself to experience more joy in your life and know that sometimes pain, disappointment or fear can be part of that journey to happiness.


04 May

Setting Limits


With busy lives and limited resources maybe in energy, finances or time we can find ourselves stretched and even resentful. I once had a young, but very wise personal trainer who told me “every time you say yes you must say no to something else.”  I would often protest at his words of wisdom saying I can’t let anything go because it is all important.  He was right though and sometimes we just need to figure things out the hard way.  In my life that usually is when my body tells me it is time to stop by gifting me with a cold or flu.

In an article from by Britt Bolnick, How to Set Healthy Boundaries: 3 Crucial First Steps, the first step is to get in touch with how you are feeling and recognize the sensations in your mind and body.  Being proactive is important and by recognizing  signs such as fatigue, irritability or gastrointestinal issues early we can make changes.  Our bodies actually have an early warning system built in but we don’t always listen to it.  Be present, be aware of drained energy levels and take action.

Our lives are always changing and yet we find it difficult to let things go.  At some point life is too full and in order to make space for new experiences we need to let go of things that no longer have a purpose in our life.  Do a personal audit. Are there people who leave you feeling exhausted or annoyed after spending time with them?  Are there activities that you continue to do that make you feel resentful but you have always done them?  Create a boundary and set limits. Shield your personal energy, as it is a precious resource.

In 7 Ways to Protect Your Energy and Enforce Healthy Boundaries, Dr. Susan Biali suggests that you “get clear about what a protected, on purpose life would look and feel like”.  Create a list.  How would you know that your life was in balance and on purpose?  What  would you have in it?  What things might you limit?  What would be new? What changes would you make? Would you have more energy?

So get a journal and take a minute to write a few of these things down.  Once you are done you can create a new blueprint for your life with some healthy boundaries and limits.  It can take time to do but as you make those changes you will notice subtle shifts in how you feel. Remember that a happier, energized and more fulfilled you, means you are now able to give positively to others and still have something left for you.

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