1 February 2022
Traditionally, people have approached retirement only by having invested in their careers and savings.
Almost all retirees I have interviewed wish they had invested in themselves more. They wish they had gotten the memo on the benefits of retirement coaching, and lament having relied on their own understanding of what their retirement would look like.
Who can blame them, when today’s retirement is so different from the retirement their parents, and grandparents had experienced? Each felt to varying degrees, the sting of disappointment when expectations didn’t quite live up to reality.
Retirement coaches know that a successful transition is tied to having a concrete, written plan that addresses everyday retirement life, such as the mental, physical, social, and spiritual, as well as, how to replace work identity, incorporate structure to daily routine and fill free time with meaningful activities.
Dialing in to what works for them, because there isn’t one right way to retire, a retirement coach facilitates exploration beyond current thinking, and invites clients to generate ideas about how they can move forward.
This process is exhilarating for clients because for the very first time, they are being asked questions that probe beneath the surface, questions they’ve never even thought about, then asked to write down their perceptions, thoughts, and ideas, and talk about them.
The magic of a-ha moments gets unlocked when clients feel safe to freely express and share what is important to them as unique individuals.
When people realize that there are things, they will lose during transition from work to home life, they can choose to take preemptive action by figuring out ways to replace those things.
The heartbreaking truth is that people in retirement have fewer things to do, and less contact with others. Therefore, they need coping strategies to move the emotional balance to the positive side.
Engaging in immersive activities where all sense of time is lost, provide a temporary refuge, and add a touch of joy to an existence that can at times, feel mundane. Being with a close friend, dancing, negotiating a business deal, cooking, event-planning, and singing in a choir are some favorite options.
Because deep down we all want our lives to matter, devoting time and energy to family in need, to climate change and the environment, teaching underprivileged youths, mentoring the next generation of the workplace, and finding homes for stray animals can bring a renewed sense of purpose.
Retirees who volunteer are more likely to form new friendships, and research has found high-quality social networks enhance health and happiness, which in turn increase longevity.
While the idea of transformation and replacing one’s work identity may at first seem daunting, doubts are cast aside once people recognize the intensely beautiful work of art they already are. The coaching process is akin to a great sculptor chiseling the outer layers away, so the end-result is the real and vivid person inside revealed.
When people are elevated to meet retirement on their own terms, rather than submitting to socially accepted norms, it’s a real game-changer. Their renewed sense of self hits a home run in their hearts and minds. They start taking action when they discover their untapped potential, all the adventures they still want to have, and the roads untraveled. In simple terms, retirement coaching helps people to become more optimistic about their future.
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