4 Steps to Reinventing Your Retirement
by Dana Manciagli
There’s a “silver tsunami” making waves today.
Around 10,000 baby boomers will hit retirement every single day over the course of the next 20 years.
But for boomers, retirement doesn’t mean what it used to! In fact, for many nearing 65, retirement looks less like “taking it easy” and more like “taking on the next challenge.”
For many people — especially senior executives, business owners, and entrepreneurs — retirement is about finding a new adventure, career or passion.
Starting over is a massive challenge even for successful professionals, explains Susan Spaulding, author of Recalibrate for Life 2.0, Transition Stories for Business Leaders. Especially since retirement may mean leaving behind a title, connections, a professional identity, and other perks, it’s really difficult to leave a career to start a new one.
“What’s next?” is not so much a practical question as a very real fear for many people at this stage. Psychologically, people are often unprepared for moving on to something else — Spaulding reports that many people can’t even imagine what that something else would be.
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed as you’re getting ready to leave a career, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there’s some good news. Understanding these fears is a lot easier when there’s a clear pathway to unpacking all the uncertainty and ambiguity that comes with starting over.
If you're looking to change up what retirement has in store for you, Spaulding explains that the key to keep in mind is branding. That’s right — it’s all about changing your brand.
She said that to successfully transition to Life 2.0, it's a matter of changing a personal brand to align with the individual’s needs, skills, and passions. You’re changing your brand to fit with a new community, a new “market” that aligns with who you want to be and what you want to do.
How to change your brand
So how can you start changing your brand? How can you find some answers to “what’s next?” Spaulding describes four basic steps to get you started:
- Take Inventory: Get started by identifying your professional and personal strengths. What has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment? What are your passions? What skills have you gained in your career? The goal is to generate a bank of ideas that you’ll be able to refine later.
- Build your story and your plan: Use your inventory to begin crafting your brand story and plan. Start by thinking of a statement that captures the way you want to interact with the world. Who do you want to help? How do you want to help them? How will you use your personal strengths, passions, and skills to serve a need? Once you have a big idea down, you can start fashioning a few plans that will put that story into action.
- Explore the options: Once you have a starting point (or more than one starting point!), identify ways to test your plan and your interests. The idea is to test it in tiny ways. Give yourself permission to try something once and move on. Don’t commit to any one path until you’ve given yourself time to test out all your ideas
- Evaluate and recalibrate: Testing your plans is not a “one and done” proposition. Look back at your experiments and reflect on what you learned from them. (Note: There is no “failure” here, just learning). Give yourself time to think, retest, and adjust your plans.
Is this the only way you can rebrand yourself? Absolutely not.
But a solid starting point goes a long way to relieving some of the anxieties and fears that come with starting over. If nothing else, this is a way to move into a state of mind where you give yourself permission to try, explore, and test new ideas. For a lot of people, that freedom is something they haven’t had in a long time.
In Recalibrate for Life 2.0 , Spaulding shares stories of more than a dozen business owners and executives who are making the transition to a new future. You will find key takeaway points and tips for getting started on your own Life 2.0.
If you’re asking yourself “what’s next?” don’t be anxious, be eager! Remember, exploring and experimenting makes for a rewarding outcome. Allow yourself a little bit of patience, reflection, and space, and your new life will have you saying “wow!” before you know it.
Aug 19, 2016, 7:30am EDT. Dana Manciagli is a global career expert, private job search coach, and master class instructor.