When you think of retirement do you see a new door opening or one clanging shut behind you?

Retirement from paid work should provide you with the time to do many of the things you enjoy most, whether it be family, travel, hobbies, charity work, studying ….  Without others telling you what to do, you’re able to choose what you do and when you do it.  You can do some paid work if you want and enjoy it.  Or you can take a complete break.  It may even be the chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do.

However, it may not feel that way.

Retirement can be a difficult time for many.  Work has often taken up a large part of someone’s time and it can be difficult to see a life without it.  This can be stressful – worrying what to do next; how will you fill your days?

You may be short of ideas about what to do – or overwhelmed by all the options open to you.

You may have been defined by your work – it’s all you’ve ever known, and you’re worried about handing over clients and contacts.  You might fear the change to your daily routine – hoping if they ignore it, it may never happen.

So which is right?

Quite simply – both.

When you’re thinking about or facing retirement, the situation is the same whichever way you view it.  So start by realising that you have a choice about how you choose to think about it, how you choose to see it.

It can be an Opportunity.  And it can be a Threat.  You choose.

Clearly if you have something in mind that you want to spend your time doing, life becomes easier.  If you don’t – that’s also fine.  I don’t know what I’ll be doing in five years’ time.  I don’t have a plan five years ago – I would certainly not have imagined doing what I’m doing now.  So if you don’t have a plan it can work out ok.

All I’d suggest is that you do think about the things you enjoy; things that interest and excite you; maybe things you’ve thought about but done nothing about.  Start with these things.

One of the great examples to me is Kimane Maruge.  We tell his story to the kids we sponsor in Kenya.

He wanted to read and write … so at 84 enrolled in primary school.  A few years later he was invited to address the United Nations!  It shows, you’re never too old.

As I often say, anything is possible … if you put your mind to it.

Start with something that interests you.  If you find that you want to spend more time doing this, great.  If not, then move on to the next thing.

And of course, your finances are important.  But if you start by assessing what you have, any income you expect and what you might need for the things you want to do.  If there’s a gap, then look at your options – for adding or increasing income and for reducing costs.  There are often alternative ways of doing the things you want to do.

Whilst I haven’t retired in the traditional sense – I’ve certainly changed my work pattern over the last few years.  I spend some time coaching; my paid-work if you like.  And I spend an equal amount of time running our Foundation; unpaid, voluntary work.  I’ve taken time away more often and for longer periods (so we could take in the Rio Olympics and Paralympics, visit our projects in Kenya, and work with kids in Namibia too).  And I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro, written a book, and run my first marathon.  These things may not be for everyone – but if I can, you can.

And its ok if you’re uncertain, if you don’t know how good you might be, because when we start out doing something new, we never know how it will work out.  Try it – if its fun, do more of it.  If ots not, try something else.

Support is at hand

If you’d like to talk through your options and your concerns, then maybe I can help.  Confidential one-to-one coaching provides you with the support to assess your situation, understand what you most enjoy and how you’d like to spend your time, and identify a plan of action (so you can ease into it gradually or progress more quickly).

That plan can take account of the timescale you have, delegating or passing work over to others, even learning new skills.

Maybe you could take a day off each week to test out how it feels; pass over one or two clients or cases; take on a new role so you’re doing things you most enjoy (perhaps as a chair, an ambassador or public face of the business).

We’ll then help you as you make these changes – so it does actually happen.

As always, our focus is entirely on YOU.  What you want, your fears and concerns, how you can spend your time doing what you want.  We don’t have an opinion of what’s best for you – our role is to help you to understand your option, the consequences and to make decisions.

So if you want to chat, give me a call.