When I decided to move onto a new season, I thought I had a solid plan. But I had no idea I would struggle with thoughts and emotions like I did. Even my solid plan needed a lot more flexibility than I anticipated. It was a gift to have Tom share his experiences and help guide me through the first year. It brought me through the tunnel to a wonderful other side.
Thoughts for the next season
The following are some thoughts and suggestions to consider in your next season. We welcome feedback and other suggestions. Our goal is to assist people maximize their gifts to help others.
Designing The Next Season Game Plan
- It may seem obvious, but even if your not a plan-ahead type of person, we would strongly urge you to spend some time thinking about your next season before you get there.
- We would recommend reading the Phil Burgess book, Reboot! We have met Phil, who has some refreshing advice for those navigating through this next season.
- Phil talks about the fact that retirement is a relatively new concept since the 50s. In the last chapter of his book, Thou Shall Prosper, Daniel Lapin states there is no Hebrew word for retirement and provides some interesting points of view.
- Study other people to observe what they have done, but do not be overly influenced by them.
- Read Chapter 6 of The Noticer by Andy Andrews, who reminds us of the impact of several “Next Season” people, like Colonel Sanders, Nelson Mandela and others.
- Interview others whom have gone ahead of you. Tom reconnected with his long-time mentor, Ken Kunkel, and his experiences and advice were invaluable.
- Consider contributing your time and talent to a charitable and/or educational organization.
- Know yourself. Get out your old personal assessment tools or take them again, and have a professional interpret them for you, through the lens of this new season.
- Don’t follow the herd. Design your next season based on who you are.
- Determine about what you are passionate in.
- If it is your passion, stay involved in business.
- Stay involved in “your” business; just make sure you have a real, clear succession plan. We know an auto dealer, who has turned his dealership over to his son, and the dealer, who is good at and loves to buy used cars, now works in the used car department.
- Evaluate your unique experiences and skills and figure out a way to share them with others.
- Read books about subjects that have always interested you (i.e. Civil War).
- Pursue hobbies you are passionate about.
- Listen to oldies music and reminisce a little.
- According to Al Doescher, “The Golden Years Ain’t So Golden”.
- According to Betty Davis, “Growing old is not for sissies.”
- Another book with some interesting points of view is Teach Us to Number Our Days by David Roper. For years he was a contributing writer to Our Daily Bread and is a Christian author. That being said, his sage advice is spot on.
- Be focused on others. Seems as we age, we become more self-centered. Fight the urge and find healthy, fun ways to contribute to others.
- Related to others, consider continuing to mentor/help/coach/stay in touch with, those who helped make you successful.
- Think about how your life could be a positive influence on others during this next season.
- If you’re a Type A personality, avoid filling your schedule up and losing your well-earned flexibility.
- As you plan your activities, think about whether you want to be around people your age or those who are younger. We have been deliberate about spending a meaningful amount of time with young people.
In The First Few Miles, Make Adjustments
- Consider taking an extended sabbatical between seasons. You can use the time for further planning.
- For many of us, our life’s work became our identity (i.e. We will leave the merits of this to professional counselors to deal with). So, one point of view would be to create a new identity. At cocktail parties, one of the first 2 or 3 questions is, “What do you do?” In this next season, we need to be prepared to have an answer.
- Maybe another way to express it would be a comment from a colleague of mine who said, “Once you say you are “retired”, to many you now become irrelevant.”
- You may need to try a few different things to determine what works best for you. So give yourself permission to experiment.
- Realize that you probably have less energy now, but may not know it. We love to tell the story of Frank Moran in his 70s racing through the Birmingham Athletic Club locker room to get ready to play squash. I (Tom) was at my locker and exhausted after a long day at the office, debating whether or not to work out. I went over to say hello to Frank, and asked him where he got all the energy. He looked me in the eye and said, “What makes you think I have a lot of energy?” I will never forget that scene and actually have had the same feelings in recent years. So a doable pace is important.
- For many people, slowing down will be difficult and will be a necessary but painful adjustment.
- People will be happy to fill up your schedule for you. Protect it!
- Realize that people will say stupid things to you. Until you go through this transition, you don’t really understand how you will feel.
- You may want to meet with a counselor.
- If you are normal, you will need to go through a grieving process unless you had a lousy career. The following is a helpful article on grieving: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/08/04/loss-grief-and-manliness-what-every-man-should-know-about-losing-a-loved-one/
Pace Yourself and Finish Strong
- Develop good eating and sleeping habits, and have a regular fitness program.
- If you have something you really would like to do or say, do it. Don’t assume there will be another day.
- Back to energy & health, if there is something you really want to do, don’t wait. Go to Mongolia or Antarctica.
- Make a list of friends with whom you want to stay in touch; and take the initiative to schedule breakfast, lunch or dinner. If they have less flexibility than you (due to work demands), make the time and place convenient for them (and be respectful of their time/schedule).
- Get help managing/investing your money; and set your spending budget at manageable level for the long-term.
- Evaluate the impact on your spouse.
- Consider doing more activities with your spouse.
- Consider relieving your spouse of certain chores.