Have enough and had enough? Make sure you retire on your own terms.
- Retirement is all about making an important change in your life—on your own terms—and being comfortable with the decision.
- When considering any important life change, make sure you direct your inner “rider,” motivate your inner “elephant” and shape your own environment.
- For a happy and rewarding retirement, make sure you get your passion, your engine, your head and your path in sync.
If you’re getting close to the end of your career, chances are that more and more people are suggesting you should think about retiring. Or if people aren’t saying it to you directly, maybe it’s in the back of your mind.
Why? Well, you’ve been at your job a long time. It’s likely that you’re old enough to retire, you have enough savings and you’ve had enough of the daily grind. Yet the idea of retirement doesn’t feel right. You get up every day; you keep going to work. It’s hard to make a change to your lifelong routine. That’s what retirement is all about—making a change. It’s an important transition in your life.
The elephant, the rider and the environment
Think of it like this. We have three important elements to consider whenever we’re contemplating a change:
- The elephant (the heart), is really about your motivation, your passion and your engine. It’s really your heart and where everything just gets done.
- The rider (the head) is where you understand. It’s where you see and direct.
- The environment (the path). We need a path because the environment is a very tough place. The tiger is trying to knock you off the elephant, the snake’s trying to bite you and so forth.
Well, what happens when everything doesn’t work out as it should? When our elephant is out of control, that’s when we’re just running around, completely controlled by our emotions. And that happens to all of us at various times in our lives. If the rider doesn’t get engaged, then you end up with lots of “getting ready to get ready to get ready.” In other words, thinking about it, researching it, but not taking action. Just a lot of mental activity without any action.
Finally, it’s sometimes so hard to work in our environment that we just give up the idea of changing and go back to what we were doing.
The key to really thinking this through is directing the rider, motivating the elephant and shaping the path. This is something I took from Chip and Dan Heath’s masterful book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. A post called Structured Freedom in our last Observer newsletter may also help you out. Also consider reading Younger Next Year, which was written by 70-year-old retiree Chris Crowley and his 40-ish doctor at the time, Henry Lodge. There’s both a male edition and a female edition of the book.
Contact us anytime if you’d like a free consultation about retirement planning.
So, until next time, enjoy. Gary
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