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New Questions to Start the New Year

T’is that time of the year again. I love this season – but in some ways I also don’t.  On one-hand, I look forward to the holiday season, the new year and all the festivities that come with it. On the other hand, t’is indeed the season for rush, rush, rush. Balancing all that needs to be done with the competing desire to slow down,  reflect, celebrate  and plan for the year ahead….ahhh, this is my December. I bet not so different for you too.

In some ways — isn’t that a little bit like what it’s like in the pre-years to retirement? We work, work, work….busy, busy, busy…and anticipate a big break. Then what?!  Well, UNretiredLife will have a LOT to say about the ‘then what’ conversation. But for now, T’is the season to pause, reflect, celebrate and rejoice.

Gift of questions:

To honour the season and the spirit of UNretiredLife, I am presenting (s’cuse the gift pun) a few questions to inspire meaningful reflection:

  • How will you keep your heart and mind open for wonderful surprises in the New Year?
  • How can you create within yourself a sense of safety and equilibrium in a world that has so much uncertainty and change?
  • What compassion can you bring to yourself and others in this moment –and any moment this season/year/life?
  • What is your vision of the best possibilities for 2010 and how will I accomplish that at work and at home?

These questions came as a gift from the Inquiry Institute.  As a coach, I am part of its learning community — and am continuously challenging myself and my clients to be a ‘question thinker’.  Asking the right questions is at the heart of great planning, great thinking, great ideas — and ultimately great ‘being’ and doing!

So get ready for many, many questions in the year ahead about what it is to create your best UNretiredLife! 

Till then, I wish you peace, joy, safety and love this holiday season.



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Paradigm Shift in Retirement

There is a paradigm shift in the retirement landscape. And with paradigm shifts, comes the call for new thinking, new questions and new dimensions in how we plan and approach this life stage once called retirement.

What does this mean – and more importantly, what does this mean for you?!?

“Paradigm” (as defined by Thomas Kuhn) means a mental model or a set of beliefs through which we view the world.  The traditional beliefs around retirement that previous generations held – are no longer true for the boomers who are the next generation of ‘retirees’. They are shunning the ‘model’ and redefining what it means to be in this life stage  — which can actually turn out to be the longest in duration than any other life stage (20-30+ years for earlier ‘retirees’).

The Old Model of Retirement: This ‘version’ implied complete cessation of work, the ending chapter of one’s life, a time to finally rest. The problem for so many retirees is that this ‘resting arena’ leads to a gradual slide away from a full and engaged life. This version too often results in disengagement in life, boredom, loneliness, loss of confidence — and for many people health issues (separate or related to the above).  How many people do you know who retired after vibrant careers only to find themselves ‘lost’ and a fraction of who they used to be? Too many people withered away not because of their actual age — but because of how they view their age….and defined their life at this stage.

No wonder today’s boomers are saying ‘not for me!’

The New Retirement: is a 180 degree shift. The page is completely refreshed and it defies the notion that life’s greatest value declines as we age older. The new retirement sees life in a more circular way with continuous exploration, mastery, growth and contribution. The new retirement values life meaning at all stages — and no less so in this life stage. This new model promises an expanded version of life vs a contracted one. This paradigm says no to ‘winding down’ and yes to ramping up — new goals, dreams, actualization and paths that fulfill and make for a meaningful and satisfying life….whatever that may mean to you. This version recognizes that you will have your own unique version of meaningful retirement.

Sounds good – but how do you get it?  Most boomers seem to  instinctively know they don’t want the old version. Unfortunately, they are not sure how to get that. They are stuck at a cross roads with understanding the old version yet not wanting it — and not quite understanding the new version yet wanting it!

So how do you get in?

Start by asking the right questions.  At UNretiredLife/Big Cheese Coaching, we will help you (through coaching, this blog and our many other programs). There are at least 15 factors that will impact the retirement you create for yourself and the likelihood that it will measure up to what you deem a successful and meaningful retirement.

A  Few Questions to Start the Reflection:

1) What do you see as the ideal retirement that will keep your motivation, interests, values and personal strengths appropriately fired up?

2) How much do you attach your own personal identity and sense of personal worth to your current work and role? What happens when that changes? Who will you be if not doing what you currently do?

3) How do you view the notion of retirement? What assumptions might you challenge so you can clear the path and create a retirement that works for you?

 Retirement (or whatever you call life stage….we like to called it ‘UNretiredLife”) is too important to wing.  These and other questions serve to prompt important reflection that will help in the planning process.

Plan? Oh yeah….that’s an important facet too.  Retirement planning is about more than the financial side of things (although that is still and always an important part of retirement success). Remember: if you ‘fail to plan you plan to fail’.  Now you wouldn’t want to do that would you?

Join in the conversation….we’ll be here for quite a while.


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Welcome to UNretiredLife!

UNretiredLife, this blog and a new suite of offerings from Big Cheese Coaching,  helps boomers prepare for ”what’s next’ and create their own version of retirement. 

In two years (2011), the first cohort of the massive baby boom generation will turn 65 – the traditional age of retirement. But boomers are anything but traditional. Known to defy tradition – boomers are already starting to redefine this lifestage known as ‘retirement’.  

UNretiredLife is for boomers with zip – also known as ‘zoomers’ — who will opt out of the traditional ‘retirement on the porch’ and instead, view this lifestage as an opportunity to revitalize and realize new dreams, goals and ambitions.

Jumping by Mike Hedge

Photo from @Mikehedge (Flickr)

While the economy has impacted retirement plans for many, studies have indicated that boomers will want to work past ’so-called retirement age’ – not just for financial reasons but because they will choose to live vibrantly in this stage of life and continue to be active contributors to society. Many will start new businesses, or perhaps work part time – or for some,  perhaps not work at all; they will define work on their terms. They will re-ignite old passions and discover new ones.  There will be lots of changes – some intentional and some part of the life cycle; some desired and some not. UNretiredLife will speak to these changes.

With healthier lifestyles, improved medicine and increased longevity this lifestage can span up to 20-30+ years for many people, particularly those that experience ’first retirement’ prior to age 65.  This is too long to wing it…..Success and fulfillment in this lifestage calls for thoughtful planning! That includes life, work, financial and more.

Are you ready for Retirement2.0? Whether you are already in this lifestage, a few years away or even 20 years away, UNretiredLife offerings will help you plan for ‘Retirement2.0″: a new version of retirement — one that meets your unique needs and aspirations.  Your version of retirement will be as unique to you as your own fingerprint – thus, it’s yours to define.

Ask the right questions:  What will you do with your time? How will you express your identity in this lifestage?  What new goals will you pursue? How will you fulfill your social/emotional/physical/intellectual needs? What will work look like to you? How might you transition from your current work-life to perhaps another version? What new learning will you embrace…..? These are just a few of the issues we embrace in our offerings. 

Then there’s the financial side of things. Retirement planning is so often exclusively associated with the financial questions (”will I have enough”, “how much do I need”, etc). These are important too and we’ll bring in expertise to support those questions. But UNretiredLife recognizes that success is not only about the financial side of things. That is why we will engage you in the life/work/health/etc conversation — so that any financial planning you do engage in can more meaningfully match your life goals and circumstances.

Ultimately, our goal is to help clients achieve a vision and perhaps their own roadmap — to answer the question: what needs to happen to be fulfilled and satifisfied as you advance towards and be in the phase of life  that is yours to define on your own terms?

If that proposition engages you — and even (or especially!) if you don’t yet know the all the answers — then this is the place for you.  Stay in touch….we’ll be in this conversation for a good long while and presenting a range of offerings and services that may speak to you.  

In the meantime, here’s to your own uniquely defined version of retirement. Here’s to your UNretiredLife!

Boomers – are you ready??



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