Announcement: Ever Wondered How to Position Yourself as an Expert?

Have you ever wondered how to position yourself as an expert? How do people become recognized in their fields as an expert?  Sometimes it seems impossible!  I reflected on this question while preparing to write a report on the topic, and addressed it in the introduction this way:

Although being considered an expert is something that can seem well beyond our reach, and indeed quite presumptuous, consider these quotes:

“What is an expert? Someone who is twenty miles from home.” (American Proverb)
“An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.” (Nicholas M. Butler)
“We are all experts in our own little niches.” (Alex Trebek)

Combining those thoughts, I have gained confidence that indeed I may perhaps never be considered an expert by those who surround me on a daily basis. But I can become an expert in a defined area – my own little niche(s) – by focusing on a defined area and bringing clarity and organization to the massive amount of information which is at our fingertips and adding my own unique ideas and contributions.

In my continuing journey to position myself as an expert in my niche of helping people transform their retirement into a time of joy, contribution and fulfillment, I have identified five major processes, which I describe in this report. These can be repeated over and over as any of us develop, expand and diversify our businesses or develop areas of expertise in any part of our lives.

We are or can be experts in specific areas, whether related to a business, a hobby, a life skill, or any number of other arenas. I am thrilled to be included in a collection of reports on various ways YOU can Position Yourself as an Expert. It has just been released and well worth checking out.  There are experts who speak from their own experiences and successes and share what they have learned with all of us.  My specific report is “Five Steps on the Path to Becoming an Expert.”

Take this opportunity to learn a variety of ways to Position Yourself as an Expert! (Click on the link to be taken to the sales page to learn more!!

Transforming Your Life or Your Retirement With New Experiences

One of the greatest gifts of retirement is having the time and flexibility to do things that we weren’t able to do when we were still working at a fulltime job. It may be more travel for leisure and excitement, or learning a new skill and practicing it, or volunteering regularly to give back and help others. All of these and other activities enrich our lives and can even transform our retirement by opening up possibilities and igniting passions of which we were not aware.

I recently participated in a project that I never would have imagined I would be interested in just 10 years ago. For the 5th time, I participated in a prison ministry in another state. This is the 2nd time the trip has been for an entire week. It was a week of travel in vans from Tennessee to Ohio and back, daily travel to different correctional institutions from the hotel and back – a total of 1600 miles. At every one of the seven stops, our team of sixteen had to go through security and have all of the multiple cases and containers of sound equipment and instruments meticulously examined. Then there was the set-up in a wide variety of types of rooms and soundcheck to assure the best projection possible in that room.

Through personal handshakes and greetings, hugs, fun music, an appearance by Santa, inspirational music, humor, words from a pastor, and communion, we communicated and embodied the message, “You are loved, you have worth, God is with you.” In and through that, both those visiting and those being visited were touched, changed and even transformed.

You may be asking, how have these experiences transformed my life, and why did I even consider getting into this? During my life, I had experiences that left me with no real desire to go into prisons. I appreciated those who did prison ministries of various kinds, but it wasn’t something that appealed to me. Some of those experiences were living for 40 years in the inner city where crime rates were high, being a victim of several crimes during those years, having friends victimized, and then working for nearly 20 years in the crime prevention unit of the police department.

When I moved from Minneapolis, MN to Nashville, TN, I got involved in a progressive church which had an affiliated non-profit ministry to prisons. Gradually the stories of the impact of these visits and the urging of the director pushed into my heart, and I agreed to go on one of the “friends” tours that brought about 40 members of the church along on 3 days of a 7-day tour. After that, I wanted to participate every time possible because I saw the world and people differently. I wanted to be a part of bringing light into dark places like prisons in ways that were life affirming and inspiring, not shaming and fear-based. The letters that come back from the inmates who have experienced these programs are filled with new hope and gratitude. Many reflect an impact that lasts, not just a one-day reprieve from their situation. Amazing!

I encourage you to look at places in your life where you have drawn lines and seen other people as totally other, totally different than the people with whom you ordinarily surround yourselves with. Step out, try new experiences, see what happens in your life. Transforming your retirement can start with taking that kind of step beyond what you already know.

If you would like to learn more about this outreach ministry, go to http://timothysgift.com

5 Stages of Creative Thinking to Enhance Your Life

Very few people are innately gifted with innovative thinking. But we can use techniques and approaches to promote creative thinking, and mind mapping is a very effective tool to that end.

Mind mapping can aid in completing the thinking process. With some practice of techniques, we all can create lots of innovative ideas – perhaps even more than a group brainstorming session can generate.

USING THE 5 STAGES OF CREATIVE THINKING WITH MIND MAPPING:

Mind mapping burst (Quick-Fire) – choose an interesting topic and draw a central image to represent it. You can use a blank paper or any other material that you can write on. The ideas that radiate from your mind should be indicated on the page. Try to generate ideas for twenty minutes. Even if some ideas seem absurd, jot them down because sometimes these ideas can be the key to breaking bad habits and coming up with new perspectives.

• 1st Reconstruction and Revision – don’t over exercise your brain. You can take a break and then try to integrate the ideas you’ve generated. Create another mind map – but this time, try to categorize the preliminary ideas. You can build hierarchies – add more subtopics to the branches – and note but don’t remove identical ideas in different branches.

• Incubation – when you’re at rest, running, or sleeping, there are times when you experience sudden realizations. In this stage, the thinking process can create probable breakthroughs.

• 2nd Reconstruction and Revision – do another mind map burst because at this stage, you have a fresher perception. Integrate all the ideas and information found in the initial mind maps and try to create a comprehensive mind map.

Final – after you’ve created a comprehensive map, you can now look for the realizations, decisions, and solutions for the topic or issue you chose.

These are the five stages in the creative thinking. Hopefully, you have seen how mind mapping can be an extremely helpful tool in creative thinking. Give these steps a try on other areas of life, issues, etc. You will surely be surprised with the explosion of innovative and creative ideas. Let mind mapping help you in uncovering your creative thinking so that you can use it often.

Mind Mapping Enhances Your Innovative Thinking

Transforming your retirement is clearly a creative project requiring innovative thinking. We are seeking to create a custom-designed joyful life that contributes to others and is deeply fulfilling. For possibly decades, we have had limited ability to step back and CREATE what we want in our lives because of commitments, responsibilities and obligations.

Innovative thinking can benefit greatly from mind mapping because it is able to consume all the common skills found in imagination, creativity, flexibility, and organization of ideas. There are some fundamental elements, identified in psychological research, that can improve your creative thinking. They include using shapes, colors, unusual elements, and dimensions. According to further studies, mind maps are the best tools in nurturing creative thinking. If you try to apply mind mapping in any of your activities, you will be able to create lots of innovative ideas than what you’ve expected.

USING SIMPLE MIND MAPS FOR CREATIVE THINKING.

Start by drawing a central image to represent a general topic. Make sure that the image is drawn at the center of the paper or blank page. Try to focus on the image and take note of the ideas that come into your mind. Welcome all ideas that enter your mind and indicate it on paper. You don’t have to write a lot of text; in fact, it will be a lot better if you use graphics or drawings instead. Take note of all the ideas no matter how absurd they may seem.

Then, take a break so that your brain can also rest. Look at the ideas that you’ve generated. Get another blank paper and create a new mind map. Use the same central image but this time you need to identify the categories and major branches. Add more subcategories in the various branches and look for new associations from the preliminary ideas. If you see repetitions of ideas in different branches, disregard them and don’t try to remove them because they might be important later on.

Your mind map will reflect your current thoughts. Study it carefully and you will be able to explore intellectually, making room for growth. When your mind is at rest, for example when you’re sleeping, you may have creative realizations. These are sudden bursts of ideas and you should immediately add them to your mind map. Continue to reconstruct your mind maps and integrate all the ideas into one map.

The goal in creating the mind map is to look for decisions, realizations, or solutions. Examine your mind map again and look for breakthroughs or new insights. Soon you will realize that all the ideas are connected with each other and you will be able to see more of how to innovatively create and transform your retirement years.

 

Transforming Your Retirement: 6 Things You Bring to Retirement

Transforming your retirement is a journey of awareness and action. As you look forward to, enter or are in the midst of retirement, it is helpful to look at what you bring to this stage of life.  Identify, examine and decide what to do with things that either can sabotage your dreams or enhance them.  Each of the topics below is covered in more detail in one or more of the posts in the category “What you bring with you to retirement.” Click on that above (right below the title) and they will all be on one page.  To see the infographic most clearly, click on the title or the image.

Transforming Your Retirement: Keep Learning!

One of the important keys to transforming your retirement to a time of joy and fulfillment is to continue learning new things. Since I am building my online business, I am learning new tech things all of the time.

Infographics are a great tool to summarize or provide an overview of information, and especially appeal to people who are more visually oriented.

Today I put together my first infographic – the 10 Questions to Ask Yourself That Can Transform Your Retirement by opening up many possibilities.

Each of these has a blog post: click on that category in the category listing in the right sidebar.

Here’s to new tools and skills!!

Transforming Your Retirement: The Cost of Inertia

Perhaps the idea of “transforming your retirement” sounds like a lot of work. Perhaps it will cost money you are trying to conserve.  Perhaps you are thinking, I can look at this closely later; reading it is interesting but doing the exercises and thinking deeply about this can wait.

My advice, my plea, is that you reconsider those thoughts.  Beware of inertia setting in.  Be alert to the tendency to slip into and stay in comfort zones which easily become ruts. Balance your desires to relax and enjoy retirement with your desire to make this stage of your life joyful and fulfilling in new ways. They are not incompatible impulses.

Mirriam Webster Dictionary defines inertia as:

+ lack of movement or activity especially when movement or activity is wanted or needed;

+ a feeling of not having the energy or desire that is needed to move, change, etc.

Yes, relax. Yes, enjoy. YES, look at what you really want for your 3rd act of life.  You can do it all.  Start a step at a time. Do the exercises in the previous blog posts under the “What You Bring With You to Retirement” and “10 Questions to Ask Yourself to Open Possibilities” categories.

You can also consider the “Unlocking Your Ideal Self” program. Learn more about it here:

http://nanacast.com/vp/120224/466697

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What’s the biggest expense we should expect with transforming your retirement?”

Transforming Your Retirement: Introducing Mind Mapping, a Multi-Purpose Tool

Mind Mapping is a great multi-purpose tool that can help with various aspects of transforming your retirement. I first became familiar with it when Tony Buzan, the creator of modern mind mapping, published Use Both Sides of Your Brain in 1976. I have used it sporadically ever since then.

Perhaps you are not familiar with mind mapping. Tony Buzan describes it as a two-dimensional technique that uses imagery, drawings and color to gather information and associations around a specific topic. The image in this post is an example. Mind mapping allows us to visualize tasks or ideas that relate to one another and to organize them. The technique taps into both the left and right sides of our brains, which makes it very powerful.

Mind mapping can be used for endless purposes, by people of all ages – including children. For example, mind mapping is very effective for: taking notes, brainstorming, goal setting, planning, problem solving, organizing, setting agendas for meetings, and more.

Here are a couple of examples. If you have a project that needs immediate attention, you can simply write down your goals using lines, short words, drawings, and graphics. In no time at all, you can already see the solution to achieve your project. Also, a mind map agenda is a great way to set out the topics of a meeting without putting them in a rigid order. The meeting can flow more organically from one topic to another.

The power of combining words and images is immeasurable and taps into the potential of the human brain like few other tools. Perhaps you are somewhat skeptical of the claims of effectiveness. Numerous studies have confirmed the how effective the tool is for various tasks, which are easily located online.

This is an invaluable tool for your toolbox as you are in the process of transforming your retirement. Other posts will go into more detail about how to use mind mapping.

Transforming Your Retirement: Activating Your Vision Board

Now that you have created at least one vision board as you are transforming your retirement, what’s next? There are alternate ways to “activate” the power of vision boards. Most proponents advocate placing them where you can see them daily, preferably multiple times daily. This repeated exposure develops strong neural pathways in your brain to what you have included.

Some practitioners talk of specific placement, i.e., being at your eye level in fairly specific places in your home or work. There are also stories of vision boards that were created and packed away for a few years before being re-discovered–and significant parts of the vision board were now reality.

Brandi Russell in her blog post about vision boards suggests posting your board in the bathroom where you can look at it while you brush your teeth in the morning and at night. That’s pretty practical. She also makes the important point that we still have to take action. We have to take advantage of the resources and opportunities that present themselves as we are focusing on what we want our life to be. If you are focused and are open to the “nudges”, the ideas that pop into your mind, you will have things to do. As you take the action, believe that the answer is “yes” and that what you desire is already on its way.

Katy on her Midlife Rambler blog identified 5 reasons that vision boards may not have the results you desire. These may be helpful as you look back at what you have created and are ready to try this strategy:

First, you may be focusing on goals rather than feelings. You always want images that elicit the feelings you seek. Second, is not being clear about what will make you happy. Also, rushing the process too much, keeping a vision board that doesn’t resonate any more, and forgetting to look at the board.
Vision boards can be very helpful in the process of transforming your retirement. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Transforming Your Retirement: Creating Vision Boards

Now that we know what a vision board is and how powerful it can be in helping in transforming your retirement, it’s time to create a vision board.

Tools and Materials
Creating a vision board can be as simple as cutting photos out of a magazine and tacking them up on your office bulletin board, or it can be as complex as a hand-made frame with personal photos and trinkets. There are at least 3 basic ways you can proceed:

• Digital: Created with software designed for the task, or with Photoshop or some other image-editing tool. Ease of use is the obvious benefit with this kind of vision board, because you can quickly add and edit your board.
• Physical: Paper, bulletin boards, whiteboards, or even a wall in your home with hanging pictures. Your creative options are endless here, but your vision board will obviously be less portable.
• Mobile: Created on an app made for tablets and phones. The advantage here is that you’ll have your vision board with you everywhere you go.

Regardless of which type you choose, remember this before you begin to work on your vision board:

“So, what’s the big secret to creating a vision board that works? It’s simple: Your vision board should focus on how you want to feel, not just on things that you want. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to include the material stuff, too. However, the more your board focuses on how you want to feel, the more it will come to life.” – Elizabeth Rider, “The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make Them”, TheHuffington Post Blog, 01/12/2015

Another thing Elizabeth Rider says in the above post is that “There is only one major rule to creating a vision board that works, and it’s that there aren’t any rules. You aren’t going to mess it up, you can create your vision board on your own terms.”

Creating Physical Vision Boards
Remember when you were a kid in art class? Your vision board materials can be just as much fun—especially if you’re creating a physical board to hang on your wall.

Start by gathering up a selection of materials to work with:
• Swatches of fabric and ribbon
• A stack of old magazines (hit up your local library for their outdated copies)
• Colored pencils and markers
• Construction paper
• Poster board
• Crayons
• Glue and tape
• Scissors
• Stamps & ink pads

Flip through the magazines. Resist the urge to get sucked into the articles, and instead, concentrate on how you feel as you see the photos. Do they make you happy? Do you smile at a particular shot? Does it bring to mind a particular goal or dream? Cut out the images that speak to you in some way.

Don’t worry about organizing them or categorizing them at this point. For now, just make a stack of images that have meaning for you.

Next, take your board—and it can be a single piece of paper, a full-size poster board, or even the bulletin board in your office—and begin arranging your images, quotes and other materials.

You can have a single board with areas devoted to each aspect of your life, or a different board for each. Your board can be a hodgepodge of random images, or a carefully laid out plan that progresses naturally from one to the next. It can be color coordinated or not. Ultimately, it has to please no one but you, so let your creativity flow.

Don’t be afraid to use your pencils and markers to decorate your board, draw attention to certain images, or divide it into distinct quadrants. You can add dates and dollar figures if you like, or the names of people you want to think of as you work with it. Most importantly, just have fun.

Creating Digital Boards
Digital boards have the advantage of being portable, so you can enjoy and be inspired by them anywhere. Plus, they’re easy to recreate and re-imagine as your goals, dreams and values change.

There are several web-based apps that will help you create your boards that you can consider. One favorite is DreamItAlive.com, which not only provides the tools to create your “dreamboard” (as they call it) but also a community of like-minded dreamers to support and encourage you. Best of all, Dream It Alive is free to join.
Use vision boards to bring your dreams and goals to life as you are transforming your retirement into a beautiful time of life.