Transforming Your Years After 50: The Cost of Inertia

Perhaps the idea of “transforming your years after 50” 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 the extra time and space you have 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:

Unlocking Your Ideal Self

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Transforming Your Years After 50: Introducing Mind Mapping, a Multi-Purpose Tool

Mind Mapping is a great multi-purpose tool that can help with various aspects of transforming your years after 50. 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 years after 50. Other posts will go into more detail about how to use mind mapping.

Transforming Your Years After 50: Activating Your Vision Board

Now that you have created at least one vision board as you are transforming your years after 50, 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 years after 50. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Transforming Your Years After 50 : Creating Vision Boards

Now that we know what a vision board is and how powerful it can be in helping in transforming your years after 50, 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 years after 50 into a beautiful time of life.

Transforming Your Years After 50: Vision Boards Work in Many Areas of Life

Vision boards can affect various aspects of your life as you are transforming your 3rd Act. When you create your vision board, regardless of which of life’s aspects you’re focusing on, be sure to look for images and words that make you feel the way you imagine you’ll feel when you achieve your goal. It’s not about what you want to have. It’s about how you want to feel.

Any area of your life can benefit from a vision board. Here are some key areas with some tips.

Self-Care
How’s your health? For many people over 50 years old`, it could be better.

How can a vision board help? By making it clear how much better you will feel (there’s that word again) when you do eat healthy, exercise, and are hydrated.

A vision board filled with images of fun activities in relaxing locations is just the thing to remind you—the next time you reach for another slice of pizza—that you’re working toward an achievable goal.

Family & Friends
We don’t often think of vision boards as being helpful with building relationships, but give it a try. First think about…
• What kind of relationships do you want to have?
• What’s most important to you as a spouse? Parent? Son or daughter? Friend?
• How do you want your spouse to feel when he sees you?
• How do you want your kids to feel when they’re teenagers?

Fill your vision board with items that represent the best relationships you can imagine, and soon enough, you’ll begin creating those bonds in your own life.

Recreation and Adventure
This might be the easiest area. Include both things that you could easily do and the big dream trips or adventures. Focus on how you will feel when you are doing these things.

With your vision board populated with meaningful images, thoughtful and motivating quotes, inspirational messages, and plenty of creativity, even these big scary goals suddenly feel much more attainable.

Finances
A creative vision board can help with your financial goals, too. Start by asking yourself…
• What does financial freedom mean to me?
• How can I change the world if I earn more money?
• What charities will I support when I start earning $xxx?

Then find the images that represent the feeling of fulfillment and joy you’ll have as you’re able to achieve these goals and more. Maybe that’s a photo of needy children your church group helps support, or an animal rescue organization you love. Or maybe it’s just a big pile of money so you can retire young and live on a yacht. It’s your dream, and it can be anything you want it to be.

These areas and others are all part of transforming your years after 50 into a time of joy and fulfillment. Vision boards are a tool to help you do that.

Transforming Your Years After 50: The Power of Vision Boards

In the process of transforming your years after 50, vision boards can help you be and do the things you desire. How? You have probably heard of the law of attraction, which some years ago became widely known through the movie and book, The Secret. Simply stated, when we focus on something, we attract more of it, whether positive or negative.

If you spend all your time worrying about money, it seems to slip right through your fingers. If you obsess over your weight, the pounds stubbornly hold on. And if you daydream about relaxing in the Caribbean sun, you’re a lot more likely to find yourself on a beach chair in the near future.

This isn’t some airy-fairy make-believe, either. We’ve known for decades that daydreams have power, and that purposeful visualization is the key to greater success in every area of life.

Top athletes practice endlessly, not only on the field, but in their minds. They actually see that perfect shot, winning race, or stunning back flip. They concentrate on the minute movements that make it possible, how their muscles will react every second, and how they will feel at the end of a stellar performance. This type of visualization creates neural pathways in our brains that are virtually indistinguishable from those caused by completing the act itself.

The result? Nearly the same as with actual, physical practice.

It works the same way for you. When you visualize your ideal retirement years, your happy home life, your dream vacation, and even your income goals, you’re primed to achieve them. And you’ll meet those goals much faster and with fewer stumbles than if you simply list your goals (and deadlines) on a calendar.

Like anything though, effective visualization takes practice. As kids, we spend much of our time daydreaming and playacting, but those are skills we lose as we age. A vision board can help kick start those creative visualization skills again.

Here’s another benefit of creating a vision board: It will boost your spirits when you face life’s inevitable struggles. Having a bad day? Spend some time working on your vision board, and you’ll feel noticeably lighter at heart.

Feeling overwhelmed? Take a look at your vision board for an instant reminder of why you’re working hard now, and what you stand to gain from it.

Struggling to reach a client? Read through some of the beautiful things other clients have shared about their journey with you. You’ll be immediately reminded about how valuable you are, and why you do what you do.

Vision boards can be effective in many areas of life – health, family and friends, leisure, finances, learning, etc. As you continue transforming your years after 50, vision boards can help you focus on those things that will give you joy and fulfillment.

Transforming Your Years After 50: What if My Current Relationships Improve and I Create New Ones Regularly?

It’s easy to get in a rut with our relationships over the years. We may not even notice what had evolved into comfortable, known patterns are now more of a rut. As we individually travel down our life journey, our needs change but our relationships don’t always evolve along with them. If we haven’t moved or changed jobs for many years, our circle of friends, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances may not have changed too much.

As we change our status from employed to retired, it dramatically affects our relationships. Let’s look at some of those relationships, how they will change, and how to re-create them during this time of change.

Relationships with Your Spouse or Whoever Lives in Your Home with You

You will likely be spending much more time with the people in your household during retirement even if they still go to a job each day. Take some time before you retire if possible to discuss what this change will mean for all of you. Here are some topics you may want to look at.

+ Household maintenance responsibilities. What are your expectations of how that will change; what are theirs? Especially if they still go to a job, their expectations may be that you will have time to do all of the cleaning, cooking, etc. That may not be your expectation. Discuss this and negotiate if necessary.
+ Household expenses and budget. Be sure you’re on the same page about this as soon as possible.
+ Any hints that there are new issues caused by your new status. Raise them sooner rather than later. This can be an exciting time of reformulating and renewing your relationship.

Relationships with Other Family Members

You’ve probably anticipated that family members who are still working will be thinking or saying, “S/he is retired now; s/he can do that.” It may be planning the next family gathering, taking a larger share of caretaking or support for an elderly relative, taking care of grandchildren or other children in the family…you get the idea. To minimize the friction about such issues, be proactive in informing family members what your intentions are as you move into retirement. Let them know what you will be doing with “all that time.” If you are willing to take on some additional things as noted above, say that also. If there are not-so-positive responses, it’s better to work them out early than to have tension and negativity. Invite them to celebrate your new status and plans. You will also be modeling how they can make the transition themselves

Relationships with Your Former Co-Workers

You probably spent more hours with them in a given week than with any of your friends and perhaps even family members, and now they will be outside of your daily orbit. At the farewell lunch or party, you will probably talk about getting together regularly as a group or at least with a few of your closest friends. This can be a good transition strategy for you because abruptly cutting off all of those relationships can be an emotional loss. Unless you are leaving under negative circumstances, keeping some contact with the organization and the work may be a positive move.
As you continue relationships, be alert for any signs that this has become an obligation on either side rather than a genuine desire for contact. If this happens, you have a couple of choices: decrease the frequency of get-togethers or together redefine your relationship. Rather than the occasional lunch during a workday which tends to put the meeting in the context of work, do something else together in the evening or on the weekend. Develop new shared experiences this way.

Relationships with Friends Outside the Workplace

Maybe you have retired friends who will assume that you are free and ready to spend lots of additional time with them now. If you agree on that, great! If you want to spend your time differently than they do, however, here’s another opportunity for early direct communication. Have a conversation focused on your transition to retirement, your plans and dreams and how your relationship with them fits into that. You will build the foundation of the next phase of your relationship and could even inspire them to be more intentional about their retirement lives.
As you are transforming your years after 50 – especially as you move to retirement –  you will also meet new people and form new relationships. This can be one of the greatest parts of these years.

Transforming Your Retirement: What if You Generated Any Needed Income in Creative, Fun, Fulfilling Ways?

It is very possible that a significant number of baby boomer retirees will need to generate additional income during retirement. As the economy has had ups and downs, savings, investments and pensions have been affected. Companies have even reneged on promised pensions and paid health to retirees. Others were already low on savings and had inadequate pensions.

Transforming your retirement may include some income-generating activity so that you can afford to do the things you most want to do. One of the most important mindset issues is to replace concern, fear and worry with positive expectation and belief that there are many more ways to earn income than we realize.

Part time jobs fit some people’s needs; independent work rather than an hourly job will be appealing to many of you. You can be a consultant, a virtual assistant, a writer, or have your own business – online or offline, brick and mortar or virtual, free standing or direct sales through network marketing, to name a few options.

Once you have expanded your horizons about what the range of possibilities are, the challenge is to determine the best match for you. Let’s examine some possibilities.

Using your knowledge and skills to earn money

Grab your handy notebook or computer file and do the following:
Make a chart (if doing by hand) or spreadsheet (on computer) that has the following cells listed vertically in the left column:

1) Knowledge & skills acquired through your employment
2) Knowledge & skills you’ve acquired through hobbies
3) Knowledge & skills acquired through volunteer involvement and community participation
4) Knowledge & skills you’d like to acquire in areas of your interest and then share with others

Then put the following horizontally across the top of the chart or spreadsheet:

1) Ways that you could share this information (for example, teach community education classes; write books or ebooks; provide workshops, teleclasses, webinars; be a consultant; etc.)
2) Places, venues or contacts that may provide places for you to do this and earn money (for example, specific community colleges in your area, your city school district community education, your church or other churches, online publishing, online radio or podcasts, etc.)

Start with what you can think of right now and continue to fill it in and expand it as you explore more possibilities. This chart or spreadsheet can be a resource and inspiration for you for a long time.

Virtual Work

Another way to use your skills is to provide products and services from your computer that others need. You can work at home or practically anywhere you can access high speed internet. There are thousands of Virtual Administrative Assistants who provide administrative support for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses, including website construction and maintenance, online marketing and more. These can be long or short term jobs. I did support work for the church I worked for in Minnesota for a year and a half after I moved to California: newsletters, bulletins, board meeting minutes and PowerPoint presentations. There are a number of websites where you can learn more about this type of work. Search for “virtual assistant.”

Direct Sales/Network Marketing

Direct selling through network marketing has become a recognized business model that is used by many large corporations and endorsed by financial experts. It is a viable option for many people in this economy and well worth exploring.

There are hundreds of network marketing company options and it can be very difficult to decide which company to choose. One resource to assist you with this is:
http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/networkmarketingmlm/a/10tipstopicknwm.htm

Affiliate Sales Online

Affiliate Sales basically means selling other people’s products. You can sign up for many affiliate programs, free of charge, and earn a commission for selling products that are made available through that affiliate program. This is a well-established way of earning money and you can do it in areas that are of particular interest to you. You can be an affiliate for companies that sell “hard” products – books, appliances, tools, jewelry, etc. – or information products online. There is a huge amount of information available to help you get started and be effective. You can begin with Amazon.com Associate Program. The commissions are low, but the wide range of products makes it very attractive. They provide lots of affiliate resources also.

These are some of the possible ways you can generate money to augment your income as you are transforming your retirement. As you begin your exploration, start by looking at what you enjoy doing.

Transforming Your Retirement: What if You Created a Legacy Notebook?

“There are certain things that are fundamental to human fulfillment. The essence of these needs is captured in the phrase ‘to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy’. The need to live is our physical need for such things as food, clothing, shelter, economical well-being, health. The need to love is our social need to relate to other people, to belong, to love and to be loved. The need to learn is our mental need to develop and to grow. And the need to leave a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.”  –Stephen R. Covey

Part of transforming your retirement into one of satisfaction can be this legacy work. You can start by creating a very simple tool, a Legacy Notebook.
Section 1 of your notebook can be writing down the kind of legacy you want to leave in each of the areas:
1) how you are remembered as a person – your personality, the way you treated others, what people saw in you and learned from you;
2) the work you did and the impact it had on others,
3) the family you left behind,
4) contributions of time, energy, creativity and finances that enriched others, and more.

There are a variety of ways to draw forth great thoughts, memories, etc. Some people suggest you write the obituary you would like to have written about you, or the eulogy you would like someone to deliver at your funeral or memorial service. If that appeals to you, do that.

Section 2 of your notebook can be journaling about the things in Section 1 not yet accomplished, but desired. These questions may be a guide in that process:

1. What might you do to bring this legacy into reality?
2. What will need to change for that to be possible?
3. How can you start moving in that direction?
4. Start writing your responses to these questions and let them be your guide to designing your coming months and years.

Section 3 of your notebook can be a place to list documents, recognitions, plaques, etc. that record or recognize specific parts of your legacy. For example, you may have received a plaque for “outstanding service to the citizens of your neighborhood” for a particular project. You might also collect any actual items into a “legacy box.”

Section 4 of your notebook can be a place to record your ideas of ways to communicate your legacy. You may write a book, compile a scrapbook, record an audio or video, or all of the above. As you continue to gather content and add to your legacy with new accomplishments, you may decide on additional ways.

Transforming your retirement from a foundation of clarity about your legacy – aspects that are already accomplished and those that you are still working on – can be an amazing experience.

Transforming Your Retirement: What if I left a stunning legacy to my family and others?

Most of us want to make a difference in the world; we want to leave a legacy behind. As you move toward or into this period of transforming your retirement, it is an ideal time to take time to both reflect on your life so far and look forward to what you want to add to your legacy in the years ahead.

There are different kinds of legacies, including:
1) how you are remembered as a person – your personality, the way you treated others, what people saw in you and learned from you;
2) the work you did and the impact it had on others,
3) the family you left behind,
4) contributions of time, energy, creativity and finances that enriched others, and more.

Perhaps you think it’s too late at this stage of your life to do anything about it. “Que sera, sera; whatever will be, will be.” That’s simply not true. Although you can’t go back and do things over, you do have the ability to interpret and draw meaning from your life so far and to add to your legacy. That can benefit both you and those who view you and your life now and in the future.

Perhaps you are thinking now that this seems self-centered and presumptuous. But consider this. We live in times where celebrities of various kinds have become the primary role models for many people. Our electronic media of all kinds have become the purveyors of values and significance. Too much information, much of it trivial, has blocked out the truly meaningful messages about life, contribution, family and legacy.

You have the ability and, dare I say, the responsibility to make your contribution to changing this sad state of affairs! Too many of our younger people seem to have little interest in what has happened in the past, either in the society and the world or in their own families. This should not stop us from doing our part. Each of us has a unique experience that is given to us as a gift and can be given as a gift to others.

It may be of immediate interest to your family; it may not. It may take years – even decades or centuries – for someone to sincerely look for who you were and what your life was about. If you haven’t documented that in a way that can be saved and accessed, it is lost.

I suggest that you do some legacy work, first of all for yourself – to look at this precious journey and what it has meant to you – and secondly, to influence and communicate the legacies you leave behind. It can be a significant part of transforming your retirement into a time of joy and fulfillment.