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

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.

Transforming Your Retirement: Vision Boards Work in Many Areas of Life

Vision boards can affect various aspects of your life as you are transforming your retirement. 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 retirement into a time of joy and fulfillment. Vision boards are a tool to help you do that.

Transforming Your Retirement: The Power of Vision Boards

In the process of transforming your retirement, 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 retirement, vision boards can help you focus on those things that will give you joy and fulfillment.