Whether you are a CEO or a floor manager, there are very similar experiences as you prepare to leave a career or position of power. Typically, most people invest their entire lives in their careers. Work is the only thing they consider and focus on, often at the expense of relationships, outside interests and friends. While this focus allowed them to climb up the corporate ladder, it never allowed time to develop anything outside their career identity.
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People who climb the corporate ladder enjoy and revel in the accolades, power and status. Their identity is secured in their career, power and influence over others. They are leaders of their divisions and companies and life is good for them while they are working. As they age and approach retirement, however, life starts to become full of fear, anxiety and depression at the thought of leaving a role of power and influence.
So why do these emotions pop up as they think about their exit? It is important to remember that many of these people focused only on their career and work and ignored other aspects of their lives. When we let other parts of life become neglected and wither, we are only a one-trick pony. Can this change? OF COURSE!! I am going to share one way to start building your new life as you prepare for retirement.
Retirement does not mean a death sentence. With some work, you (and your partner) can build a retirement plan to live a meaningful life full of activities, purpose and meaning that will give you freedom and adventure. The tough part of retiring from a position of power and status is letting go. I do an exercise in which my client writes a career obituary. You need to treat this like the death of a loved one. Grieving for your career will happen, but you need to let go and understand that you may not achieve same level of power and status in retirement. I have my client explore what gives them meaning in life.
Take time to explore and see what allows you a chance to grow and flourish with purpose and structure in your retirement life. Ask these questions to start the process:
- What gives me joy in my life outside of work?
- What are my options for work/career in retirement?
- How do I want to structure my days?
- Do I want to give back to my community?
- Is there something I always wanted to do or learn?
Reflect on these questions. The goal is to take action and start building your life outside of your work and your career identity. Use your power and skills to take charge of your life, just as you did within your career. Be the CEO of your own life!
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Written by: Mark Danaher, Career Retirement Coach
CEO & Founder, Career Retirement Coach at Retire to the Good Life. Request a free consultation with Mark.