Sunday, September 22, 2013

Visualize Your Future – And Do it Now

… The people I have met …\

I am going to address the real need to look beyond this year, or next year or the next five or ten years and get a visual of what you will do in your “retirement” years – and act on it beginning now. I promise. I will not talk about sitting on the beach or playing bocce. That is what everyone talks about when the word retirement is mentioned. 

Retirement for many is this distant goal that seems to get further away as we age and given the impact on 401K’s and other retirement vehicles as a result of the nasty recession. For many, retirement isn’t just dropping it all and not doing anything – that is just not how most are “wired” today. Retirement may mean to dial back on responsibilities but doing work of some kind that is your choice and addresses your goals, not the goals of your employer.

Most focus on the financial retirement plan, and it is important. As well, so is your vision for your future, and what you want to do. Many retirement planners emphasize that visualization of your life and role is more important that your financial plan. But sadly, I meet many in my office who have retired or semi-retired and are lost. They didn’t visualize what they would do, and now they are confused and yes, bored! They yearn to be “reconnected”, to have purpose and to be engaged. I work with them to identify a plan to move them forward and toward re-engagement, but prefer to do this with people when they first thinking about retiring or changing their lifestyle. 

The people I have met … and I have met many!
I meet people all the time and hear some great – and often not so great stories. I met a Patient Technician at Albany Medical Center who made the decision 10+ years before he is eligible to retire to change his lifestyle. He was in a high-powered marketing position with a company downstate and when a buy-out was offered, he jumped on it. He completed his training as a patient technician and loves his work. He is helping people, each and every day. He visualized what his life should be and acted on it.
I met an attorney who is looking five years down the road at a lifestyle change, and retirement. She isn’t visualizing being an attorney when she retires, but rather, wants to be engaged in teaching and coaching others – and she is beginning to do that now. Her transition is beginning – now.

And the stories could go on and on. For me, this part of my business – helping others visualize their second careers – next act or their retirement (whatever that means for them) – is tremendously fulfilling. One of my clients and friends told me it is “god’s work” – don’t know if I would go that far!

Am I describing you or someone you know?
Probably so. There is a process to this – and yes, it begins with visualizing. Visualizing what you see yourself doing in your next act on this earth, that makes you happy and smile. It is taking time off the treadmill of life to think – really think – about what is important to you, your spouse and others. 

Four Steps to move you forward – What – Where – How- When:

Step One: Visualize what will make you happy and engaged in your next chapter – As I have been describing here. This is the “what”.
Step Two: Visualize where you are – Location is critical. Perhaps it is for warmer climate, or other setting. Know where you want to go, research the area, and commit to a timetable to get there. This is the “where”.
Step Three: Visualize how you will achieve your goal – This is very important. You can visualize all you want, but nothing happens until you develop a plan and then commit to it. This is the “how”. The plan may be to begin engaging in your next act now, while employed, so you are ready to jump. It might be to redirect your career or job to ne more in line with your longer term second act goals.
Step Four: Know when it is time to begin your visualization process – Part of a plan is knowing when to engage in this process of visualization and planning. It can be in your 30’s – 40’s – 50’s -60’s. From my experience, the “sweet years” are in your 40’s 50’s when the thoughts begin entering your head. This is the When.

Act now to achieve your plan later. Visualize. Enjoy. And thank you for reading this. - Dan

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