What Do You Want?
People are living longer than our forebears. They are, voluntarily or otherwise, grappling with how to spend those extra years. They are searching for meaning and fulfillment as they age. That search may begin as early as ones late 30’s or as late as ones early 60’s. We can view it as mid-life crisis or as an ongoing quest to embrace life in all its wonder and richness.
As a chaplain, life and career coach I created a program called Encores! that is specifically targeted for people engaged in that search. Working with individuals and couples, I help people create a road map for mid-life and beyond.
The first step in creating a road map is to identify what you want your life and career to look like from the present forward. I use a process of client inquiry to discover what he/she or they want to derive from their lives. I ask them to complete a Whole Person Health Assessment that measures physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and life style factors. In addition, respondents reflect and respond to many questions including:
- What would your life & career look like if you knew you could not fail?
- What brings you joy?
- What would you like to accomplish before you take your last breath?
- What flow moments have you experienced in your life?
- What would you like to leave behind for your children, relatives, and the world at large?
The outcome of such inquiry is the development of a vivid vision of the designed life. I charge each person with the responsibility of designing their own lives. Only they can do that for themselves. I serve as their coach, support person, and tour guide.
What’s Out There for You?
The world is our oyster and the pearls are there for us if we will only open ourselves to the richness of what the universe has to offer. During this phase my clients use their inner telescopes and magnifying glasses to identify and seek out the multitude of resources available to enrich their physical, psychological, career, relational, and financial health and well-being.
Through thorough research, coupled with self-reflection and my coaching, members of the Encores! community address the challenges that arise in mid-life and beyond asking themselves
- Is my primary relationship satisfying?
- Am I happy with my present career?
- How am I going to finance my kids’ college educations?
- How am I going to care for my aging parents?
- How can I improve my own health and well-being?
- Are my spiritual needs being nourished?
I have personally recruited members to serve on the Encores! Resource Team to link clients with specialists who can provide them with the knowledge and guidance to work through these challenges. The Resource Team includes financial advisors (such as my friends with the Musuneggi Financial Group), attorneys, estate planners, diet and nutrition consultants, fitness trainers, realtors, psychologists, and marriage counselors. Each Team member offers a free, no obligation session for my clients.
As human beings, we are the products of our genetic make-up, our conditioning, the traumas we have experienced, and our willingness to work through our fears & resistance. There are three things in life that we can always count on: death, taxes, and change. Isn’t that comforting?
We may long for stability, security, and structure, but the flow of life does not accommodate our longing.
As a chaplain who has worked with the dying and their families, as someone who has worked with individuals trapped in the web of addiction, and with people living on the edge of survival, I know all too well the pain of fear and resistance.
Fear and resistance are normal reactions to various forms of violence and chaos that are integral to 21st century life. However, if we are to not only survive but find fulfillment in our lives, we must learn how to work through our fears and resistance to change and take action to move our lives forward.
I have developed three approaches to dealing with fear and resistance:
- An easy to learn breath meditation to center ourselves in the present moment.
- Focusing where we identify and learn to be with painful emotions or thoughts without being overcome by them. Focusing enables us to utilize the body’s wisdom to decrease the power of negative emotional patterns.
- Deconstructing beliefs which limit our ability to live life to the fullest. With this approach we discover these beliefs are simply not true.
Looking at the Numbers
Whether you are thinking of changing careers, saving for college or retirement, caring for aging parents, you need to consider money. Often referred to as “the root of all evil,” money is a tool that, used wisely, can bring more fulfillment and satisfaction into our lives. Unfortunately, many of us have never been taught how to manage our money wisely. We have been called a nation of spenders, not savers and the amount of consumer debt we Americans carry is the stuff of nightmares. Most families are two-income families and when one of the providers loses his or her job, the family struggles because those families spend what they bring in. They don’t have savings to fall back on.
All of which brings me to emphasize the value of the “right” financial advisor. During the 12 years since I established my coaching practice, I have met quite a few financial advisors. In most instances, I was not impressed. With some, I wondered about their competency. With others, I worried about their business ethics.
I am not well versed in either personal or business finance. That is why I emphasize the importance of finding someone who is extremely knowledgeable, known for their integrity, who places client needs foremost, and who checks in regularly with their clients to keep them informed of national and global developments and to learn if their clients’ needs have changed since the last meeting.
If you do not have an advisor, get references from trusted friends and business colleagues. Interview several before making your final decision. They should be willing to grant you a free initial session. Of course I’m biased. I’ve known Chris and Mary Grace for many years now and I personally recruited them to be members of my Encores! Resource Team. They have my highest recommendation.
Exploring Your Network
Someone once said that everyone knows at least 250 people. Whether this is exactly true, each of us does know many people: friends, relatives, our insurance rep, our attorney, our hairdresser – well, you get the picture. We can reach out and touch those people and deepen our relationships with them.
In the job marketplace, the term “networking” is used and misused so frequently that it has lost much of its meaning. When I use the term I am referring to a system of word of mouth referral networking that can be used with great effectiveness to land that next job, heal a wounded marriage, locate a great plumber, and so on. I use this approach as a key component in my coaching practice.
Designing Your Plan & Making it Happen
Designing, planning, and executing are three separate but linked processes. All are essential for realizing you Encore life and career. You must have a clear vision, a realistic and achievable action plan, and the commitment to working your plan. Some people will be able to achieve their goals on their own. Most will find the use of a coach and various product and service providers essential to successful outcomes.
I offer a free, no obligation session where I can learn more about you and your needs and where I can share in more detail how I work with clients. Each person I work with is unique and my coaching is focused on developing that uniqueness. I have a broad fee and payment schedule that will accommodate the financial resources of most people. Please contact me for more information.