By Sabrina Roblin
Retiring from a long time successful career is a big transition that means change on many levels. One of the most challenging of these changes is the move from being an expert with years of experience on a career track, to a learner in a new chapter of life. As an expert in a long held career, we have the respect of co-workers and employees; a known schedule and structure to the day, week, month and year; company benefits; purpose; and the satisfaction of successful problem solving and project completions. As a learner in a new chapter of life all of this changes and the discomfort and vulnerability this creates can be overwhelming. Not everyone has this reaction, but if you do, it’s natural to feel disoriented and be tempted to distract from or cover up the feelings which will keep you from the fullness of what’s possible in the next chapter. A measure of our success is the measure of our capacity to be in discomfort.
If we want to successfully navigate this transition and create a new chapter for ourselves, we have got to embrace the discomfort of the losses and vulnerability this transition presents to us. This takes grit, focus, patience, trust, flexibility and the willingness to ask for help- qualities we can call on that we’ve likely honed over a successful career. And I say “we” as I’ve been through this transition and the first year was more uncomfortable than I expected. I grieved the loss of my career, my role, my colleagues and the life that went along with it. It took some time for me to process all the feelings and it was only by embracing the fear and vulnerability that I found my way to a new vision and purpose for the next chapter of my life. So if you’re launching into or in the midst of this transition:
- embrace the feelings and if you become overwhelmed or depressed, get support from close friends, your significant other and experts
- spend some time doing things you love and have a measure of competency doing, whether it’s a sport, a consulting project, or a hobby
- take time to dream
- spend time in nature
- eat well and rest well
- get a journal and when the inspiration hits, capture the ideas, thoughts and visions you have about how to create the next chapter of your life
- be patient, the transition may take more time than you expect
It was the challenge of navigating this transition and what I learned along the way that inspired me to co-create Life Reinspired and a program which has the tools, guidance and support to help individuals successfully navigate this life change. So whether you’re an individual looking to retire or an HR Manager looking for a program to support employees in exiting well, please contact us for more information.