By Michael McNeill

I waited until after I retired to start thinking about what I wanted to do in the next chapter of my life. After all, I reasoned, I had no time to think this through in the thick of my career as a CEO coach–and I’d have plenty of planning time after leaving my job behind.

lost in business

Wrong! I discovered the hard way that it’s essential to begin exploring your next phase of life before leaving the current one behind. When you’re still on the job, you have a community of support and thought partnership to inspire each other with new possibilities, brainstorm new ideas, and help you to envision the future. If you expect the same level of community support and input after you leave, you may be sorely disappointed.

Here’s what happened to me:
• My best golfing buddy gave up the game due to injury.
• My best open-water swimming buddy died.
• My former colleagues are challenged to fit lunch with me into their busy schedules.
• My spouse was still busy traveling for her work.
• I had fewer people in my life who knew who I “used to be.”
• I began to forget who I “used to be.”
• I went through a course of radiation that had a huge impact on my energy.
• The reality of discovering/inventing what matters set in without a familiar network to help me execute.
• And every day feels like a weekend or holiday, which diminishes the urgency to get going today.

What I’ve learned is that planning and preparation are much more satisfying while you are still engaged in the business life which has afforded your retirement. Why?

• Your contacts are still fresh and energized.
• The needs of your community or charities are more clear and obvious.
• Your resources are current and abundant
• You are still surrounded by enthusiastic thought partners.

So don’t do what I did. Instead, find time and structure and people to start thinking about your new life before you abandon the old one. Get some coaching on this. Find an ongoing community of support for your next chapter. What’s next could well be the best part of your life so far, but that doesn’t happen by accident.

Join LifeReinspired to support your plan for your next chapter.

granpa and child

Michael Karr MacNeill is a senior advisor to Life Reinspired, a reset lab for successful Baby Boomers contemplating a meaningful next chapter of life.