"I don't know what I want," Ben said. "I just know I want more direction for my future." Ben (not his real name) is in his fifties, a high-achieving professional who is trying to decide when to retire. He's smart, funny, caring, and a leader in his field, but he has been feeling unsatisfied recently. Tired of the office politics.
"I'm curious," I say. "It seems that you like your work. How would retiring benefit you?"
"Well, actually, there's this thing I've been wanting to do . . . "
And we're off. It turns out that Ben is, in fact, pretty darn clear about what he wants after all.
Why Thinking About Retirement Makes Us Fuzzy
Ben had an idea of what would really make him happy, but he didn't see how he could get it. So his thinking was fuzzy.
He had bought the all or nothing line. That's the line that says, "Go to college, work hard for 40 years, save your money, work full-time and then relax! Don't work. Because you're retired! Whoopee! The end!"
Life isn't like this. Life isn't a series of dead ends. In our gut, we know this. That's why we don't like to think about retirement. We don't want to be a dead end.
Don't buy the line. You've got a lot more living to do.
Here's the most useful thing I have to say mastering "what's next" fuzziness. Get more clarity about what's truly important to you in living your life. Give yourself time. It can take awhile. When you have your bottom line - for now - start living it!
Getting clear isn't always easy, but it's totally worth it, because whose life are you living, anyway? Do you really want to be living some else's life when you're 90 years old?
How to Get Clarity so You Get What You Want
- Know what matters to you.
- Know how you want to show up in the world.
- Know what energizes, excites, and inspires you.
- Know what depletes you.
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