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Retirement: A New Balancing Act for You

There's more to retirement life than just finding your passion


It’s all the rage now. You’re supposed to find, follow and live your passion. I’m one of those who shout it from the rooftops. In fact, the closing words to my TED talk about fear are, “Let the passion drive you through any fear and obstacles that get in your way. Have confidence in your passion as a tool of strength. Passion is stronger than fear. Let passion rule your day.”

And in my coaching course, Sail Into Retirement™, Module One is all about finding your passion.

But with so much attention on finding our passion, we sometimes fail to see the beauty and importance in other areas of our lives. Even in retirement.

The Happiest Retirees

The happiest retired people I know are interested in more than a lone passion. They lead a balanced life. That’s because retirement is a balancing act.

From my experience as a retirement coach, while the happiest retirees have a passion, they leave enough room in their lives for the other spokes of the wheel.

We can all improve the balance in our lives, so why not start right here, right now with Your Retirement Wheel? (Go here to see how it works and get a free copy so you can print and write on it.)

Mark how you think you’re doing, or will do, on each of the spokes of the wheel. Farthest out at 5 is best. If you draw a line connecting those marks on each spoke, how circular does your wheel look? Why are some of the elements of your wheel not at the furthest point? Can you work on them? Most people are able to see painfully clearly from this exercise what areas need effort.

Spokes of the Wheel

From my experience as a retirement coach, while the happiest retirees have a passion, they leave enough room in their lives for the other spokes of the wheel.

Achieving a balanced life is an eagerness to explore all that life has to offer. How do you do that? One step at a time.

Just do one thing to improve the wheel’s balance — in one area — once a day, week or month. Slowly but surely, your wheel will come back in balance. For example, if your social/family area is 2, go visit a friend. Then move that spoke from a 2 to a 3.

Improving Your Retirement Balance

Here are ideas to spark your own thinking on how to improve your balance in retirement:

Share and mentor: For your entire life, you have been accumulating knowledge, skills, and wisdom about your profession. What will happen to all of this information? Will you pass it on to others? Teaching, mentoring and volunteering are rewarding and the options are endless.

You can teach at night school, assist at private schools, offer seminars or speak. You can mentor kids or entrepreneurs, coach kids or adult sports teams.

Stay physically and mentally active: Yoga, run, swim, bike, walk, and yes, golf. Keep moving and limit the television hours.

Stay healthy: You now have more time to shop at less convenient, but healthier sources, such as farmer’s markets. And you have the time to cook healthier. Do I really need to talk about the benefits of exercise? Keep moving!

Travel, explore and learn: It can be sailing around the world, exploring the U.S.A. in a motor home, or just becoming a tourist in your own town. That’s a blast!

Work on your relationships: Get into one or improve the one you have. Is your spouse or partner on board with what you want to do in retirement? What are you going to do if not? Communicate with your partner now more than ever.

The key to getting your life in balance is to make a plan.

Try a day without a plan and see what you achieve. Then try it again by planning the night before how you’ll spend the next day. Include times, people, events and errands.

You’ll see a marked difference when you have a day plan. Imagine what you could achieve if you had a plan for your newly balanced life!

By Larry Jacobson
Larry Jacobson is a thought leader in the field of non-fiscal retirement planning. He is an award-winning author of The Boy Behind the Gate, a motivational speaker and a leading retirement and transition coach. He is creator of Buoy Coaching and Sail Into Retirement, an online interactive video classroom. He welcomes new contacts at [email protected]

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