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Feeling Unhappy in Your Job? 3 Essential Tips For Changing Your Career



Seeking a new job, is a very important life-changing decision, but a necessary thing to do. Any change means growth, development and evolution, and can only make you a better person. When we dread change, we hang back in fear and lose the opportunities for surprises, personal fulfilment and even greater success. Eventually, we are then steeped in regrets.

The first essential tips for changing your career are the following:

1. Make a list of up to 10 things that a job SHOULD give you (the PROFESSIONAL points).

Your ideal, no matter how unrealistic they may sound. This could include type of job, pay, location, perks etc. The things you dream of. Experiment with the priority order of that list as much as you can, until you have got it in exactly the order that reflects the importance of each desire for you.

2. Draw a line under your top five, to clearly demarcate them from the rest.

There is a very important reason for this. You can always compromise with the last five items, but if the job does not provide the top five desires, especially the first three, DON'T take it. You will only feel good at the beginning, then get progressively disillusioned as things do not add up to what you expect. And they won't. If you have identified what you really want and what makes you happy, then go against it, you will still be unhappy.

3. Make another five point list (the PERSONAL checkpoints), clearly identifying the following important aspects:

A. Who you really are? (what you stand for, how you see yourself, your true personality).
If you don't know who you are, your job cannot reflect you, enhance you or develop you. For example, what is the point of gong into the Armed Forces/military because the pay is good and you can lord it over others if you cannot stand taking orders from anyone, or don't like the idea of killing others? You'd be going against who you are.

B. Where you are going or wish to go (if you don't know where you're heading in your life, your job cannot take you there). We don't get into a car and drive aimlessly. We always have a destination in mind and we tend to get there safely. The same with our lives. If you don't have a direction, you can bet your last dollar that someone will find a direction for you, which is unlikely to make you happy!

C. What you seek in life (what is your real PURPOSE, what makes you sing and smile to do it?). If you don't know what you want, how on earth are you going to recognise it when you see it?

D. Your level of self belief and confidence. If you have very little, not even the best sounding jobs will provide the opportunities and achievement you seek because the barrier to such success would have already been inside your head.

E. Whether you are a 'people person' or feel more comfortable with 'things'. That is very important for your direction in life. If you are the quiet, introverted type, who tends to feel uncomfortable with others, it is pointless getting a job to manage people. You are probably better with projects/technology.

So, armed with your two lists of exactly who you are and the essential things a job must give you, every time you see a job that you like, rate the job against your first list of elements, perhaps using a scale of 1-5 for each. If you get a lot of fours or fives, especially for your top five items, then move on to your personal list and see how the job aligns with your personality, purpose and direction etc; whether it boosts your confidence and self belief. If it is also high on these, that's the one to go for.

If you follow this simple plan every time, you won't allow yourself to be blinded just by pay, perks or location. You will keep a steady head as you assess something even more important: the job's capacity to excite, develop and enhance you in ways you really dream of on an emotional level. You will then stop playing to someone else's tune purely for money or the convenience.

How do I motivate myself when I fail in something?



Motivating one's self after any 'failure' should be very easy because life does not depend on just ONE event. We are continuously on a journey of self-discovery and fulfilment. Every new day we experience, no matter what form it takes, is a crucial part of that journey. It means no matter what we do we should not see that as the be-all or end-all of our existence but another notch in the journey of life, which is crucial for our progress. We should give thanks for the opportunities and quickly move on to some more.

Like the song says, we should just pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and start all over again because there is no such thing as 'failure', only SETBACKS and setbacks are designed to develop our potential. For example, without Thomas Edison failing 9,999 times to invent the electric light we might still be using candles! But he persevered, even when many others were telling him how mad and foolish he was to keep trying, until the 10,000th time and then, bingo! We are now the beneficiaries if his unending patience and tenacity. He regarded every 'failure' as one more way that his idea didn't work.

One thing people tend to forget about their life is that they are ALWAYS learning, no matter what age they are at. We 'fail', or hit roadblocks, because one or more of six key things might be missing:

1. Self-belief and faith

2. The confidence and assurance required.

3. Necessary information and knowledge.

4. Required training.

5. Essential resources needed.

6. The maturity to deal with the occasion.

Lack of Maturity

If you fail anything it means you are NOT ready for it, you did not give it the due attention it deserved or it is the wrong area or profession for you. For example, if you took an exam at 16 years old and failed it but passed it at 18 years old it shows that you lacked the maturity, information and confidence to pass it on the first attempt. You just needed to be more mature and knowledgeable about the subject matter. As regards our jobs, when we are doing the right things which fire our imagination and make us feel alive, we never 'fail' them because they become an integral part of us. We soar to the skies when we are dealing with anything we love and are ready for. Obstacles come when we force ourselves to do something against our nature, to please someone else or are doing it for the wrong reasons.

Moreover, you need to tell yourself that you are growing daily and a key part of that growth is FAILURE, not just success. Through dealing with setbacks we gradually learn what we shouldn't do. It also makes us resilient and capable of dealing with future tasks and opportunities. Otherwise we would lack the experience to cope. So 'failing' at anything is no problem. It's when we give up or refuse to try, when things haven't worked for us, that we need to worry. We would not achieve much in the end with such a negative mindset.

How do you motivate yourself when you fail? Tell yourself that failure has nothing to do with you as a human being. Failure relates to actions - and actions can ALWAYS be changed. Look at the six reasons above and worked out why you did not achieve what you wanted on this occasion and then set about learning to change those actions for the better. You'll enjoy the process of improvement and development rather than just wallowing in self pity or negativity, and you would have gained a tremendous amount from it too.

Are you redundant or fired? Useful Tips for the next stage of your life



Everyone dreads being made redundant. Trying to live a decent quality of life means taking on certain responsibilities, like a mortgage and a family, which have to be continually serviced and provided for. Worse still, a job is a kind of status for who we are and wish to be. It is the anchor in our lives which emphasises our achievements, talent and potential. But in our rapidly evolving technology age, no job is for life anymore. The world is gradually turning from a service environment to an information one, where short term contracts and temporary work are becoming an integral part of our working day. Many people now live in fear of losing their jobs as companies downsize, restructure or outsource their work altogether.

Panic sets in at times when one loses one's job involuntarily. Those are the worst moments when every debt looms large and simply surviving suddenly becomes a major issue. But how that redundancy or firing is handled in that first week will be crucial to what happens later on, and the last thing anyone should do is seek another job immediately. There are a few key reasons for this.

1. When we are made redundant, or fired, we perceive a strong negative message about who we are. No matter how good we felt before, or were regarded by colleagues, our self esteem immediately goes to be replaced by feelings of insecurity, loss of confidence and simple, naked fear. Unfortunately, fear can make us do a lot of things we might come to regret, so it is never a good thing to act from a position of fear.

2. Every change in our lives is essential for making us into better human beings. Sometimes, when we deliberately ignore the changes needed, the Universe has a way of forcing that change upon us by taking it out of or hands in the form of redundancy. It means we then have to take time to reflect on who we are and where we are heading.

3. Once you bounce from one job to another, in very quick succession, it carries an air of desperation and downgrades your own competence and desirability. It means that you might take anything at all offered to you, in that moment, in order to feel wanted and respected again. However, as not much thought would have gone into that decision, redundancy is likely to be repeated again, or you would not really advance in the manner that you should mainly because you confidence will never be at a level to propel you forward in your new environment. It is likely to remain lower than you desire.

4. You need time to reflect; time to savour what you have achieved, to sort out just who you are as a person, and to assess how happy you were in that position, if you were really happy. If you were not, then getting a similar position will not make you shine any brighter and only result in disillusionment further down the line.

So what should you be doing?

The very first week
In that first week, the first couple of days to be precise, you should do absolutely nothing, except work out how long you can realistically stay without working. Treat this week as a well earned rest. Let the news sink in without fear. Mull over the job, think about what you liked and didn't like. Think about why you might have been made redundant. AVOID BLAME and SCAPEGOATS. It only makes you seem bitter and unattractive to new employers. Your situation is not unique, though it's tough. Deal with it. Do NOT think about bills and mortgages now. They will always be there. If your spouse really loves and cares for you, he/she will be very supportive at this time and give you space to sort your life out without any extra pressure.

In the next two days, begin to make a list of possible options. Be as bold and brave as you can. Dream as impossibly high as you care to dream. Then put the ones with the most possibility at the top. However, concentrate on going after the ones in the middle of your list because they would represent advancement and extra challenge for you. Look also at your own skills. Do they need updating? Could you do with a couple of quick courses while you are applying for the next job? How about that confidence, does it need boosting/counselling?

The next two days should be devoted to YOU. Who are you? What do you really want from your life? What kind of things do you really enjoy doing? What do you dislike doing at work? Are you a team player or a worker who prefers to do it alone? Where are you heading? What would you like to learn/do, if money were no object? Why can't you head for it now? What are your hopes, your fears, the obstacles keeping you back? Are you your worst enemy? How is your self belief and personal confidence? What are your priorities now?

By discovering who you are, your weaknesses, priorities and where you're heading, you will also learn which of the job options would not really be suitable or would not give you the fulfilment you seek.

The Final Day
The final day of this first week is the time to start talking with your partner or spouse about your situation and the potential solutions you have worked out. Most important, all during that week, you would be telling yourself what a wonderful person you are, how talented and how capable; that this was just a temporary setback which is good for you to revamp because you WILL find something even better which will develop your talents even more.

If you do all that, you will find that the next week, when you begin the actual process of looking for a job, you will be doing it from a different mindset. You would have allowed yourself to grieve, without fear, to stock take and to examine your options with greater confidence. instead of sounding like a desperate loser making apologies for being redundant, or fired, you will sound like a winner with something to offer that new company because you would have worked out why you have what it is they might want. It would have sunk in that the more experience you have the more you have to offer. Additionally, you would have gained a fresh new perspective about your life and its possibilities.

Thus being redundant is not a time for feeling sorry for one's self and fearing the worst, but actually a time of recovery and an exciting launch pad for even greater things, if you truly believe in yourself.

I lost my job and don't seem to have any direction now. Is that normal?



Q. I'm quite dissatisfied with the status of my life right now. A couple years ago, I think I had a good job working in a government agency. However due to policy changes, I was terminated from work and had to move to the private sector, but pay in the government is better. Work and home is my daily routine; probably surfing the internet is the only other thing that I do. Though I go out with my girlfriend every weekend, there is not much to go in our province. The feeling of dissatisfaction in my life I guess is rooted in my lack of sense of direction. I have no clear goal as to what I want for the future. But I guess this is because of the simplicity of my needs.

A. The simplicity of your needs has very little to do with your current feeling. You are repressing your ambition through a fear of future rejection and have lost your motivation. You have no clear goals mainly because you are still stuck back there worrying about a past you had and can no longer help, yet feeling inadequate to do something about your present. That is not good. It merely keeps you in limbo, undervaluing yourself.

The way forward is to acknowledge that you are evolving every day to reach a final destination and each job is but a stage on that journey, it is not the end phase. It gives you experience, new confidence and new expectations, but you will still keep growing and then move on to something else. Nothing lasts forever. Once any job comes to an end, after the initial disappointment, leave it behind and seek something else to boost your capabilities. If you live in regret you will get nothing better because you will be unattractive to the very people who might employ you. Worse still, you will waste your time back in the past which means you have less quality time to deal with the present and future!

You cannot go back to the past and change anything, so it has to be accepted, to learn from and leave it behind with even greater confidence. Once you stop looking back at what you had, you review your situation and remind yourself of who you are, your capabilities, and what you could do, new doors will open you never even thought of. All it takes in our day is to make a DECISION if we want anything. Without decisions, we get no RESULTS.

You haven't been making any real decisions because you have subconsciously categorised yourself as 'failure', instead of just chalking it up to experience. Most important, if you see yourself as a failure, how on earth can an employer see you as successful? It sounds to me as though you have simply accepted second best in your current job for security and fear of failing. Yet no one can treat you better than you treat yourself.

By the way, you were not 'terminated' from work. Your JOB was terminated. The words we use are very powerful in cementing our perspectives and sense of value. You are very much alive, talented and ready to roll again! There must be other jobs in government you can still apply for to reinforce your self-belief and esteem? Go for it!

Is there such a thing as a 'Lazy' person?



I have found that many Americans love to label others not conforming to their expectations as 'lazy'. We hardly use that term in Britain because we don't like labelling, or stereotyping, per se. However, as there are some definite mindsets around the concept of laziness, I thought I would ask the question and throw in my thoughts on it.

The answer to that is, a very firm No! Hardly anyone in this world is ever lazy. No one, except the tiniest of minority (and even they can be changed) would want to live off anyone, not achieve their goals, not make something of themselves, or not want to hold a good job. Everyone of us without exception, desires the good things in life, a health, money and the right opportunities to forge ahead. So why do some people appear to be lazy and not keen to support themselves or be responsible for their own lives? There are some basic reasons for this.

Wherever someone appears reluctant to take advantage of what life as to offer, to depend on others for support instead or to depend on the state, any one, or all, of five main things are operating, listed in order of their influence to incapacitate the individual:

1. A lack of personal self-belief
Seemingly 'lazy' people have no self-belief. The rest of us might take our capabilities for granted, especially the belief that we can actually achieve and make something of ourselves. People with no self-belief have no clue how they are ever going to get anything in life so, often they become overwhelmed by having to do it themselves and then opt out instead. They are afraid of showing their low self esteem, afraid to 'look stupid', afraid of making mistakes, afraid of what others are going to think and afraid of disapproval, so they do nothing or depend on others to do it for them. Lacking self-belief is replaced by an awful lot of fear which is often dogged by a search for perfection. if it cannot be done in a certain way, it cannot be done at all. A mindset that says: If I cannot get my ideal job, then I won't do anything in the meantime. Of course, the ideal job never comes so they end up not only without any kind of job, but with no experience either to help them to secure a job.

2. Not having any self-belief, it follows that their confidence and self-esteem will both be very low.

It is affirmation of our achievements that reinforces who we are. When we get no praise, no affirmation, no expectation of being able to achieve what we want, because we are perceived to be 'lazy', that crunches us even more and erode our motivation even further. many people who appear motionless, selfish and dependent lack confidence and esteem, big time. Some of them will mask it by acting aggressively, macho, with bravado (men mainly) and being ultra-sensitive and vulnerable (women). But scratch the surface of that behaviour and there will be a very low confident, fearful person underneath. When we are low in esteem we lack the belief that we can do anything we want, that we are responsible for our own lives. Instead we are likely to seek scapegoats, to expect other people, especially politicians or the government, to provide for us and make our lives much easier. The thought that everything in their lives starts with them first would hardly ever cross their minds.

3. A lack of awareness, education and training

'Lazy' people are likely to be low on information, training, choices and options. They would be the last ones to know how how to use a computer, for example, so they would lose the benefits it might afford them. Being likely to be low on education too, they are often unaware of their opportunities in life, of all the ways in which they could improve themselves simply because they wouldn't have either the motivation or the awareness of researching it for themselves. Unless they are advised by others, or even monitored to make the effort themselves, they often prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the possibilities while pleading innocence.

4. Little the faith in what is possible
As they are likely to underachieve, 'lazy' people are not likely to be reinforced either, so that perpetuates a cycle of 'laziness' where nothing positive is likely to happen. Not having the self-belief, the confidence and the faith in what is possible, it is really difficult for them to see how things could possibly get better, so many opt out and live in whatever way they can, while blaming 'the system', or some other faceless person for their predicament.

5. Lack of affirmation in their childhood, with partners and significant others in their lives.

Many people who have given up on their lives have experienced very little by way of being VALUED since they were born. They are likely to feel unwanted, unloved and undervalued without the knowledge or awareness to change that situation and make it any better. they carry around this low assessment of their worth for life, finding it debilitating and limiting, but feeling powerless to change their value in any way. They remain worthless in their own eyes, mistakenly believing that they are worthless to everyone else too., which increasingly makes them dependent on others for both approval and personal appreciation. This kind of person is the likeliest to become addictive to something and lose their interest in life, which makes them seem truly 'lazy'

Even the people who appear to be the laziest can be changed in their perspective. All it takes is personal reinforcement and a new mindset around their potential, raising awareness of their own value and education.

Tips for maintaining your self-esteem when confronted with job loss or recession



The economic recession is a period of financial death. Logic and precedence suggest that there will be a rebirth. The only real question is when. Until that upturn, personal self-esteem is often very low, especially if you have lost a job, been laid off, or are finding it hard to pay the bills. It is very tempting to feel inadequate, to forget your assets and strengths and to downplay your achievements, especially when the recession is prolonged. It is also very difficult to see solutions or opportunities.

The main thing to remember in any kind of of crisis or economic recession is that everything in life is always temporary! Try to imagine what you were worried about this time last year and the anxiety you might have had then. You will have a problem recalling it, or your mood, because nothing lasts for too long. Life always goes in a natural cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth.

There are four main tips that should help your esteem through these natural changes, and they are very simple to do.

1. A daily reminder that you are the most important person, not the job. No matter what, you are the greatest resource for your life and nothing should come before you, not even a bank balance. So long as you have your faculties and expertise, there will always be another job. Self-belief is a most powerful motivator and that should put your temporary problems in their true perspective. Jobs provide experience and demonstrate your abilities but they are not the essence of life. Hence this is a time for review, a time to assess what really makes you happy, how you can go forward even more effectively and how you can turn the current recession into an opportunity for your talents.

2. Talk over your feelings with someone. You cannot ignore your emotional health at this time. Thoughts dictate your feelings and feelings dictate what you do. Unfortunately, thoughts tend to be negative during an economic recession, because they find it hard to see the future, hence people have negative feelings too and often feel impotent to act. This is where communication is a good therapeutic tool, especially with a professional friend or close associates to bolster your spirits and reinforce your strengths.

Consulting someone motivational could be highly beneficial and affirming, especially when self-esteem has plummeted. It would also provide much-needed support to prevent a feeling of isolation, inadequacy and depression. By discussing your thoughts, fears and ideas with them, you should be able to work out a new direction for yourself and see the future more clearly. Most important, you won't feel you are alone at such stressful times.

3. If you have applied for many jobs and haven't had any good replies for a while, time to try something else. Apply to a few places that you would love to work in with a simple letter, this time stressing that you are really keen to work in the field and whether you can shadow someone (senior) in it for a day, or few days, to see whether it is right for you and to learn more about the role. You are NOT asking for a job, just the opportunity to learn. However, what that immediately does, if you are granted it, is to get you inside the organisation for others to see you. It means that should a job come up shortly, you can proudly mention how much you enjoyed it when you came to shadow, conveniently name dropping the person you followed, then wait and see. If they were impressed with your shadowing, that never fails!

4. This is a time to focus on the temporary nature of the recession, to identify your key strengths and work out other options you could do in the meantime to prepare you for an even better position in the future. Training is a very good option at this time. Identify the innovations in your field, or select a new professional field that might suit your talents and begin preparing for it. You do not even have to do any formal training that might cost money. The Internet is a vast repository of information you can have freely to help you become more aware of the trends and add to your marketability.

During this economic recession, it is a time to keep the negative thoughts at bay and keep hope alive that it will all pass, just like everything else before it. Self belief is the most important factor here because it will help you ride the recession. Seeking some assistance from a good listener/counselor to boost your emotional health and motivation should also provide a source of comfort. Above all important review and retraining should gradually reaffirm who you are and exactly where you're heading!

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The 4 Key Ingredients For Grasping a Second Chance in Life



We all wish we could start over again, have a loved one back, or right a wrong we regret. Many people do not get that second chance, while some are fortunate to get the opportunity to start all over again but are often unable to grasp it, or to make full use of it, because of an absence of four main ingredients.

1. A change of perception: When we are used to viewing the world in a certain way, it is often difficult for us to change our perception of it, to think outside our pre-defined mental boxes, to take advantage of the new opportunity we might be given. Having developed the same habits of thought and the same perceptions of what is possible, old narrow ways of seeing the world tend to dominate our existence. But we have to learn to view things differently, to avoid making the same mistakes all over again, and that should help the transition to making the most of that precious new life.

2. Self-belief: Without that self-belief we cannot grasp new opportunities. They will simply slip through our fingers. We have to believe that we are doing the right thing, and we can deal with the future, before we are even able to appreciate what that second chance might mean. Often after a trauma, all our doubts are multiplied, and we lose faith in our abilities to make the right judgement, but with the possibility of improving our situation comes the demand for strong self-belief to make a success of it and the two have to go together.

3. Relinquishing the past: We really have to get out of the past if we have any kind of future with a second chance. Often we do not learn the lessons the past teaches us. Instead, we hang back there in regret, in a kind of limbo, reliving old hurt and pain, without forgiving ourselves or others and letting the past go. If we are fortunate to get a second chance, leaving the negative aspects behind, while we celebrate the heartwarming moments, is the best preparation for that new life.

4. Determination and flexibility: These two attributes go hand in hand with new opportunities. We need the determination to cope with all the obstacles that might block our new path and the flexibility to appreciate that nothing is guaranteed and anything is possible. We have to be prepared to be surprised because, if we have changed our perception, we would have changed old mindsets too. This means being equipped to deal with the unexpected while we give thanks and gratitude for the blessings of another life.

I went to death's door 15 years ago and was fortunate enough to be given a second chance of life. The end result is that all the things which used to matter to me, the career, material things, the conflicts and animosity have paled into insignificance and seem so trivial now. My priorities have changed completely as I have gradually discovered those four ingredients in abundance within me. I now give thanks for each day of my new life and for every precious moment I'm granted. The main thing that matters to me now, apart from my family, is simply enjoying life itself.

How to make a smooth transition into retirement



One of the highest suicide rates in the UK is among men of 65 years of age who are in retirement. The main reason for that is that many men find the sudden isolation, the lack of job status and significance, the feeling of being useless and of having nothing worthwhile to do after the initial euphoria of retiring, very difficult to deal with. But this happens mainly because of the perception around retirement and what it is actually for. Some people see that stage of life as the end of work, where one just relaxes and does little else. Of course, when that novelty wears off, depression tends to set in as the person begins to feel isolated and undervalued.

The transition to a new kind of life, devoid of most of the familiar things and people, can be a lonely, stressful, even painful time for some retirees. So ensuring a smooth transition is the key to appreciating that new situation. However, this is more likely to be possible if there is a focus on four main areas by the retiree:

1. THOUGHTS...How the person thinks at this time, whether positive or negative is crucial, especially before retirement. Thoughts affect perceptions and perceptions affect everything else in one's life, especially actions. If someone sees himself as being on the scrap heap at 65 instead of starting a new life, then those thoughts will block out a lot of other positive ones which could help towards a more enjoyable life. Thoughts at this time should be about celebrating the life one had, the achievements and the enjoyment already experienced, as well as looking forward to starting a NEW LIFE, to fulfil all those dreams one might not have had the time so far to attempt. There should also be definite plans around the options for retirement and how personal time will be spent almost on a daily basis. Boredom, a lack of purpose and low-self esteem combined together is a literal killer at this time of life.

2. PERCEPTION...This should be positive with a focus on the kind of life that will be lived after retirement, especially an emphasis on the opportunity to begin a NEW life, no matter what form it takes, instead of seeing that time as simply the end of the old one. By living in the past and merely thinking about the old life with regret, the options for the future become limited. It is then difficult to see the transition as a positive one. Many people look forward to their retirement with rose-coloured views only to find that the reality can be a rather barren and disappointing one, much more lonely and isolating than expected. Thus how one perceives one's actions, especially before retirement, is very important for the kind of things that can be done, the kind of life that is desired and the kind of success one will have in making the adjustment to that new life.

3. HOME...Home can seem like a trying place to both partners in retirement. If one partner already had a life of doing a particular thing which then is intruded upon by the new retiree, it can create immediate conflict and feel quite claustrophobic. That is why many partners tend to fall out soon after retirement because everything is suddenly changed from how it used to be to accommodate someone who is now going to be home all the time. Often the retiree will treat his home like a place of work where he still has some control and responsibility. This can then put added pressures and strains on a relationship. It is very important that the retiree does not intrude too much on the world and structure of the other party, otherwise it then makes coping much more difficult as his/her presence begins to be resented.

4. SKILLS...This is a time for finding out new knowledge, for exploring the avenues and directions which might be rewarding and for discovering the other skills one possesses, or the new ones that can be learned. In fact, retirement is a most exciting time in one's life to be one's own boss and to develop the self to new heights of capabilities at one's own pace, especially to use one's expertise as a consultant or adviser. Better still, to develop skills in a new field entirely. This is a very good time for discovering the self and who we are and so much can be achieved during this period with the right perception and focus.

The main thing to remember for a smooth transition is that retirement offers the opportunity to begin a brand new life of discovery and to make the most of it. Not just to look back in regret. Fifty years ago, if one retired at 65, one was likely to be dead within 2 years. That was the average age of mortality for men in the UK. Today the average is 77 for men and 83 for women, with lots more people living well beyond that. The question to ask on one's retirement is not what one will be doing after retirement, but this one: Today is the first day of the rest of my life. How can I have a real blast for whatever time I have left and exit with a big smile of satisfaction?

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Adult Evolution: A Time of Accomplishment (Ages 55+)



No longer considered 'old age', people in these years are not biologically, sociologically or mentally like the stereotype of decrepit, senile old codgers. Rather, they are healthy, often well-educated, and the major consumers of leisure in our society. Not quite in the labour force, they may become politically active and community-oriented. Excluded dreams might re-emerge, just like the retiring corporate executive who decides to take up the guitar because, though he had always wanted to play it, he had not found the time for it before. Now he has that time and is rearing to use it.

This also tends to be the advisor stage. Individuals at this staging post tend to play a key role in shaping the future of organisations and their community by 'sponsoring' or mentoring promising people, projects and ideas. The advisor has often developed a distinct competence in one or several areas of expertise and is likely to have a regional or national reputation. Capable of exercising formal and informal influence in the decision-making process, advisors have a thorough understanding of their environment and work and can be a catalyst for positive change. Naturally, not all professionals reach this advisor stage, but being content at this stage in their life is one of the signs of success in an individual's chosen career or area of expertise.

Focus on Personal Priorities
This period of accomplishment after completion of the mid-life transition can be one of the most productive of all adult stages. We are at the peak of our mature abilities here. If the mid-life issues have been acknowledged, addressed and resolved, we can now make our greatest possible contributions to others and society. Here we can be less driven, less ego-centred, less compelled to compete with, and to impress, others. Instead we can focus on what really matters to us, on developing younger people, on communion with others, or on leaving some personal legacy that makes things better for others or the environment.

It is also a time for settling into more realistic and rewarding relationships based on recognising the partner's imperfections and helping them to grow. But that is what age, experience and success should do: make the individual far more confident, fearless and proficient. Relationships tend to benefit from this calmer phase. The ones that reach this stage are likely to last until death. With work, children and personal angst out of the way, the couple can now focus completely on each other, with grandchildren adding that extra spice.

Being over 55, I can testify to every part of this. I have never felt more confident, more valued and more purposeful in what I want to do with the rest of my life, especially making a difference to others and leaving my expertise as a legacy for those who might find it useful. It is an amazing time of life especially because one can now be one's self with pride and take more liberties in life as the need to impress others, and the personal competition, are no longer important.