Archive for ◊ January, 2009 ◊

• Monday, January 26th, 2009

Every day, I start my day with meditation and inspirational reading, as well as positive affirmations.  It helps me start with a positive outlook and focused on what I am grateful for.  Having an attitude of gratitude for what you have is a great foundation for building and creating new opportunities in your life!  This morning I opened to a classic in inspirational literature, “Acres of Diamonds” a lecture given by Russell Conwell, a former newspaper correspondent and minister in 1877.    He told of a Persian farmer named Ali Hafed who sold his farm and left his family to travel the world in search of wealth.  He looked everywhere but could not find the diamonds he lusted after.  Alone and in despair as a homeless pauper, he ended his life.  His search for riches had consumed him.  In the meantime, the man who had bought his land from Hafed was grateful for every blade of grass that was now his and lavished love and hard work on his farm.   Surrounded by family, he was a contented man.  Finally, one day he made a remarkable discovery.  In the backyard that Hafed had abandoned was a diamond mine–literally an acre of diamonds.  The simple farmer became wealthy beyond his wildest dreams!

The message:  in each of us lies a wellspring of abundance and the seeds of opportunity.  In each of us is a dream waiting to be discovered and fulfilled.  When we cherish our dream and then invest love, creative energy, perseverance, and passion in ourselves, we will achieve an authentic success.  If we want to create something new in our lives,  the place to begin is within.  In coaching, the coach is not the “answer man”; the answers are within ourselves.  The coach simply provides the tools and methods for bringing this out.  Sometimes we feel we have to go somewhere new to make this happen, but we always take ourselves with us.  The work really begins within.  There’s opportunity whereever you are.  Bloom where you are planted!

• Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

When I was a financial advisor, I found that people tended to fall into one of 3 categories:  those with sufficient resources, know-how and confidence who didn’t need help; those who had few resources and little capacity to understand what needed to be done; but the great majority of clients had some resources and some capacity to do what was needed, but more importantly, they knew they didn’t know what they needed to know and were willing to accept help (and willing to pay for it!)

The same applies to retirement planning of a non-financial nature.  I believe most people fall into the third group:  they know they need help in defining what they want for their retirement and how to create it.  This is what retirement coaching is all about and why it is growing in popularity.  Personally, I have always felt people fall into two general categories:  those who like to create new things and those more suited to maintaining things or following established  and well-marked paths in life.  I tend to be someone who likes to create new careers, new lifestyles, new adventures.  But the reality is we are all “creating our lives”, day by day, whether we want to acknowledge that or not, by the choices and decisions we make.   Do you believe we can all create “something new” in our lives? In retirement coaching, you create your life on purpose!

• Sunday, January 04th, 2009

You might ask:  is it possible to become more creative in later life, or does creative capacity decline as we age?  Dr. Gene Cohen, Director of the Center on Aging, Health and Humanities at George Washington University and past president of the Gerontological Society of America, wrote a fascinating book in 2000 titled “The Creative Age – Awakening the Human Potential in the Second Half of Life”.  He maintains that it is good news for boomers who want their later lives to be special because gerontological studies have shown that the potential for creative expression in later life is not the exception, but the rule, that “it is remarkably universal in possibility” and that it is hard-wired into our species, innate to everyone regardless of background and may find expression simply in ways we develop new self-understanding or in a broader way that affects our community or culture.  In fact, the unique combination with longer life experience magnifies the possibilities tremendously.  He distinguishes between private creativity with a little “c” and public creativity with a big “C”.  The first applies to individuals who set small challenges for themselves and have brought into being something that has enhanced their life and given satisfaction, while big “C”” creativity may produce a book or painting or cure for a disease.  He cites experiments that show not only the brain’s plasticity – its ability to change with use, but its remarkable capacity to respond to envinronmental challenge and that all of this capacity continues as we age.  Further, it is important to exercise our creative muscle as well as our physical muscles as “scientific evidence confirms the importance of creative stimulation to maintaining brain health and a healthy brain maximizes our capacity to deal successfully with our environment and the health challenges awaiting us”.

He cites many examples of people in later years who had suffered longstanding adversity and psychological trauma who were launched on a new creative path with support and encouragement.  With many examples, he challenges the myth that the greatest accomplishments of mankind’s best and brightest minds occur early in their careers.  In fact, his book is full of sidebar sketches of individuals who were creative producers of work into very late age.

The obstacles that restrict our creative impulses and hold us back are “fixed psychological patterns, fixed ideas and social situations…to liberate ourselves at any age…we need to re-examine these limiting factors to find or build a way around them”.

So now we know we have the capacity and the experience to keep creating in our lives, and coaching gives us a tool to bring new directions into being.  Don’t just live in retirement, create your retirement! Just as with financial planning, there are those who can do it themselves, but for most people, buying a book on retirement planning won’t do it.  They need support and help to ask themselves the right questions to keep them on track and disciplined in their pursuit of the goal, to help release their hidden dreams.