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A New Beginning?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

 A New Beginning?

 We are starting to see some light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel as we hear vaccines on their way! May I say we are cautiously hopeful. We, in Manitoba, saw   some light in the summer when we had no cases, but alas, the second wave has been real and brutal. We wonder, can we start making some plans for the future?   Visits with family and friends, travel, go back to work in the office? We wonder what life will look like once this is over? Will it be the same or will it be different? The   answer is very much up to us, isn’t it? What do we want to be the same and what do we want to be different?

 I have heard many different responses to this question…..I can’t wait to get back to the way things were……Do I want to be as busy as I was before……Who do I   really want to spend time with….Do I need to travel so much for work…..I will just be happy to have a job….My priorities are in question…..

 Here is one way to start to find some answers to that question. Take the list from the last blog (below) and delete or add items as appropriate for you.  For each   item ask two questions:

 When Covid-19 is over, what do I want to be the same (as before Covid-19)?
 What do I want to be different?

 Family and Friends
 Significant Other/Romance
 Fun and Recreation
 Making a Difference/Purpose
 Personal Growth and/or Spiritual growth
 Physical Environment

 Your answers will start the planning process for a new beginning, with as many similarities or differences from your pre- Covid-19 life as you have the ability to   choose.




Posted by Heather Erhard at 11:13 AM 0 Comments

Learning from The Pause

Thursday, April 09, 2020
 There are many articles out there on how to cope in this most difficult time and how to work from home etc. Let's look at what we might learn during this pause.

Most of what we know and did has been turned upside down in this past month with the arrival of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We are doing things we never thought were possilbe. Could we ever imagine so many businesses, stores, restaurants closed? Could we ever imagine not being able to visit with our families, friends and colleages - having a coffee together, sitting in a meeting, chatting in the hall? Life has changed into something we could not imagine, yet we are called upon to surive. Might this be an opportunity to question the life we have been living?

So much of our life has been automatic; we do what we do. Many get up at 5:00 am to get a head start on the day, we work hard, we work long hours. We are busy with many aciivities outside of work - we rush to the gym, to the grocery store, to get the kids to their multiple activities. We look at people sitting in coffee shops and long for a moment to just be. Do we ever stop to ask ourselves WHY we are doing what we do?

For some, right now, work has sped up - particularly those involved in essential services. For many, there is worry about how to pay the rent or mortgage or pay for food. For others, life has slowed down. This may be an opportunity to assess how we have been living. Ask ourselves, what is truly important? What have we been seeking? Is it money, possessions, prestige, power? Do we even know?

During this pause, whatever our situaiton, we can ask ouselves what is truly important in our life? Over and over again, I hear people say: my family and friends and health. If those are truly our priorities, we can assess our former life in this light. Here is an exercise to help us do this.

Rate your level of satisfaction in each of these areas (1=completely dissatisfied; 10=completely satisfied) and decide where you would like to make some changes.
___Family and Friends
___Significant Other/Romance
___Fun and Recreation
___Making a Difference; Purpose
___Personal Growth and/or Spiritual Growth
___Physical Environment

What opportunities are in front of you today which could significantly impact your tomorrow? Where do you want to focus now and in the future?

Posted by Heather Erhard at 2:31 PM 0 Comments

Retirement Success

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Retirement Success

“The whole notion of retirement has been radically changed. Formerly we thought of retirement as the beginning of the end; today we simply think of retirement as a new beginning. The retirement transition is actually the beginning of a new career/life stage called RENEWAL.” Richard P. Johnson, Ph.D., author of The New Retirement

When I facilitate workshops on Retirement Success, I like to start with a question. ”What is your first thought when I mention the word retirement?” Most people say ‘money’. We spend our time planning for the financial aspect of retirement. Of course this is important, but it is not the only factor. We often spend more time planning for a two week trip than we do for retirement. Just as we plan for a trip, we need a road map for where we are going for the rest of our life.

Our work life fulfills five basic needs of life:

  1. Financial
  2. Time management
  3. Sense of purpose
  4. Status or role in society
  5. Social

Let’s have a look at each of these areas. Our financial needs are fulfilled by working. For a successful retirement, we need adequate financial security to maintain our desired life-style. Money cannot guarantee retirement success, but it does play a central role in overall satisfaction in retirement. A key question is: How much is enough? Being human, our answer is usually ‘a little more.’! We need to consider our priorities for retirement: family, leisure, friends, home, travel, material possessions, physical health etc. and ask ourselves how much money will I really need?

Our time is managed for us, to a large extent, by work.  Work gives structure to our life and keeps us in the mainstream of life. We know where we will be Monday morning. Once retired, we are in charge of all this time. How will we manage it? There are 168 hours in the week. If we give ourselves 56 hours to sleep, 56 hours to work (allowing for travel and overtime), we have 56 hours left. When we retire, we will be in charge of 112 hours – we need a plan. How will we structure our time?

Work provides a sense of purpose or utility. It gives some meaning to our life. No matter what our work is, we are needed in some way. How can we replace this in retirement?

Through our work, we have a certain status or role in society. In fact, many of us take our personal identity from our work.  We are often so invested in our work that our jobs define not only what we do, but who we are. In planning for retirement many options are open to us.  It might be another full time job, part time work, volunteer work or maybe starting that business you always dreamed of. What might your new role be?

Finally, work brings us in contact with many other people and provides socialization.  We connect with others, form relationships and even friendships in the workplace. Many times, these relationships end once we leave the workplace. We have all heard the expression: ‘friends for a season, friends for a reason, friends for life’. As not all friendships become friends for life, we need to ensure we have social contact in retirement. Research suggests a strong correlation between social interaction and health and well-being. Finding new avenues of social interaction are crucial.

Retirement can be the most exciting life phase, offering the freedom to do whatever we want. It is our invitation to grow, learn, and experience life in a new way. It can also challenge us in ways we never thought of. The key, of course, is planning. By using the five factors as a base, we can develop the plan and experience retirement as a most exciting time of renewal. 

  • For a more detailed assessment, take the Retirement Success Profile survey, which looks at 15 factors for a successful retirement. Research suggests that individuals are more productive at work if they have a solid plan for retirement in place.

Posted by Heather Erhard at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Set Goals That Work

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Some people are great at setting goals and meeting them almost every time. Others set the goals and move forward for a while, but somehow they fall off the radar. Others have given up setting goals altogether.

So, how to set goals that work? One way to motivate us to meet our goals is to go deeper. By that I mean, what are the underlying reasons we want to accomplish that goal. I had a coaching client whose goal for many years had been to swim three times each week. It never happened. We started to dig a little deeper.

Why do you want to swim three times a week – to get fit. Why do you want to get fit – to feel better. What will feeling better give you – I will be able to play with my children again.

He put a picture of himself playing with his children on his desk. That picture motivated him to get to the pool three times a week.

So, after you set your goal, keep asking yourself ‘why’ and ‘what will that give you’, until you reach that underlying motivator. Try it, it works!

Posted by Heather Erhard at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

The One Word Resolution

Friday, January 01, 2016

January is the time many of us set New Year's Resolutions. How many times have you thought about what you wanted to accomplish in the new year, made a list and posted it on your desk, computer, phone or fridge, only to find a month or six weeks later it is not happening. We all know how busy the gym is in January – we just have to wait a month and things will calm down!

How about trying another strategy – the One Word Resolution or theme for the year. What is it that will help you be more successful, give more meaning or focus to your life? One year I had a coaching client who chose the word 'brave'. One thing he wanted was to expand and deepen his relationships both professionally and personally. By keeping this word foremost in his mind, he did things he never would have done – invite people for coffee or lunch, start conversations, initiate contact with family and friends are just some examples. He said this one word changed his life.

What might your word be? Here are some questions for reflection to help you find that One Word.

  1. What do I want more of?
  2. What do I want less of?
  3. What has been the key to my success to date?
  4. Where do I need to focus to move to the next level of success?
  5. What will give my life more meaning?
  6. What opportunity is waiting for me?
  7. Who and how do I want to be, moving forward?

Now, what is your word?

Posted by Heather Erhard at 12:00 AM 0 Comments