What do I do with the rest of my life? Some thoughts on career planning after “retirement.”

imagesWhether you chose to go or were pushed out, for example, as part of an organizational change, the time after retirement can feel like a yawning open space. Yes, you know these days retirement is supposed to feel like the start of something, and not an ending. But, for many of us, knowing we are expected to make a fresh start is quite daunting.

For some people it seems simple. They have spent years wanting to have more time for a well-loved hobby. Perhaps they have ideas about turning that hobby into a money-making activity. For others, the most important thing about the time ahead is an opportunity to be with family and grandchildren in particular.

Lots of us, don’t know exactly what to do next. Many need to continue to earn just to pay the household bills. Even, if we don’t need the money, we need a challenge and, perhaps, a new mountain to climb.

So, where to start? Well, ideally, you begin thinking about life after retirement, long before you actually retire. But, if you haven’t had that opportunity, you can still do the work to think through what is going to happen next, shortly after you retire.

Ask yourself these questions;

  • What has given me the most satisfaction in my life so far?
  • At work and at home, what did I really enjoy doing and why?
  • What was I really good at?
  • What did I dislike and would want to avoid in the future?
  • What was I not so good at?
  • In what kind of environment would I want to spend precious time?
  • What have I always dreamed of doing but never had the chance?

The results of this exercise are for your eyes only, so you can afford to be entirely honest.

Now, think about the constraints and how the choices you make may affect the rest of your life and those closest to you.

How free are you to retrain for something new? Do you have resources to pay for that training? Lots of people do retrain for new careers in later life but taking on a programme of training that is going to last several years in unlikely to make sense after 60.

You may want to consider working part-time. That would give you more time for family and other interests. It may also make long-term working more sustainable as it gives you recovery time.

Don’t be afraid to have big dreams and ambitions. Lots of us over 60 have achieved things we never imagined possible ten years earlier. And some of us feel more fulfilled in our work life now than we did earlier, even though we may not be earning quite so much.

Life after retirement is all about quality. Think about what that means for you in your particular circumstances. Now go out there and enjoy yourself.

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Smith (formerly Wendy Mason) is  a life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

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Change Management Isn’t Just a Work Thing

vision13Lots of us talk about wanting to make a change in our personal lives. We can feel frustrated with things as they are for all kinds of reasons. Some things we know we can’t change – we just have to find a way to accept and live with them. But other things we can change and it helps to know where to start.

Changing the Things You Can!

Having decided what can be changed, the next step is to sort out the issues associated with the change. This is to make sure your change is as successful as possible.

Ask yourself four questions:

  • Am I clear about exactly what I want to change?
  • How can I increase the likelihood that this change will take place?
  • How can I limit the risks?
  • What steps do I need to take to complete my change?

Thinking about these questions very practically, focussing on solutions, will help you feel less anxious about the change you want to make. It is important to be very realistic about your answers and your plans. Think through what is possible in your situation.

Start to think as clearly as you can about what life will look like after your change. Be very honest about what is to be gained but also what will be lost. This thinking should be done before you take the first step towards making your change a reality.

Make sure you understand the likely risks along the way and how you will manage them.

Now, break your change down into very small steps and plan for some rewards for yourself as you take the steps.

Throughout your change keep in mind how good life will be after the change and the benefits you will gain. You are ready now to make that change you have

thought about for years. Good Luck.

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Smith (formerly Wendy Mason) is  a life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

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Values and Why They Are Important Part 1 Introduction

values

Values and Why They Are Important

This is first post in a short series on values,;what are they, why are they important and how to understand your own values.

Understanding your own values is key to leading a happy and fulfilled life. Knowing your values is important in deciding the work you want to do and, for example, in choosing a life partner. Understanding them can help you deal with many challenges you will meet through life and how to make the best choice in difficult situations.

What Are Values?

Values are the important and lasting things you believe about life and the measures by which you will usually judge yourself and others. When you live your life in accordance with your values you will feel comfortable and at peace with yourself. That is if your values are positive and truly your own, not those you think you should have. When you don’t live according to your own values, you will usually feel miserably, guilty or angry. You will not feel fulfilled.

Values are usually fairly stable throughout life. We learn them young from our parents, teachers, our friends and, often, these days, from the media. But not all the values we learn when young are helpful. Times change! Think, for example, about the value that some people learned when young about the “separate” roles of men and women. Or the values that some people have adopted related to particular brands.

When you begin to understand your own values you can begin to make choices about which to hold on to and which to let go.

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Smith (formerly Wendy Mason) is  a life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

 

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Values and Why They Are Important

This is first post in a short series on values, what are they, why are they important and how to understand your own values. Understanding your own values is key to leading happy and fulfilled life. Knowing them can guide you in deciding the work you want to do and even how you choose a life partner. Understanding them can help you deal with many of the challenges you will meet through life and how to make the best choice in many situations.

What Are Values?

Values are the important and lasting things you believe about life and the measures by which you will usually judge yourself and other things. When you live your life in accord with your values you will feel comfortable and at peace with yourself. When you don’t you may feel miserably, guilty or angry with what is preventing you from feeling fulfilled. Values are usually fairly stable throughout life. We learn them young from our parents and teachers and sometimes from out friend. But not all the values we learn young are helpful to us. Times change and for example the value that some people learned very young and associated with the roles of men and women may no longer be appropriate in the 21st century. When you understand your values you can begin to make choices about this you hold on to. Next, we’ll begin to look at how to determine what your real values are.

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Mid-Career Dilemmas

qMid-Career Dilemmas

Many clients come to me for help handling decisions they need to make in mid-career. Usually, they are people who have done pretty well so far and they have at least one promotion under their belts. The junior technician or junior manager has become the trusted professional or senior manager. Now, it is time to think about their next move and they find themselves at a crossroads.

For some it gets even more complicated because there may be family choices to be made. For example, whether to start a family. Or, perhaps, whether to move the family to a new town or even a new country.

There may be lots of factors to take into account. But it is good to start by considering the experience you have had so far and what it has taught you about what really matters. Then, you can go on to consider things like the competencies you have. It is good to know what you have enjoyed and not enjoyed in the work you have done so far. What has made you feel stimulated and motivated? What has made you want to spend the next day under the duvet?

Thinking about those things, and the challenge of spending the rest of their lives doing the same kind of thing, leads some people to think about a complete change.

Usually, my work with those facing a mid-career dilemma starts with thinking about values and what really matters to them. For each one of us, values will be a little different and it takes honesty and trust to get to the real list.

Facing a mid-career dilemma can be challenging and the future can look very uncertain. You may not be clear for a while what the next step is going to be. It helps to have supporters with you along the way. So, I’m thinking of starting a monthly group coaching session for people facing mid-career dilemmas. If that includes you, feel free to get in touch. If one-to-one coaching is more your thing, I would still be very happy to help.

This post first appeared on LinkedIn

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Smith (formerly Wendy Mason) is  a life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

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When you face an angry person at work!

When you face an angry person at work!

We all encounter anger sometimes and encountering angry people at work is particularly difficult. But, you can learn how to calm people down and defuse their anger. Knowing how to defuse anger helps you do your job better and look more competent. It helps you be a better manager.

It can be tempting to let your own emotions take over and become angry yourself. Confronting anger with anger doesn’t work. It just hypes things up which usually makes the other person more angry. Try to stay calm. That way you are more likely to be able to think clearly about the situation. Take some deep breaths to help reduce the tension you feel. If necessary, ask to take a short break and go for a walk. If you feel threatened by violence it is best to leave the situation, if you can, and seek help. If you don’t feel threatened, look objectively at why the person is angry. Probably, it has nothing to do with you and you didn’t cause the problem. Being able to distance yourself emotionally will help you think clearly about a solution.

You need to find out why they are angry. Encourage them to explain the cause of their anger. Listen carefully and don’t interrupt but use open questions to keep them going until you understand. Try to see things from their perspective. Sometimes people deal with distress and bad news by getting angry. If you understand that, you can distance yourself from the angry feelings and know that the anger is not about you. This should make it easier to help.

Respond calmly in a low tone and in a non-threatening way. This will encourage them to become calm. Don’t use generalizations and platitudes like, “I understand how you feel.” Be specific and empathetic – rephrase what they have told you but not thoughtlessly. Try to show, rather than say, that you understand. Show you are focussed on finding solutions and putting things right. If you have caused their distress, then apologize and show how you are going to remedy the situation. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be defensive – that tends to stimulate more anger. Focus on finding solutions and taking the first steps towards putting them into action.

Moderate anger can sometimes be dealt with by distracting people. Occasionally, this can be done with laughter but have a care. Humour at the wrong time can make things worse. It can be hard to get someone to change the subject if their anger is intense. Trying to do so may make them feel you are not taking them seriously which makes things worse.

Anger in a team at work can be incredibly disruptive. If you are a manager faced with a team member who gets angry easily, flag it up as an issue. Then offer to work with them to help them control their anger. You could try role play and practice dealing with angry customers, for example. You could also consider training for them in emotional intelligence, assertiveness and good communication skills. Encourage them to learn a simple relaxation technique to use when they feel stressed.

If you have to deal frequently with an angry person, afterwards, when they are calm, let them know how their anger makes you feel. Give your message assertively and calmly as you can. Don’t make accusations – just describe your feelings in simple terms.

We all face anger sometimes. The key is to learn how to deal with it calmly and with confidence. Find the cause and apologize if it is you at fault. Try, with them, to find a way to put things right. Treat an angry person with respect and focus on finding solutions.

This post appeared first on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-you-face-angry-person-work-wendy-smith

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Smith (formerly Wendy Mason) is  a life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

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Are you a manager behaving badly?

6307954283_9fd65cd134_mAre your anxieties reducing the performance of those you work with?

I’ve been coaching and blogging about career development for a few years now. And there seem to be a number of recurring themes when people talk to me about happiness at work. The most common is “trouble” with boss.

Problems can arise for all kinds of reasons.

Sometimes the person talking to me has had a history of difficulties with other managers in the past. There may be something they can change in their approach to improve things.

Sometimes the person having the problems is in a job that isn’t the right fit and they need to consider a change.

Unfortunately, and far more frequently, the difficulties spring from the way in which a particular manager has been behaving.

Managers come in all kinds of flavours. Some find communicating with their teams easy. For others, it may be something at which they need to work. These days there is little excuse for not knowing that communication is key to good performance but you would be surprised how many managers choose not to hear the message.

Sadly, a small number of managers are out and out bullies and they cause much misery and distress. Far more common is a much more subtle effect. There are managers dealing with their personal challenges by acting unprofessionally in the workplace.

Some managers deal with trouble in their private life by bringing anger or depression into the office. Many seem quite clever at making sure it is only their juniors who suffer, while colleagues and those above see a happy, cooperative employee.

Managers may be insecure in their work role (fear of redundancy, for example). They may deal with their anxieties by undermining those who work for them. Heaven help the bright junior who might be a natural successor! But the whole team might suffer from their “control freakery” and anger – nothing is quite good enough.

Over time, a “boss” working out their own problems at work can cause havoc with their team’s performance. Everyone feels unhappy and stressed; valuable team members look for opportunities to move elsewhere and sick absence may rise.

As a manager, looking objectively at your own performance and admitting you are causing problems for the team can be hard.

It is wise for all manager to step back sometimes and reflect on their own performance. Think about how you behaved over the last week, the last month and the last year.

For example, when you think about your leadership or management style consider;

  • Have there been incidents you subsequently regretted?
  • Are there people on the team you fear may be better than you at the job?
  • Have you stopped seeing good people as an asset and do you now see them as a threat?
  • How happy are the people that work in your team?
  • How have you contributed to that happiness?

Think about how you would judge a colleague behaving as you have behaved. Would it be good for them, their team and the organization, in the long term? If the answer is no, then act now. Commit to making a change and, if you need help, there are lots of coaches like me around on LinkedIn.

All it takes is the courage to look honestly and objectively at what you have been doing and not make excuses for yourself. Takes action. You owe it to yourself and your team to make that change.

This post appeared first on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-manager-behaving-badly-wendy-mason

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Mason is life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

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WiseWolf Talking enters 2015

New-Beginnings-Facebook-Timeline-Profile-Cover-480x178

I wish a very Happy New Year to all our readers and I’m very pleased to reassure you that next week, from 12th January 2015, normal service will be resumed.

We’ve taken a long holiday break which has included, not only marking Yule and the turn of the year, but also my marriage which took place on New Year’s eve . (No excuse then for forgotten wedding anniversaries.)

Now, it is time to return to work. And from 12th January, I hope you will find at least one useful and informative post here each week.

Going forward the aim of the blog will be to support your development in the widest and most balanced sense.

If you have suggestions for what we should include please get in touch.

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Mason is life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

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Re-Entering the Game of Job Hunting in Your Later Years

50-Creative-CommonsRe-Entering the Game of Job Hunting in Your Later Years

Today an interesting and useful post from Sara Stringer. Sarah is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about business and everything current.

It will come as  a shock to many individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 just how much job hunting has shifted in the many years since they last put out their applications. Some 20+ years ago, it was often as simple as showing up to a location, dropping off a resume, and waiting to hear back from the business.

Today, the game of job hunting has gone high-tech and may surprise you with its options (which can be simultaneously overwhelming):

  • Job search engines
  • Industry job boards
  • Social media (LinkedIn & Facebook) & networking
  • Freelance marketplaces
  • Online recruiters
  • Virtual events

…and the list goes on and on.

Much of the process is the same as it ever was, though there have been many advancements in technology and how we submit our applications. The cover letter, resume, and follow-up are still the main assets to use when seeking a job through an online platform. In reality it’s not nearly as scary as it may seem even if you have some trouble navigating your way around the Web.

Here are some of the key actions to consider (and employ), when online job hunting, after you’ve had a lapse in needing to do the activity:

  1. Learn about (and begin using) the new platforms

Information is your ally in this process of job hunting and it just so happens that you’re, right now, staring at the best tools for the job: the Internet.

There are thousands of great articles that can aid your understanding of how these newer websites and platforms work when submitting your applications.

Take a few days to begin learning about the various online platforms like the job search engines (like Monster), creating and networking through a LinkedIn profile, or seeking reputable online recruitment services which can guide you through the process.

  1. Update those main assets (and tactics)

Those three things we talked about?

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Follow-up

The cover letter will come naturally because it’s mostly telling the who, what, and why for sending in the application. The resume, however, has changed over the years so it would be within your interest to mull over a few various tips for writing resumes to bring yours into the 21st century.

The follow-up is quite crucial to the matter (as you could expect) because many businesses advertising a job listing will be bombarded with applications, yet only a few may take the time to show action which often tips off the job listing business that you’re going the extra mile to gain the position.

  1. Networking (the digital way)

The job you may have originally landed 20 years ago may have come through association with a friend, family member, or a friend of a friend – referrals were (and still are) very powerful. The associations you built were generally through school or other early work opportunities.

Today, we have shifted to using social media as one of the main forms of reaching out and building a network because so many of us are on there using it each and every day.

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

There are many others but these would be the ones you’d want to hone your focus on. This new process has become such a norm that you’ll have no trouble finding great articles on using social for job hunting.

The main things to remember/do are:

  • Get the main profiles setup, filled out, and as accurate as you can make them
  • Use the built-in search to seek out others that are in your desired industry
  • Visit the websites of companies offering positions and follow them on social
  • Join in on conversations with these individuals and businesses
  • Shoot them emails and rub elbows with those that can make the big decisions

What’s in your favor is the amount of work experience you have which automatically gives you the perception of being an authority figure for that industry. All that’s needed now is tapping into the technology, finding the right people, and making the pitch.

Conclusion

The big thing is not to get discouraged.

The technology is there to help you and it’s quite easy once you understand the process but there will be a learning curve in the beginning. When you’re stuck you should seek help from those that are literate with using the Web to mentor your process and show you the ropes (even your children or grandchildren could probably help in this regard).

It’s going to feel different but much of it remains the same; you’re still mostly submitting the traditional assets but through a new medium.

Good luck out there, hold your head up, and keep at it!

Sara Stringer is freelance writer who enjoys writing about business and everything current. In her spare time, she enjoys maintaining an active lifestyle through swimming and practicing yoga.

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What is Life Coaching?

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What is Life Coaching?

“Life Coaching is about transformation – from a caterpillar into a butterfly.”

Life Coaching helps people overcome the things that stop them living the life they choose. And sometimes it is about choosing the life to live.

Have you ever felt like this:

“I can’t say no to other people.”

“I don’t know where my life is going – I seem to have lost control.”

“I feel tired and stressed all the time but I don’t really know why.”

“I’m unhappy at work but I’ve lost my confidence and don’t think I can face changing jobs,”

“I’ve lost somebody close and I’m finding it difficult to take up my life again.”

“I’ve just been told I’m going to be made redundant and I don’t know how I’m going to cope.”

So, if you feel like this, you might get in touch with a Life Coach. What happens then?

Well first, we don’t give you advice or tell you what to do. We may think we know the answer but things work best when you find your own solutions.

What we do do is guide and support you until you find the answer for yourself. The answer may not be what you expect.  But it will be unique to you and the journey will be one of discovery about yourself.

Life Coaches focus on you, the tasks you want to complete and, when you’ve worked out what they should be,  the goals you want to achieve.

A Life Coach will work with you to help you remove barriers so that you can make your changes.

Working with a Life Coach can mean you can stop feeling dissatisfied and disappointed with your life. You can rediscover your self-esteem and your self-confidence.

We work with you as you are now and help you learn the strategies and techniques you need to make your own decisions, plan your own future and find your own life balance.

Wendy Mason is life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
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