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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Retirement Redesigned

HomeThe Weekly ResetWhat Give Us Purpose After Work?

What Give Us Purpose After Work?

This post is a duplication of our newsletter, The Weekly Reset, where we review a key theme each week. In the spotlight this week: Purpose. What do you think gives you purpose after work life ends?

A note from Johann

Finding your life’s purpose

In retirement, it is about defining your contribution

One of the most serious concerns of retirees is knowing who you are after retiring. Identity and your purpose in life are easily defined when you are working and have a full-time job. When you have retired and retirement is the platform of your life, it is much harder. It is because there is no clear line of responsibility and because there is no manual of instruction that will teach you how to navigate the streams of what looks like a lot of emptiness.

It is all very well pointing to grandchildren and enough time now to devote yourself to the family, but that doesn’t take up all that much of your time. Playing a good deal more golf also fails to do it. Some say they are doing more odd jobs around the house, but these are just small part-time involvements.

The real question is, what would give me a definite sense of purpose that might replace the commitment I felt before retiring?

Resolving this issue is much like the career decision that had to be made after leaving school. It is what you will be busy with on a regular basis and what you would like to be identified with that would give you a proper sense of purpose.

The exercise of plotting and creating this is difficult, but not impossible. Well regarded and experienced coach Craig O’Flaherty says when considering what will occupy you in retirement it is about asking four critical questions:
Do I really love it
Am I good at it?
Does the world need it?
Will I be recognised and be paid for it?

When these thoughts have been given enough time and consideration and when there is an intersection of the four, the challenge to find your retirement occupation is likely to be easier.

Coupled with these questions is the even more important issue to ponder. It is about the values of your life and the stage of life you are now faced with. It is this; what is my contribution? What is the greater good that I am here to serve? Jordan Peterson says the key to a satisfying life is to take on responsibility that will enable you to know what your contribution to the world is.

It is responsibility that will give your life meaning and it is responsibility that will help you to define your contribution.


Our top pick this week:

Why Living With Purpose Is Easier Than You Think

Image of a Man with Telescope

This article elucidates purpose in such a way that it transcends age and that’s why we have selected to include it in this week’s series. For those who are looking to define their purpose outside of their work and careers, this read can help to clarify things.

“According to William Damon, a developmental psychologist at Stanford, purpose has two important dimensions. First, purpose is a “stable and far-reaching” goal. Purpose is a goal toward which we are always working. It is the forward-pointing arrow that motivates our behavior and serves as the organizing principle of our lives. Second, purpose involves a contribution to the world.”

Click here to read the whole article on Happify

Our Spotlight video:

What gives us Purpose after work?

We look at one of the biggest challenges facing retirees. What gives us purpose after work? We often find our identity and purpose wrapped up in our vocation. So how can we address the void that exists once we leave full-time work?

Retirement offers both a challenge and opportunity in forcing us to find purpose beyond our vocation.

Click play to watch our spotlight video of the week

Spotlight of the week

Other Highlights of The Week:

Finding Meaning and Purpose In Old Age

Image of a Man Looking out onto the Ocean

This article addresses why we might lose a sense of meaning and purpose as we age and what we can do about it.

“Old age is often associated with wisdom and experience. Many people are happier as they grow older, due to a more developed emotional intelligence and increased depth, and a resulting balanced inner life. However, there are two things that tend to decrease as we age: the sense of meaning and purpose.”

Click here to read the article on Emoha

Weekly Poll

This week’s poll: On intergenerational wellbeing
Option A: I am focused on building a legacy.
Option B: I am still looking after my own prosperity.
Option C : I generally try to help the next generation.

Click here to answer the question in our Facebook group

Last week’s poll and finding: On purpose after work
Option A: Purpose is just a buzzword – 3%
Option B: Our jobs give us purpose – 1%
Option C : Our purpose is bigger than our jobs – 55%
Option D : You never really find your purpose, you strive toward it – 41%

Percentage Images of Poll responses

Most Popular Post of The Week

People Age Better If They Have A Purpose In Life

Click here to read the article on

Most Popular Quote of The Week

Retirement offers both a challenge and opportunity in forcing us to find purpose beyond our vocation

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Quote by our Reset Team

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Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.