Retirement Redesigned

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Retirement Redesigned

HomeMindsetPurposeRediscover Your Calling Later in Life

Rediscover Your Calling Later in Life

A note from Johann

Until retirement, many people work at jobs because they have to make a living. But a job is not a calling. Only the fortunate ones find their calling in life and an opportunity to work at it. Retirement is a life stage when you have more time and more opportunity to pursue the thing you really want to do. It is a second chance to work at something that may have wondered about or maybe even longed for. It is never too late to develop a talent!

Here are 3 simple steps to help uncover your calling:

Remember your passions. First, think back to when you were little and remember what gave you genuine pleasure. It could have been exploring and finding new experiences. It could have been making things and being creative. Or it could have been any of the many activities that occupied you in those early years, like helping your dad grow vegetables or baking and cooking with your mother. Maybe it was designing and building hideaways in the garden. Now imagine those skills and interests in an adult version.

Talk to others. Talk to people you respect who operate in the areas you are investigating. It could be someone that is teaching a subject that you are interested in. Or someone that has a life as an artist or a musical personality or whatever you think may be in a field that you could respond to. Set up a meeting and interview them and ask all the questions that may allow you to decide if you may want to follow in a similar path. People are often reluctant to impose on someone like that, but remember, it is flattering to have someone asking you about your life and what your career means to you. Speak with those who know you well and ask their opinions on what they think your calling might be. Often those close to us see us in a clear light and can give good advice. Speak to someone with an objective opinion – either about your skills or about your area of interest.

Do your research. There is a wealth of information available to us thanks to the internet. Not only can we harness resources from a global pool of knowledge, we can also connect with like-minded individuals and communities anywhere in the world. Your calling may be something creative and you could share it with the world or teach it to others locally. The options are more or less endless.

If you follow these three suggestions, you may see how fulfilling it is to define your late life calling and build your knowledge of it. Some fortunate older people have a strong, almost innate sense of what they will do. While others might take some time to rediscover their areas of interest. The idea is to continue with curiosity and self-discovery.

We’re looking at how we can rediscover our calling later in life. Throughout our working lives we may have put some of our interests on the back burner. Life becomes busy and demanding and often we need to answer to responsibilities rather than our personal interests. Retirement is a great opportunity to rekindle passions we’ve paid little attention to. Uncovering our calling is lies in the answer to a few simple questions and actively reconnecting with our interests. Living out our calling is a combination of sharing our gifts with others and being of value beyond our own necessities.

Our top 3 article picks this week:

3 Ways to Find Your True Calling in Midlife

An exchange of a business card

Our take:
This Forbes article is a brief synopsis of the book, Work Reimagined: Uncover Your Calling, and shares some of the exercises we can do to help us uncover our calling post-full-time career. It’s completely in line with our thinking, which is that our calling is something we can rediscover and reconnect with at any phase of life and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing we’re living with meaning.

Article excerpt:
Work Reimagined provides tools and tips to help you begin to identify your calling and put it to good use. I emphasize the term “begin” because finding your calling is an inward journey, not a singular event. No book, and quite frankly no career coach, no matter how savvy, can help you identify your unique gifts, values and preferences in one sitting.
Click here to read the full article on Forbes

Living a Life with Purpose After Retirement: 3 Action Steps to Take

When someone asks about what you do, the answer shouldn’t be, “I’m retired.”

A compass to symbolise purpose

Our take:
The author of this article offers three simple yet potent actions for reinventing yourself in retirement in a meaningful way.

Article excerpt:
When I talk about my definition of retirement, I think it sometimes catches people off guard. In my mind, retirement is not who you are or where you’re at in life, rather it is the transition of your time and money. In other words, it is a process you go through … not your identity.

The transition for money is a transition from accumulating money to utilizing it. For time, it is a transition of reallocating the 40-plus hours per week you spent working.

This distinction of what retirement means is an important one to make, because many people identify themselves with their work — but when someone is no longer working, they default to labeling themselves as “retired.”

Here is the problem: This default “I’m retired” mindset leaves people stuck, and they never really progress toward reinventing themselves. In essence, they have made retirement their new identity, which just seems odd considering when you say something is “retired” it often infers that it has outlived its usefulness.
Click here to read the full article post on

How to Find Your Purpose in Life?

Are you struggling to discover your purpose? Here’s how you can overcome that.

Senior couple sitting on a bench under a tree

Our take:
This Greater Good article examines the interrelatedness between purpose and community. Finding a way to use our skills to their best expression is much harder when done in isolation. The piece explores various ways in which to find a connection in community to help foster a sense of purpose.

Article excerpt:
Many seem to believe that purpose arises from your special gifts and sets you apart from other people—but that’s only part of the truth. It also grows from our connection to others, which is why a crisis of purpose is often a symptom of isolation. Once you find your path, you’ll almost certainly find others traveling along with you, hoping to reach the same destination—a community.

Here are six ways to overcome isolation and discover your purpose in life:
1. Read
2. Turn hurts into healing for others
3. Cultivate awe, gratitude, and altruism
4. Listen to what other people appreciate about you
5. Find and build community
6. Tell your story
Click here to read the full article on Greater Good

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Other highlights for the week:

Most Popular Daily Thought

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman
When we tend to our interests and live in a way where we’re engaged in the activities that give our life meaning we bring a certain spark to the world. Isn’t this the real purpose of life? Making sure that we are filed with the spark of life so that we can help to ignite it in others.
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Quote by Howard Thurman – Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Weekly Question

Last week’s question:
How do you think we rediscover our calling later in life?
Some of the responses we received from retirees and followers on social media:
• By experimenting with my interests.
• We have the time and money to rediscover the activities we dreamt about for years.
• No idea! I feel a bit lost after leaving my job which had a strong creative element.
• By trying new experiences.
This week’s questions:
We’d like to hear from you! Ask us anything you’d like us to write or post about.
Click here to answer the question in our Facebook group


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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.