Why is finding your genius important? Retirement planning used to mean you had a financial plan in place. But, the traditional approach to retirement is changing significantly. 

Now it’s evolving into a phased transition where nearly half of the individuals leaving careers continue to stay engaged by volunteering, reentering the workforce, or becoming entrepreneurs and starting a business. They finally have the freedom to pursue new interests, follow their dreams, and find a new purpose.

That requires thinking about retirement planning differently. It’s important to have a solid financial plan in place. But it’s also important to consider the psychological aspects as well. Take some time to think about who you’ll be and what you want to do in a new chapter (because it’s undoubtedly different from who you were and what you did in your career).

One way you can do this is to find what I call your Zone of Genius, where your innate talents and abilities intersect with your passion and purpose. Here are some ways you can start to find your Genius:

  1. Think of your life as a story with chapters. As you reflect on your story, ask yourself in what way people and events influenced your professional and personal life. What limiting or false beliefs, behaviors and habits are sabotaging your plans for the future? (One of mine was that I was too old to start something new. Sure glad I let go of that one!) Your life is important. Your story is what makes you unique. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  2. Identify your natural talents and abilities. Reflect on your past experiences, including school, work, and personal interests. To identify your natural talents and abilities, think about the things that come easily to you, the skills that you have always possessed or have been complimented on. What are the tasks that you can do well without much effort? Think about what you didn’t like and where you struggled. What made you want to hit the snooze button and throw the covers over your head some days?
  3. Discover your passions. Your passions are the things that you love to do, the activities that light you up and bring you joy. They are the things that you would do even if you weren’t getting paid for them. To discover your passions, consider the activities that you enjoy the most, the hobbies or interests that you naturally gravitate towards. Ask yourself what you would do if you had unlimited time and resources. What are the topics or causes that you feel strongly about?
  4. Determine your values and purpose: Your values are the principles and beliefs that guide your behavior and decision-making. They are the things that you care deeply about and that are most important to you. Your purpose is your reason for being, the unique contribution that you want to make to the world. To determine your values and purpose, reflect on the things that matter most to you. What principles do you live by? What motivates and inspires you? What do you want your legacy to be?
  5. Look for the overlap: Once you have identified your natural talents and abilities, passions, values, and purpose, look for the areas of overlap. Where do these elements intersect? What activities or projects would allow you to use your strengths, pursue your passions, and make a difference in the world?

By finding your Zone of Genius, you can identify the sweet spot where you can use your strengths, pursue your passions, and make a difference in the world. Along with your financial plan, It becomes the foundation for your new retirement plan and a new chapter in your story.

And if you’re anything like me, this chapter (unlike some of the others) will be aligned with your passions, values, and your true, authentic self. It will be written and designed to bring joy and fulfillment to your life. 

Still not sure where to start? I get it. This whole idea of planning for retirement in a more holistic way is evolving. It’s different from the way we were taught. Even Google’s top search results for retirement planning are about pensions, 401(k)s, and investments. 

In my Amazon best-selling book, “Your Next Chapter. Dream It. Design It. Live It.” I introduced a Zone of Genius matrix, designed to help identify the intersections between values and interests and ideal career or volunteer paths. And, I have a FREE Zone of Genius quiz you can take to get you thinking about your unique intersections and what you want to write into your new retirement plan chapter. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!