It was about this time of year…5 years ago.
In some ways it seems like so long ago. In other ways, it seems like yesterday. My heart wants me to share this part of my story because someone out there is feeling the same way now that I was feeling then. So, I will.
I had been in my career for 30 years. But, I knew it was time for me to move on. I wasn’t passionate about it any more. I was totally burned out and stressed out. I had stayed way beyond my expiration date.
For close to a year, I had been mentoring my replacement. I had passed on responsibilities, projects, and even my office.
It was time to set a date, so I did.
I called it my retirement date. (Can’t believe I called it that because I certainly wasn’t old enough to retire!) It was a couple of months out, and I was sure it wouldn’t get there quickly enough. After all, retirement is what we plan for. It’s when we’ll get to do exactly what we want to do all day long. We can travel. We can go to bed late and sleep in. We can…well, fill in the blank.
Boy was I wrong.
The closer I got to the date, the more anxious I became. I met with financial advisers (something we had done annually over the years) and all that seemed to be in order, so what was up? A friend’s voice kept whispering in my ear, “Time to buck up.” She was famous for telling everyone, including my Bouvier Zbeau, to just buck up when things weren’t going your way or when you were worrying about something. Sometimes that was easier said than done; and this was one of those times.
But, I did it. I took that step out the career door into the unknown. And then it hit. I didn’t know who I was any more. I had allowed my identity to be defined by my career and that had changed.
So, who was I now?
That was a million dollar question, and it took me a while to figure it out. I’m so glad I did.
Reflecting on where I was 5 years ago got me thinking. As I look around, I see friends who are recently retired (or nearing the date), people who have lost jobs (for whatever reason…and there have been plenty of them) or who are totally burned out and stressed out in their current career. People feel stuck, without a plan and sometimes without hope.
What I found is the plan is the most important thing. And, it has to be a plan that includes the obvious—how you’ll manage from a financial perspective. It also has to include the not so obvious—how you’ll manage the mental and emotional perspectives of your transition to a new chapter.
I had plenty of time to plan for all 3, but I didn’t. If you’ve followed me over the past couple of years, you’ve undoubtedly figured out that I want to give you tools you can use to plan and navigate the changes and transitions of life. My desire is that you have what you need to do so with grace and confidence…and knowing in your heart who you really are.
I put together some free resources to get you thinking about what your career escape plan might look like. You can find them here. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next Houdini or great escape artist. And, if you want to go deeper, let me know. We can arrange a free Discovery Call to get started.