Category Archives: Productivity

My Life, My Art: How to Make 2016 Your Kick-Ass Year

Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes and easy smile is your museum. - Steven Pressfield
Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes and easy smile is your museum. – Steven Pressfield

We live our lives. We don’t make our lives. Isn’t that right?

Of course not. I know you know this.

We make the lives we live – step by step, plunge by plunge. We construct, formulate and compose a production using our energies and spirit along with whatever else is thrown our way.

Currently our life’s play is stimulating, wonderful, dissatisfying, miserable, boring or downright dull. Yours may be infused with drama, a mishmash of responsibilities and consequences, just plain messy or ho-hum.

Unable to put your finger on what you don’t like about the scene in progress is bad enough. But now here comes an unwelcome interruption from a backstage voice booming a line that makes me cringe:

“You made your bed, now go lie in it.”

This is a punitive way of saying that we create the conditions of our condition.

Perhaps. But I don’t buy you have to stay in that bed.

Life as you know it can be better.

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Lost in Transition? Try the ‘Tough Cookie 100-Day Plan for Getting Unstuck’ (Over 30 Ideas)

Time keeps on telling me who to love, where to go. Time keeps on pushing me further on down the road. -- Lyrics from "Time" by Josh Rouse
Time keeps on telling me who to love, where to go. Time keeps on pushing me further on down the road. — Lyrics from “Time” by Josh Rouse

There are only two types of people in the world: people who do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do it, and people who don’t do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do it.

I am the first type. I do what I say I am going to do. Unless, of course, I’m stuck. I hate getting stuck.

All of us, despite best intentions or track records of follow through, often find we’re lost, confused, undecided, doubtful and ambiguous. We’re frozen in place in the larger context of life, even as we manage to look busy and ooze a pretend-kind of happy.

When it comes to inventing life – a new or continued career, different view out the window, ways to make money, different people to hang with, better focused choices, more engaged productivity – the whole darn thing is daunting.

We think about how we might change. We think how life could be even better. We think we should start thinking about our last third of life.

Time passes and we drift around in our thoughts.

It’s not you that’s the problem. It’s the process. (more…)

Posted in Craft a Post50 Lifestyle, Productive Longevity, Productivity, Self-Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Stuck? Confused? Can’t Find Your Late-in-Life Groove? You Need a ‘Tough Cookie’ Voice.

There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you.                 -Carol Matthau
There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you.
-Carol Matthau

Getting stuck in a life transition isn’t fun. Even smack in the middle of a lull when we feel something’s bound to come along to move us forward (we’re not sure what) is enough to make us think we missed a step we should have known about.

The situation prompts us to ask, “How did this happen to me?”

In the last two months I met three people baffled at their current lot in life who did want to talk (quietly) about being lost and stumped. They also disclosed how surprised they are to find themselves stupefied by the future.

With long and successful careers, each established firm future financial footing and chose traditional retirement in January of this year. If you think they were euphoric leaving the rat race behind to fill their Google calendars with what they wanted to do, you’d be right.

They were excited and exhilarated. But it didn’t last long. Their forays into freedom and wellbeing had a shelf life less than those onions you keep in a bin in your garage.

  • As a district manager of sales at Sears for over twenty years, Sara, 60, left in January when new management was at odds with her values. “It was time to go,” she said. By mid-March she’d done everything she ever wanted with a block of free time – clean out the garage, swim off Maui, paint the guest room, and visit old friends. “Now what am I supposed to do?” she asked. Friends tell her it’s time to volunteer but that doesn’t excite her at all. “I’m way off course, no idea what’s next and to be honest, a little dazed.”
  • John, 57, ended his 22 years as a school principal with a celebration. “I’m very pleased with my decision to retire,” he told me. “My heart just wasn’t in it anymore.” John said he was very restless after six months of not working and is concerned that his time ahead isn’t filled with more meaning. “I guess I’m shocked that I’d still like to work at something.” John also thinks about moving from Florida to Arizona. “I always dreamed of living in the desert.”
  • Penny, 59, left her position a small accounting firm in January then found the bliss of not working wore off in a mere 60 days. Her husband has no plans to retire. “He comes home from work full of things to talk about,” she said. Penny does yoga, goes to the cleaners and unloads the dishwasher. “It all makes a life that’s mighty uninteresting,” she whispered.

These spontaneous conversations with each individual at different social gatherings were clandestine in nature. Why? Because who wants to shout out, “Hey, come on over and hear me discuss how adrift, bewildered and stumped I am about what to do with my life.” (more…)

Posted in Productive Longevity, Productivity, Reconstuct Retirement, Self-Management, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Simple Step to Inspiration on Life’s Journey: What is Your Temporary Name?

 Be Safe and Well. Peace, Love, Courage. -Traditional farewell among the Arabs for those leaving on a pilgrimage.
Be Safe and Well. Peace, Love, Courage.
-Traditional farewell among the Arabs for those leaving on a pilgrimage.

While the word pilgrimage may sound mysterious, it is not. Whatever our longing, path or destination, we are all journeying and have been throughout our lives.

All men and women are travelers though often we might be confused wanderers. I think you know what I mean – on the path, off the path, screw the path.

Maybe you don’t think of yourself as a pilgrim but many scholars do. They declare that life is a pilgrimage and the human soul is a pilgrim.

I believe in pilgrimage as a powerful metaphor for any passage with the purpose of finding something that matters deeply to the traveler. The pilgrimage can be an inward journey as transformative and sacred as the revered walk thousands undertake each year on Camino de Santiago.

Two Saturdays ago I went to  Charleston to spend a day with the wise philosopher and poet, David Whyte to explore Solace: The Art of Asking the Beautiful Question.

I wanted to be inspired, learn new things and broaden my perspectives.

His seventh volume of poetry, Pilgrim, is hailed as some of his best work. Whyte defines a pilgrim as someone, like you and me, passing through our lives relatively quickly but dependent on friendship, hospitality and help from friends and strangers alike.

Someone for whom the nature of the destination changes step by step as it approaches, and someone who is subject to the vagaries of wind and weather along the way.

The nature of our journey, no matter our age, will not change when it comes to unexpected challenges and events, or joyful transitions. (more…)

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Five Steps to Find Your Dream Job for the Last Third of Life

A wish for fulfilling work can roar to life at any age. It often seems a promise we must keep. So, we hunt and hunt and hunt, and often are still hunting for the “dream job” in our 50s and 60s.

Many howl with pride that they have found and do “the work they are meant to do.” We try not to hate them.

Many continue to seek “purposeful work” while others have determined their lives will go on forever without a hint of this elusive and mysterious phenomena.

If you’ve bombed at finding the dream job your entire life or settled in to a less fulfilling career for one reason or another, you’ll want to take another crack at the dream job thing.

Why? Because authorities on people in their eighties – the “new old” – champion pithy sayings backed by solid research on how to get the best from a life of longevity.

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Posted in Productivity, Reconstuct Retirement | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments