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The conversation around retirement is morphing in the corporate circles.

It is no longer a question of if or when we retire, but when do I start to do what I want, and live the life I’ve always wanted.

If you are in an 8–5 job though, you are probably always running around trying to meet targets with barely any time left to think about what you want to do with your life. By the time you are done with work, there are family and social obligations. And we are constantly asked to choose.

The choice is easy; do what puts food on the table and use the time left for family. YOUR desires can surely wait.

Yet, after 55, you need to be transitioning out of the formal job.

Recently, after listening to a talk about retirement, my friend Grace who is in her late 40s told me, “I haven’t yet fully figured out what I want to do after here”. One of my dear relatives is also retiring and She’s doing her best to set up, but I can sense her panic. She’s accustomed to a certain lifestyle. What will she do without a handsome salary?

Should we really retire or transition?

That’s for you to decide.

Dr. Bishop Henry Luke Orombi, one of the leaders I admire, is out there traversing these lands after 'retiring' over 12 years ago. He left the office of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda a year early to do what he loved most; preaching the gospel without the administrative ‘baggage’ that comes with running the office of the Arch Bishop.

You too can do that. I mean, do what you love full time. And if it can pay you, then you should start building it now. Don’t wait when it’s too late.

If you are seeking a transition into doing what you want, here are some pointers.

Audit your passions and skillsets. There are things you are often complimented on, and things you have learned over the years, they have become almost effortless. Look at them carefully. Is there an intersection? If you can merge the two and do them more intentionally in your circles, you can get to a place where you ask, ‘how else can I use these to contribute in a much bigger way and ‘how do I price them, and take them to the people who need them?’

Develop a personal growth plan. Clarify your vision, and visualize the future you want, get pictures and pin them on your vision board, then step back and create a plan. Ask yourself, what can I do in year 1, 2, 3 to get this in year 10. Endeavor to review your plans frequently, every 6 months maybe. Better still, get a coach to keep you accountable and focused, so that your plan does not go stale on your computer. If your plans change, adjust as needed.

Embark on a rigorous skill development path. A good plan will help you see where you need to sharpen some skills or learn new ones. When I decided to start a consultancy firm a few years ago, I realized I needed to learn how to; run businesses, manage for performance, and acquire coaching skills, so I embarked on that learning journey. What skillsets do you need to effectively execute your vision?

In a Harvard Business Review article, The Iron Lady’s Failed Mid-Career Transition, Herminia Ibarra has this to say, “If we are lucky,… we come to know early on what we do well and in what arena we want to make a mark. Then, if we are successful, the hard part kicks in: we come to the point where we have to reinvent ourselves. What must we keep and what must we shed in order to advance and grow?”

This is the challenge I leave with you.



Keep trying.

And whenever you feel empowered enough, take a leap of ‘informed’ faith.

This post was written by Brenda Abeja - Consultant at Eaglelite Associates

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