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Encore Career Coaching – Just Say No

In our next 2 posts we are focusing on advice for those of you ready for your “encore career” or closer to retirement, in 2 retirement coaching articles… Thank you to Katie Weiser, one of our associate career coaches for these posts.

Steve Jobs has had an enormous impact on the world.  His quote, below is a reminder to all the baby-boomers who are working or retired who still have not learned how to say NO.

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.

~ Steve Jobs

Now that you are at the stage in your life where you want to move from “have to” to “want to” – think about all the things you do daily, weekly, that you feel you don’t want to do, but are still doing.  How can you break that cycle?  It isn’t easy.  Here are a few tips:

1. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.  Label one side “Have To” and the other side “Want To”.  Capture your thoughts in both columns.  Does the “Have To” column overshadow your want to?  If it does, you must be feeling a lot of overwhelm and a great burden.

2. Ask the hard question of why am I really doing this with such an obligation of “Have to”?

3. Could you delegate it or dump it altogether?  Now, if you are working for monetary reasons and it is a Have To, then it probably can’t be delegated or dumped.  But, your thinking around it could change – you are working to provide support to yourself and your family.  But, what is it about the job that makes it feel like a “Have To” burden?  You actually may want to work, but an analysis of your work tasks might be in order to determine which activities you could delegate or dump to free up time to do what you love to do.

4. Learn the art of saying No to people.   Focus your work and personal life around your wants and make commitments to do them more.  That means having to say no to people in order to make time for the activities that you love or to spend more time with certain people and not others.  No has a negative connotation.  However, saying it in a way that suggests you would if you could makes it easier.  For example, I would love to help you with that charity work, but right now I have a full plate – check with me next year.

Remember that we have fewer and fewer days as we crest age 50+.  I like to think I am going to live to 100 and that my life has only x number of years left.  Take those years and work your own agenda to make your own heart sing with the “Wants.”  Say no to everyone else’s agenda if it doesn’t strike a chord with you.  Take time for yourself and stand up for yourself – just say NO.

Hallie Crawford and Katie Weiser
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Is your clock ticking towards retirement? Check out our Encore Career Coaching services to help you define your life – on your terms.