A lot of people have asked me with shocked and puzzled look when I would tell them that I am retired and have been for a few years. I am not sure if its because I don’t look like I have reached the acceptable age of retirement or if it’s because I am so comfortable with the word “retired”.
I should start with the definition of the word “retire”. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definition is “to stop a job or career because you have reached the age when you are not allowed to work any more or do not need or want to work any more.” The next word to define is “work”. Work to me sounds a look like labour and toil. Therefore my definition of “retire” is to stop work (labour and toil) because I can and I want to pursue my passion which aligns with my purpose. I knew that I wanted a change when work became more toiling than enjoyable. I knew that if I did not make a change when I did, I would end up being someone I didn’t want to be, just drudging along life as life is short and precious. I made the move in the traditional sense and wanted to see what the next stage of life has to offer. So now I am in the midst of aligning and re-creating my vocation – I am a coach. I am a coach because I want to inspire growth in others, to help them achieve their goals, to put into practical steps what they can do to break through barriers and to fulfil their potential. So yes to me I am retired. Retired from the labour and toil to aligning with my passion and purpose.
One of the tricky if not hardest question to answer when you are not “working” is “What do you do?”. This is because for such a long time, I had defined who I was by what I was doing. So I would say I am the Marketing and Business Operation Director at Microsoft. Wow, sounds really fanciful and maybe even important. But really what did it mean? What do you do? I am responsible for all the marketing activities and blah blah blah. All of which made me think about a more important question that I needed to answer and be clear about which was “Who AM I?”.
The “Who AM I?” question is one that goes to the heart of knowing and being confident and comfortable about being you, not being defined by what you do but for just being you. To know the answer requires that one be honest about yourself, your strengths, your dreams, your passions and your goals in life. To get to know yourself in a deeper way and imagine if everything is stripped away, who are you? If you don’t define yourself with what you are doing, with what job title you hold, and how much things you possess, how would you answer the question.
I have the great blessings of having a number of Christian friends and one of the common attribute that they have is they would answer the question “Who are you?” with the first sentence as “I am a child of God.” followed by their personalities or what they are passionate about and so on. That’s a great way to be rooted in belief.
- What am I passionate about?
- What are my values?
- What’s my life purpose? Can I describe in one or two words?
- Is my work aligned my values and life purpose?
Just remember we are human beings and not human doings. The heart of Human Being vs. Human Doing is to answer the question “Who Am I?”.
It’s not fair or It’s just not fair. Have we not thought that and even said it? Have we not thought that about everyone who has something that we don’t? Have we not wondered why life isn’t fair? Some will say that Life is Not Fair and in many ways its true. However, is that really true? Is that perspective of fairness even fair?
I have come across many times when I have thought, that’s not fair. How could so and so be promoted? How could I not have been selected for an award and so on? From my perspective, it’s just not fair. However, there are many aspects to perspective and therefore just to judge someone on a scale that is ever evolving and different person to person is rifled with faults.
What do you do when you feel that “it’s not fair”? How do you get of the negative perspective? Here are a few quick tips:
1. Life is only fair through your eyes. Therefore through the eyes of everyone, it is fair, just not to someone else. Once you accept that perspective, then the means by which we compare or judge others will need to be released. What are you happy with? What drives you? What are you passionate about? What are your strengths? What are you good at? Focus on those because you are most probably good at it.
2. Don’t compare or judge others. You are accountable for you, your actions and your thoughts. Others are accountable for their actions and thoughts. There is no “right” or “wrong” in most cases with the exception of against the law type situation. The better question is whether the exercise was useful or not. Useful to learn from or improve upon or not. The reality is I can’t play golf like Lydia Ko even though I feel that its unfair how someone so young could have all that talent. What I don’t see is just how much hard work she puts into it and the sacrifices that she would have made to be successful. Therefore, comparison of this nature is not helpful.
3. “Life is Not Fair” is in the eyes of the beholder. Taking on a glass half full or empty perspective. If we only see the half empty perspective then probably your view of situations will be “Life is Not Fair”. But don’t become a victim because there are any aspects of your life that I am sure brings a smile to your face. What brings a smile to your face? What are you most proud of? What stories would you tell your children and grandchildren?
4. This is your one life – Live it Up. We only live once and we can choose to live it up or down. I am sure that we have all read many articles and books about people and their regrets, let’s not be one of them. Let’s choose to live our your passion and dreams. Choose to make the most of the time you have with your family, friends and how you spend your time.
Life is fair because all of us only have ONE.
I welcome you to journey with me in this great and exciting journey to grow. To grow and reach whatever goals or dreams that is inside each and everyone of us. I have discovered that I am constantly curious and wanting to know more about areas that I am interested in whether it be to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to get fit, to play better golf, to help the people around me or just to be creative. The topic or area of passion does not matter so long as there is one. That’s what keeps me going and motivated. What that’s for you? Have you thought about how you would achieve it? What would you do if you have a dream that’s just bursting to get out? What do you need to do to achieve that goal or dream? What would you do to overcome your fears?
Let’s journey together to find out what is possible.