Ever since I wrote a blog a couple of months ago in which I revealed that I’d just had my 70th birthday I’ve had lots of questions such as: ‘Isn’t it about time your retired?’ and ‘I thought you were already retired?’ and ‘When are you going to retire?’
Since when I’ve seen a number of articles about ….well …retirement. Apparently, it’s called the frequency illusion. Like when you buy a red car and suddenly start to see every red car on the road.
To be honest I’ve never really thought that much about retirement.
I’m not even sure I know what it means to retire. It seems as if most people’s goal is to reach 60 or 65 and then retire, which is a strange idea if you deconstruct it: you work during your younger, most productive years and then stop when you’re older and your body starts to ache and your energy is lower.
Plus working (if you call it that) is fun when you get to chose what you do each day, so why stop?
No, the correct retirement goal is to retire as early as possible from work you hate (or don’t love doing) so you can transition to work you enjoy.
Retirement isn’t an age; it’s a choice of what work you do (and don’t do). Retiring is about lifestyle and retiring early is a mindset.
And given that we all have the power to change at we do and create whatever we want its hard not to work out how to retire early.
When Harvard researcher asked recently retired people the best part of retirement the top three answers were:
- No more meetings,
- No commuting, and
- The ability to chose what you do and when.
These are all the characteristics of doing only the work you love, so you don’t need to ‘retire’ to get the benefits of retirement.
To make the mindset shift means to stop:
- Stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow.
- Stop thinking you have to be wealthy to retire early.
- Stop thinking four weeks annual holiday is enough.
- Stop saying I can’t afford it.
I am fortunate; without understanding all this at the time I was still in my 40’s when I stopped working in a corporate environment, where I could no longer do the work I enjoyed, to set up my own business.
Over the past 20+ years I’ve enjoyed a variety of roles, tested several business ideas, and coached and mentored some amazing entrepreneurs. This often requires shuffling off the old to make way for new challenges.
Once this shift in mindset happens, how you handle it determines the quality of your life. If you don’t push yourself to what you think is your limit how will you even find out what you are capable of?
If you settle for the illusion of comfort over growth – and comfort is always an illusion because it comes with that nagging feeling reminding you that you’re settling for less than you’re capable of – you wait…and the opportunity has passed you by.
But it’s never too late to spend your time doing what you love to do.