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16. April 2015

Finding Your New Rhythm (Part 2 of 5)

by Vanessa Castagna, Advisor, My Next Season

So now you’ve had some time to “soak,” relax, breathe, and truly appreciate all the accomplishments of your career. Hopefully, you’ve taken enough time to reflect and absorb the positive impact you have had on so many people, your business leadership, and your company. Emotionally, you are settled into the realization that you are now in the midst of a huge transition, but don’t yet have a clear vision for the future. By now, you are actually grateful to be out from under the constant intense pressure, tight deadlines, rigorous travel schedule, and demanding 12-14 hour days. Now it is time to find your “new rhythm” . . . in your next season.

One way to start is to establish a basic plan: a basic structure to your day, a basic routine and pattern to your week that works for you. As leaders within large corporations, we worked within and are used to a structured environment. Start thinking of your priority list, begin to structure your day around it. Take inventory of the basic personal tasks that are important to you and that must get done . . . establish a new rhythm.

As an example, my basic day would go like this: waking up at 7:30am (instead of 5:30am); relaxing with coffee while reading the morning paper and watching a morning news program; exercising or power walking with my dog. Then I spend a productive 2-3 hours in my home office catching up on mail, bills, household to-do’s, researching topics on the internet, planning future calendars . . . remember, you probably don’t have an assistant anymore to schedule travel or plan a social event, so you are the one to do it! By now it’s 2:00pm or so, and the afternoon is free. I can meet up with friends or family, play golf or tennis, go shopping, go swimming, take a long lunch, organize closets, read, or a million and one other things I enjoy doing. I was also able to spend more quality time visiting my aging father in Florida, seeing him nearly twice a month, rather than only 4 times a year. These are activities and agenda items that were important to me during my transition. Think about using this time to do things that are important to you, and that you’ve never had time to do before, and the feeling of “burn out” will now be well behind you.

You have had SO much change, adjustment, and perhaps uneasiness these past few weeks and months . . . Truly a ‘life pattern interrupt’ has occurred. It’s key to develop a new plan, and new rhythm. Establishing this new basic plan will help avoid the clichés, pitfalls, and forlorn stories you’ve all heard from others newly retired: “I’m driving my spouse crazy already, as she’s tired of having me hanging around the house all day doing nothing”, and “how much golf can one person possibly play?”

There is much more life to live, filled with more purpose and greater fulfillment than you ever realized. Beginning with a basic plan will help you prioritize activities, personal time, and open yourself up to develop a more specific and enhanced plan for the future.

But that’s for the next chapter in your transition and my next blog in this series: “Casting a Wider Net.”

Vanessa Castagna brings more than four decades of experience as a Fortune 50 executive and eight years as a consultant and board member to her role as an Advisor for My Next Season. Vanessa is dedicated to supporting other executives as they transfer from corporate careers to meaningful next seasons of their own.

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