In my last article, I described an ‘ideal’ retirement scenario you could be looking forward to, and how you may react to your colleagues’ congratulatory remarks during your last day in the office.
But what if you are ‘forced’ to retire, or if your finances or health change drastically? Perhaps your first reaction is: “AND NOW WHAT?”
As in the ideal retirement scenario, how you respond depends on where your energy is at the moment. In previous posts, I discussed how your energy can be dominantly CATABOLIC– draining and destructive, or ANABOLIC, which is healing, expanding, and constructive. I also introduced the concept and application of Energy Leadership and the seven levels of energy, first described by Dr. Bruce D. Schneider in the late 1990s.
The ‘Involuntary’ Retirement Scenario
You are in the last stretch of a successful career, and so far your projected financial numbers look very good. But the industry you are serving takes a downward fall, and a wave of layoffs follows. You are given notice to take advantage of an attractive severance package, and you have no choice but to accept it.
Soon after you leave, you meet with your financial advisor, who informs you that you still have a gap or shortage of funds in your retirement years and that you should procure additional income. This comes at the worst possible time, because there are no vacancies in your industry and employers don’t want to hire seasoned and more expensive staff.
These are some possible energetic reactions you may have to this series of events. In parenthesis I indicate the ultimate result. Remember that levels 1 and 2 are catabolic, or limiting and draining reactions. Levels 3 through 7 are dominantly anabolic – expanding and constructive.
Level 1 (Inaction): “So much for loyalty and giving my life to this career. Who will hire me now? How will I pay for health insurance for me and my family? This is really depressing. I guess I will have to wait until this industry improves.”
Level 2 (Defiance): “This is all because of terrible leadership and politics. I don’t care anymore for this career or this industry. I am done with it. This is so frustrating. I might just as well move to another country where I will be treated better…”
Level 3 (Compromise): “If I don’t do something I am never going to retire. They had no choice but to let me go, and I understand. I will update my resume and send it out to see if I get lucky…”
Level 4 (Service): “My entire family and others depend on my income. I am concerned about them. I will have to get a job anywhere to continue to support them.”
Level 5 (Opportunity): “I knew this was coming and I am prepared, so I feel at ease with myself. Now is the time to move on with my Plan B, which includes a renewed vision of myself and others.”
Level 6 (Empathy): “I am grateful for the opportunities I had in my career, and my heart is full of joy for all the friends I have met during these years. I will now focus my energy in establishing a charitable foundation.”
Level 7 (Self-Realization): “I have played my divine role of being employed only for the purpose of my own spiritual growth and for sustaining myself and my family. Whatever comes represents the next step in that evolution. Perhaps it is time to go deeper and to serve others unconditionally.”
Moving from Catabolic Reactions
The above scenario involves STRESS, or a departure from one’s typical or ‘normal’ energetic response. It is obviously not the way most people would like to enter their retirement years, but it is not uncommon.
Can you ‘choose’ your energetic response to this stressful transition? The simple answer is yes, if you understand that stress is not always bad. It can actually propel you to take renewing, constructive action with your life. The way you react to stress depends on your perception of it.
The level 1 response is to do nothing. The reaction to stress is to shut down and hope for the best. It is a very comfortable and protective state, and it works for some time. But if you stay at this level for too long, you may eventually end up in despair, and you are not going to be any closer to replacing your lost income or health insurance.
You move from this very catabolic level by examining any interpretation you have made of why you were let go, or by removing the assumption that all doors will be closed for you. They key is to spring into action as soon as possible, even if it means that you have to react angrily to the situation – “I’ll show them that they were wrong for letting me go”.
And so it is with the other energetic levels. You want to move up at least to the next level, and keep building up your anabolic energy, by removing any inner obstacles you may have.
One such obstacle is that INNER CRITIC that whispers in your consciousness, “I am too old for this”. Or, “I don’t have the skills to relaunch my career or a new one”. This one takes more work or the help of a coach, because it may be deeply set in your consciousness.
Can you ‘plan’ your energetic reaction?
Most definitely YES. Chances are you know that this layoff or ‘forced retirement’ is coming. Perhaps you may not have sufficient time to work on your Plan B, but any action or steps you take NOW will influence the energetic outcome if and when confronted with this transition. And the higher your energetic response, the better the chances that you will succeed in your new journey.
And what if you don’t see a downturn coming? Well, there are many valid reasons you may be asked to leave your job, or maybe you are sick and tired of it and want to retire early. Consider the Level 5 response in the scenario described above. This person was ready, and had the time not only to prepare a Plan B but also to learn how to monetize it.
So now is your turn. If you have read all the way to this point, you are probably picturing yourself in such a scenario.
My question to you is: What will be your energetic reaction be, if you were asked to leave your job tomorrow, and you are not yet ready to retire?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how willing are you to work on being ready? If less than 10, there is room for improvement.
Until next time, when I will discuss another retirement scenario – my favorite one: the pre-retirement years.
In Peace and Prosperity