Decisions, Decisions!

By Barbara · Comments (0)

“The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.” … Flora Whittemore

How do you decide what to do?  Is your tactic to rely on a knee jerk reaction or do you devote careful thought and weigh all the options?  Do you linger over details but never take action?  Could you be the type who agonizes until the circumstances actually force you to do something, and then that is not what you have chosen?

Transitions like retirement are a perfect place to reset your compass!  Often we are guided by habit.  We just plow ahead and submit to the familiar even if it lands mediocre results.  If we give insufficient time to carefully challenge ourselves, it should be no wonder when things don’t work out the way we imagined!  Stop and take aim for what you want and where you are going.  Whichever is your style, some thoughtful pause is prudent to be sure you get your bearings.  Here are some ways to help you break down the “known” and experiment with new options.

  1. Release old beliefs and recycle yourself! Get out of that rut and let go of what no longer defines who you are or wish to be.  Hold onto the characteristics and values that reflect who you are today, and delete those that don’t fit or might even hinder new experiences. Make space for your emerging visions.
  2. Stay focused on what lies ahead of you instead of trying to fix what was. There is no advantage to living in the past.  Time is precious and you can’t fully open your next chapter if your head is wrapped up in the past.  Let it go!!!  A new tomorrow is waiting.
  3. Be realistic. Assess your desired outcome and come to grips with what you can or can’t change.  No amount of desire or desperation can make something happen that is not meant to be or whose window of time has passed.  Accept what is, so you can clear your path to start a new day.
  4. Tap into your intuition. You’ve had decades of experience, so don’t underestimate the value of “knowing!”  Allow your inner feelings to guide you in tandem with your intellect.  You’ve earned this wisdom…use it!
  5. Take responsibility for your choice. Along with the power choice provides, also comes responsibility.  When you muster up the courage to venture into something new, be realistic and open to the calculated risks. Even if you think it is not for you, give it a hardy try, remember nothing ventured, nothing gained.  You’ll learn from what works, and may even surprise yourself along the way.

I have certainly challenged my preferences with my film festival movie selections.  I arranged to go with different friends whose tastes are unlike my own.  As a result I was nudged into a new genre of movies that I would have otherwise passed over.  It is all fun and good fortune to recycle yourself!!!

If you would like additional help in learning how to make better decisions please contact me at Barbara@retirementpotential.com.


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Some things my clients have said before working with me:

  1. No need to worry about retirement until you are!
  2. Retirement is no big deal.  Just stop working!
  3. I love all that free time! AND my spouse loves spending everyday with me!
  4. Since I’ve saved and reached some measure of financial stability, I am worry free!
  5. No need to map out my future, I’ve accumulated enough achievements to sail along for a lifetime!

These are but a few myths held by the about to be or newly retired.  OK… it’s true, in the “honeymoon” stage of retirement, giving full and uncharted course to your life is sheer delight.  It is glorious to have each day unfold and not be tethered to any notion of should’s and oughta’s!  You are holding the real “out of jail” card and it feels so freeing.  Then, after a period of time…a few months or longer, the luster of the golden years wares off leaving a sense of emptiness in spite of numbing busy-ness.  You come to the realization that this is not what was expected and a clear direction is now in order.

This is usually when retirees ask themselves, “What do I intend to do with the next 20-30 years of my life?  How do I bring meaning and purpose to my existence?  What is my legacy?  How do my partner and I arrive at mutual expectations for this time period?  What will my mission statement be for this life phase?”  And worse of all…Is this it???

The answers to these and other hard questions are what should be at the core of your New Year’s resolutions.

As a Certified Retirement Coach, I am trained to address more than a dozen areas of your life to help you sift through years of thoughts, experiences and hopes. Together we identify your priorities and put them in a logical and obtainable order.  You determine specific steps that are doable for you.  By the way, data shows that 60% of the people fail to maintain their resolutions within the first month!  As your coach, I can help you attain your goals in a timely and satisfying way.  You’ve earned your retirement; why not maximize it to its fullest?

Please contact me at Barbara@retirementpotential.com to discuss how you can make your retirement the Golden Years!


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Going For The Gold

By Barbara · Comments (0)

For the last two weeks I’ve been a TV junkie, catching the Olympic spirit and venturing into the lives of these athletes at the pinnacle of their careers.  Every day, I watched one event or another with great enthusiasm and am so proud of not only the USA team, but also all the athletes who have long trained and competed.  I admired the qualities that go into making an Olympic athlete so superior and wondered how they differ from us “regular” folks?  What can we learn from their approach to life, their discipline and ability to remain so focused?  Here are some thoughts…

For one, be assured that these elite athletes don’t utter the worlds, “I think I can” or “I’ll try.”  They say, “I will!”  Their focus on the gold seldom wavers, and if so, with the help of their coaches they quickly get back on track.  They are willing to make unbelievable sacrifices to reach their dreams.  They rise above their fears and doubts.  They are not deterred by failure, but rather accept it as part of the process toward success.  In spite of many obstacles…grueling training, pain and repeated injuries, financial burdens, moving away from family, and enduring great disappointment, they carry on.

How can we, who are at midlife and beyond, assume an Olympian-like attitude?  Certainly our physically adroitness is a stretch (no pun intended), but our experience and hard earned wisdom compensates and enables us to rise to extraordinary levels.  There is no age limit for achieving excellence.  Ask yourself where in your life can you integrate Olympic greatness?  Is there someone who sees you as a superstar and how could you use that to positively influence them?  What lingering goals could you accomplish that would take you to the top of your game?  Are there acts of courage and commitment that could catapult you up to Olympian heights?  What will you achieve in the next four years?

If someone you know can benefit from this message, then please forward it to them.

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By Barbara · Comments (0)

Who doesn’t equate Cupid with love and desire?  He is the god of love from Roman mythology and is depicted as a winged blond cherub flying about the mythical world.  He is known to aim his bow and arrows at the Gods, Goddesses and Humans causing them to fall deeply in love.   For a second…just for a second, I wish I had Cupid’s powers.  I would create a special arrow and aim it at YOU.  With this arrow’s touch you would fall in love…but not with someone else.  The object of your love and attention would be you!

Well maybe this sounds outrageous and totally narcissistic, but I’ve talked to so many, who remain narrowly focused on others and gives themselves insufficient “self care!”  Several of my clients share that they are sad and frustrated over not fulfilling their own dreams and wishes.  But paradoxically they say to put themselves first is “selfish” and “rude.”  They explain that they have no time for their needs, because family, friends and other demands come first.  Some have good intentions to set strong boundaries but end up saying, “yes” to too many requests, leaving no time for their own wishes.  They have countless excuses why those personal activities that nurture and vitalize them are put on hold or are long forgotten.

As we reach the 55+ years and are near or in retirement, we comfortably can step away from these previously held commitments. There may have been times when the demands of life were overwhelming and you (and I) felt like martyrs, taking on tasks way beyond reason.  But now, things are different.  We don’t have nearly the obligations nipping at our heels as we used to allowing us to be more attentive to our own needs.

So this Valentine’s Day ask yourself…Do I:
•    Allow other people’s needs to consistently override my own?
•    Silently slip into accepting less than I want?
•    Feel disappointed when others don’t know what I need or want?
•    Avoid or postpone my own health care due to time constraints?
•    Needlessly prioritize my work over relaxing and playful activities?
•    Repeatedly participate in activities that drain or annoy me?
•    Have more relationships based on my giving rather than receiving?

If you’ve answer yes to one or more of these questions, then it is time for rebalancing your self-love quotient.  Yes, stop settling for less than and start filling your life with more of what you want.  I realize that there are some who don’t need this lesson, as they have let the self-love pendulum swing too far in the ME direction and think mainly of themselves. This message, however, is for the restless nurturers yearning to be set free and pursue dreams of their own.

Wait no longer for someone else to do it for you.   This is the time for you!  I propose on this Valentine’s Day, to put yourself high up on your list.  Make a commitment to end self-denying behaviors and proudly bring self-love and care back into your life.  If not now…when?

If someone you know can benefit from this message, then please forward it to them.

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By Barbara · Comments (0)

With the arrival of the holidays, so comes a plethora of new movies.  I try to catch a few good ones and recently saw “Up in the Air” with George Clooney (heartthrob).  He plays the role of Ryan Bingham, who travels around the country firing employees, whose own bosses lack the guts and compassion to do it themselves.  Clooney’s character, Bingham offers a snapshot of the harsh reality of corporate downsizing, leaving newly fired employees either angry or stunned like a deer caught in headlights.  Bingham offers cursory counseling in their all too brief session, but in one scene, he truly mastered the drill.  By reviewing the fired employee’s resume, Bingham notices that previously he was a chef and suggests that he return to that line of work.  Through all the awkwardness of just being fired, the employee’s taunt face relaxes and you see it light up with a sense of wonder and excitement at the idea of pursuing his former culinary pursuits.  Bingham is right…being unemployed is an opportunity to create a new direction and to revive lost dreams.

The reason I like this scene so much is because I deal with this dilemma all the time in coaching those who’ve lost a job, are retiring of their own volition, or need to re-enter the work force.  A break in your career’s timeline permits you to start with a fresh slate paving the way to exciting new options before you.  If you saw the movie, you may think Clooney’s comment “this day is an opportunity for you” was unfeeling or even insulting.  But the truth is that having a gap in your life plan gives pause to review what you value, where you want to go and how to get there.

I help my clients unlock the mysteries in finding their new path with a variety of strategies.  Here is a popular exercise that is very insightful.  Begin by recalling your childhood.  Ask yourself the following questions and then write the answers in a journal:
• What you were good at?
• What did your teachers say about you as a student?
• How did you spend your time?
• What made you/your parent’s proud?
• Who was your favorite adult and why?

Review your notes and look for patterns and themes.  Those will serve as clues to guide you to long forgotten interests and passions that now will add light to your day and years to your life. 

If you want to dig deeper into where your interests lie, please email me at Barbara@RetirementPotential.com or call 310.399.1575.

Categories : Retirement Coaching
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Ten Tips For Travel

By Barbara · Comments (0)

When returning home a few years ago, I packed my keys in my suitcase, only to find out at the baggage claim that it did not arrive with me. There I was stuck at the airport with no keys to drive my car or ability to enter my home once I got there! Well since then I have collected a list of “to do’s” to make my travel go more smoothly. Since travel peaks in August, I thought I’d share this list with you. Please send me your favorites travel tips, and I’ll keep a running list to publish now and again. Here’s to stress-less vacations.

10 Tips for Travel:

1. Carry on luggage: Don’t make my mistake; be sure to take your medication and keys with you on board in case your luggage doesn’t arrive with you. The carry-on should include your “must haves” such as: medications, toiletries, emergency contacts and travel documents, passport or other ID, a change of underwear or whatever else you can’t live without.
2. Keep a standard list of travel items on file, listing all the necessities. You can add/delete as the season or occasion indicates, but at least you’ll have a complete record from which to choose.
3. Identify your luggage with some personalized touch. It could be a colorful tag, luggage strap, or even spray paint a small design on the side…that certainly won’t get torn off!
4. Stay hydrated while traveling, especially when you fly. Experts recommend drinking one cup of water for every hour in flight. You can carry a small plastic water bottle with you through security and fill it at a water fountain after you pass through. That saves a few bucks before you even leave!
5. Take short exercise breaks during your flight. Be sure to get up and walk every hour or so to keep the blood circulating in your lower extremities. If you can’t get up, then at least stretch in your seat and move your legs and feet.
6. Decrease the impact of jetlag by curtailing alcoholic beverages, eat light meals only when hungry and drink plenty of water. When the flight departs, begin acclimating to the new time zone by setting your watch in sync with your destination time. When you arrive, avoid taking a nap, which only prolongs jetlag. Instead get some fresh air by taking a walk or choose activities fitting to the new time frame.
7. Out of the country I find many hotels, especially the smaller ones, look alike. I always take hotel stationary or matchbook and drop it in my purse. Then if I need to take a taxi or ask directions, I have the exact name and address with me and no worries about potential language barriers.
8. One pleasure about traveling is escaping from the barrage of daily news. However, I’ve learned that is not such a good idea. Once I missed a flight due to bad weather, which made my trip home nearly unbearable. So I now follow the news, albeit in small doses, but enough to keep abreast of weather and other potential delays. Most airlines offer cell or text alerts that notify you in case of flight changes. Request that information when you book your flight to avoid unexpected hassles.
9. Be mindful of staying healthy as you travel. Be sure to wash your hands frequently and keep a liquid antibacterial handy when needed. Avoid others who appear ill and clean areas in your hotel room known to harbor germs such as the phone, TV remote, etc. If you are not feeling well, don’t leave home without consulting your doctor.
10. If you collect things on your trip and need more room in your suitcase, why not take older clothes with you to shed along the way. I’ve done that and the hotel staff was happy to find a place for my sneakers, jeans or other items. That freed up luggage space for my souvenirs and other newly purchased items.

Bonus: One site I researched suggested that you shower in your underwear. Well, I wouldn’t have thought of that, but it certainly supports “going green!”

No matter if you are jetting off to a far away place, touring the heartland or planning an economic “stay-cation,” I wish you a wonderful and safe vacation. It is a great time to relax and revitalize, so have fun!

Categories : Retirement Coaching
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Tips to Stay Youthful

By Barbara · Comments (0)

Last week at my annual check-up, the doctor’s assistant took my blood pressure and updated my record.  In doing so she asked me, “So how young are you?”  I was struck by her wording because usually I am asked how old I am, not how young!  I thought….do I look old to this employee?  Is she being cute or diplomatic in an attempt to avoid making me feel too old?  After my exam I left the office pondering her question.  I wondered if I’ve stepped over an invisible threshold of being too old to be asked, “How old are you!”  Why haven’t I anticipated my journey across that magical line?

I don’t know if there is one specific answer for these questions as we all age differently.  Some folks maintain lots of spunk while others get old and weary way before their time.  No matter the years, I’d like to think of youth as an age and youthfulness as an attitude!  I consider myself as youthful and aim to live for a long time to come!  But in spite of my optimism, society and in this case the doctor’s assistant would remind me that I am getting older.  Those subtle messages challenge me to hold onto my youthful mindset.  I make a daily effort to deflect the barrage of anti-aging perceptions all around me, especially so prevalent in Southern California.  The media fills the air with images of youth as being good and aging not.  It takes effort to ignore society’s outdated notions about aging and overcome the prejudices. 

In my coaching and Reinventing the Golden Years classes, I discuss age perception and how to maintain a youthful outlook!  Take a look at some of the tips I discuss:

  • A youthful attitude is your best tool.  Age is only a number and your attitude about it can buffer society’s outdated projections about what it means to grow older.
  • Shift your focus from your external physical ability and beauty to value what is inside…your inner wisdom, grace and well earned experience. 
  • Keep your mind active.  Find something new to learn everyday.  Expand your experiences and broaden your world.
  • Respect your body and keep your health optimal.
  • Let go of old baggage that is burdensome and resolve unfinished business with family and friends.
  • Provide service to others….family member, friend, mentor, volunteer.
  • Humor, humor and more humor…..the salve of life.

“If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.” … ~ James A. Garfield ~ 20th US President

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 Have you ever asked yourself…Why do I have to walk on egg shells around my daughter?  Why does my daughter feel criticized when I’m just trying to help?  How can my daughter say I don’t understand her?  Why must I bite my tongue when I see how she parents her children?  These are but a few of the questions I encounter when I coach women who wish to be closer to their adult daughters, but can’t seem to get it right!

Many mothers struggle when communicating with adult family members, but no interaction is as delicate as  with their daughters.  Well into their adulthood, we feel the need to provide and protect our children, as we did when they were little.  We want to spare them any pain and steer them in the right direction.  We have great wisdom to offer and want to justify our wish to participate in their lives.  We tell ourselves that since we’ve been around the block a few times, we are more aware of those dangerous pitfalls.  Besides, who can know and love a child better than a mother?
In spite of our good intentions, nothing can sabotage a mother-daughter relationship faster than a mother whose communication is perceived as critical and controlling.  While we mean no harm, our comments can whisk an adult child to earlier decades where the thought of clinging to our apron strings makes them recoil.  Our adult daughters want to show us that they can make wise choices and lead their own lives, even at the risk of making a mistake.  They want us to be proud of them and acknowledge their competence.
So where do our good intentions fall off track?  Communication is complex.  On the surface we hear the words and yet underneath they convey multiple messages.  A suggestion such as “Wouldn’t you like to try my hairdresser?  She gives a really good hair cut!” can simply be taken as a kind gesture.  Or it can also kick off a wave of bad feelings, perceived criticism and disappointment.  Every communication is sent with a given intention, but it may be received at the other end with another set of interpretations depending upon who we are, our needs and history. 
Perhaps these tips I use when coaching my clients will be helpful:
  1. Think of your statement as double pronged.  There are the words verbatim versus the larger picture…those feelings we attach to those words.  The unspoken feelings are usually the ones that cause the emotionally charged exchanges. 
  2. Take the conversation deeper to reach those underlying issues.  Build a connection to your daughter by clarifying each other’s perspective and address any misleading “tone.” 
  3. Learn the art of offering a sincere apology and acquire the ability to receive a genuine one. 
  4. Some daughters are particularly reliant upon your opinion and will be super sensitive to your remarks.  Trust that you did a good enough job raising your daughter and that she can carry forward!
  5. Remember, our daughters, like us, need love and acceptance far more than they need advice. 
Families are our safety nets.  In them we seek comfort from the very people who potentially wield the most influence over us.  Respect the power of this relationship.  Explore better ways to communicate and seek professional help if you get stuck.  It is well worth the effort, because nothing can be more satisfying or begin to replace a strong mother-daughter relationship.
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You Gotta Have Heart

By Barbara · Comments (0)
Anyone who’s seen the award winning musical Damn Yankees will remember the hopeful Coach Van Buren inspiring his baseball team, the Senators, in the song “You’ve Gotta Have Heart!”  He advises his team that there is more to baseball than talented players.  In regards to the game, he says…. “All you really need is heart.  When the odds are sayin you’ll never win, that’s when the grin should start!”  What better time than February to talk about “having heart!” 
My coaching mantra is that heart is required in every game of life!  This time of the year in particular we celebrate love and that glorious feeling of connection…loving and being loved.  If you have a special someone, consider yourself lucky and cherish all the benefits that come with love!  If on the other hand you are missing a special person in your life, don’t despair or be discouraged from finding that someone.  Be optimistic and proactive as the rewards are numerous and have a long-term positive impact on your life. 
Dr. George Valliant, director of the Harvard Adult Development Study, states in his book Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development that our choices in life can override our genetics, financial status and other factors in determining how we age.  If we choose to develop and maintain relationships, be they intimate or merely plutonic, we realize greater life satisfaction and remain healthier and happier.  Dr. Valliant recommends cultivating new and many friends especially across the generational lines.  Surrounding ourselves with people of all ages keeps us young and vital, offers us a sense of value and broadens our social opportunities.
Many of my women clients, who have a full circle of female friends, tell me it is difficult to find good male companionship.  Statistically women do out number men, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good match waiting for you.  
So…. You’ve gotta have hope! Musn’t sit around and mope. Nuthin’ half as bad as it may appear, wait’ll next year and hope. When your luck is battin’ zero, get your chin up off the floor. Mister (Ms.), you can be a hero. You can open any door.  There’s nothin’ to it, but to do it. You’ve gotta have heart! 
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Chances are…you or someone you know is whistling this familiar tune.  Happy about it or not, those of us age 50+ are faced with a daunting dilemma.  Should we pre-retirees postpone retirement for a few years longer or should those of us already retired return to work to make up for recent financial losses?  With the tumbling stock market and eroding home values, older folks do not have the luxury to wait and see how long or even if the market will fully recover!  We are faced with today’s harsh reality that our savings, once thought to be ample, now may not be enough! 


In a recent survey more than 50% of seniors were either postponing retirement or considering returning to work in hopes of offsetting their losses.  For those seeking a job, it may not be an easy task.  With scores of unemployed of all ages vying for fewer jobs, an older applicant, who may lack up-to-date skills, will have a tough time competing.  Even if they do get a job, it is usually at a fraction of previous wages, requires set hours and may be physically demanding. 


For those who are high spirited and willing to conquer this challenge, there is a new trend emerging!  Baby boomers are turning to home base businesses for their third age income.  In her book Turning Silver into Gold: How to Profit in the New Boomer Marketplace , author and authority on marketing to baby boomers, Mary Furlong coined the phrase “lifestyle business!”  These are businesses owned by sole entrepreneurs, who want to take charge of their destiny and create a business of their own.  They have vim and vigor, want to be their own boss and make executive decisions, set their hours, all while mixing in fun, family, travel and leisure.  It is a perfect blend of lifestyle and business. 


What is appealing about these home based start-ups is that you don’t need a lot of capital!  With a small investment you can continue variations of your previous career utilizing well-seasoned skills or venture into something entirely new and different.  The golden rule is threefold: find some area of need….your niche, make it something you are truly passionate about and have the commitment to get it up and running.  The carrot at the end of this stick is of course, the additional income securing your financial independence!


There are countless websites that will educate and assist you in building your own business as well as those sites, which post jobs geared toward prospective employees age 50+.  If you are one of those headed back to work, here are a few of my favorites for start-ups and job seekers.  For a more complete list click the link below:





Is a nonprofit association working together with the Small Business Association (SBA).  They are dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small businesses.  It is a nationwide organization that is served by business people, who donate their time and expertise as counselors to those seeking help.



Is a program offering group coaching, workshops and support to those 50+ who want their own business


National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) — www.NASE.org  

Is the nation’s leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses providing a broad range of benefits and support to help the smallest businesses succeed.


Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER)www.wiserwomen.org  

Works to provide women with basic financial information aimed at helping them take financial control over their lives and to increase awareness of the structural barriers that prevent women’s adequate participation in the nation’s retirement systems.


Ladies Who Launchwww.ladieswholaunch.com   

Is a site offering business resources and connections to women, who at any age wish to start their own business.  Coming soon is the “late blooming launchers!”





A site offering job opportunities for candidates 40 and over with great companies that value diversity of experience.  They work only with select companies that embrace the unique benefits of the experienced worker.


Experience Works!www.experienceworks.org 

Experience Works helps low-income seniors, with multiple barriers to employment; get the training they need to find good jobs in their local communities.


Dinosaur Exchangewww.dinosaur-exchange.com  

This international site has been set up primarily to act as an intermediary between the retired with the experience, the “Dinosaurs” and the people who need it, the “Dinosaur Hunters.”



Is a site designed to help people reinvent themselves?  They offer resources, examples, stories, inspiration and information to help you make a transition to your next career.


Retirement Jobswww.RetirementJobs.com

Is a site to identify companies most-suited to older workers and match them with active, productive, conscientious, mature adults seeking a job or project that matches their lifestyles?  The AARP.org Job Search Engine is powered by RetirementJobs.com


Workforce50www.workforce50.com  (formerly Senior Job Bank)

Is committed to helping the mature job seekers of America find meaningful employment opportunities.  All jobs are placed by employers specifically interested in staffing from the over-50 workforce. Our employment and education resources cater to mature workers searching for employment, in transition or approaching retirement. 


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