The Key to Success: Plan for a Stress-free Retirement

As retirement becomes a new chapter in your life, it is important to approach that lifetime change in a positive way.  One issue that many people fail to consider when planning for their retirement, is the potential stress that can come from a fundamental lifestyle change coupled with an often new environment.

For many, the necessary change of role and identity will be a welcome departure from maybe 40 years of work, but for others, it is the beginning of the experience of financial worries plus the challenge of filling one’s day in a way that brings satisfaction, not boredom. Adjustments to lifestyle will be inevitable as both you and your immediate family learn to adjust to different roles than before.

The vision of not having to go to the office everyday but instead just a lazy day, can seem attractive initially but that soon palls and your brain will need a new challenge to prevent it atrophying!    The skill is to treat your new-found freedom as the start of another phase in your life – an exciting and challenging one in which you have greater control over what you do and where you go.

 The Key to Success

Retirement can bring with it an amazing new journey.  Getting down to writing that book you have always dreamed of, taking up singing lesions, upgrading your computer skills, opening up a new fun business can all form part of this new chapter and of course travelling to those far distant places you have always meant to explore.

There is so much to see and do and that can be part of the problem.  And in some ways that alone can contribute to stress, after finishing full-time work.

Change of Attitude and Mindset

During the years you were working, you had to conform to various rules and time-tables. But now you have no timetable other than your own and that is why you need to be self-motivated and disciplined.  It is all too easy to stay in bed late and watch TV, then wonder what indeed you have achieved during your day.

Moving Home

For many, moving home in order to downsize, becomes a priority.  The children are now in university or working themselves and the existing home is too large.  Wherever you decide to live, life will be different; friends from work may be lost, but new ones gained dependent on your new social activities.

Personal Relationships

There will inevitably be changes in your personal relationships.  No longer do you need to get to the office at 7.30 a.m. every morning – instead you can take an easy breakfast and talk to your husband, or wife. Of course, this in itself poses problems, for a wife who is not used to having her husband at home all day, it can be stressful for both, unless there is some domestic structure in place.  Probably, a schedule should be agreed as to domestic responsibilities, including shopping etc and also financial matters such as the payment of bills and other expenses.

Returning to Work

I see retirement as an exciting opportunity to live life to the full with extra leisure time for hobbies and holidays, and the opportunity to explore personal interests or adult education.  Quite often there is a wish to return to part-time working or you might consider doing some voluntary work and that certainly would ensure you maintain contact with a peer group and meet new friends.  It would also give you a new focus which is often difficult after one retires.

Keeping Healthy

This is your retirement after having worked hard all your life and this is time to really enjoy the rest of the journey.  There will be changes and adjustments along the way – but if you plan properly, look after your health, keep fit and keep interested in the world around you – it can be the most rewarding period of your life. If, however, you fail to do any of these, then retirement can become boring and stressful. And that is a recipe for depression, diabetes, hypertension and a short life expectancy. It’s all up to you. There are choices.

Key Points

  • Maintain a positive attitude and mindset
  • Be disciplined and build a new domestic structure
  • Create goals and objectives and be accountable for them
  • Meet new people and colleagues
  • Get a hobby that you really enjoy
  • Write that book as part of your legacy!
  • Have a lifestyle plan that is financially viable
  • Keep your mind active – mental agility keeps you young.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed?  See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  or check-out our latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training, instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L  and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Connect with Carole on LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/f2onIA 

 A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields.    Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations.  Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling.  Don’t miss this unique event.  Book your place in our audience now!  www.globalwomansummit.org   

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The Key to Success: Make That Job Interview Count

As we all know, there is no such thing these days as a ‘job for life’ and people tend to move their skills to the highest bidder  – which means that at an interview your performance needs to be near perfect to ensure that you make an impact.    

Obviously, you need the required qualifications to meet the job specification but you also need to stand out above the crowd.  You need to make an impact that will be remembered after the interview is over.  As a professional speaker, I talk about the importance of making an impact from the platform to the audience, but this particular presentation can affect your entire future – so you need to appreciate that your performance when being interviewed, must be 110% to get the job you want.

Effective Communications

That means demonstrating that you are knowledgeable about with their business: that you are a team player who will promote the company or organisation with enthusiasm and commitment and that its focus will be your focus. And finally, that you will offer loyalty and bring integrity to all your responsibilities and duties.

Almost certainly, you will be in competition with many others and you will need to ensure that you can offer that ‘added value’ to their business together with your vision and values matching those of the prospective employer.  Therefore, before you go to any interview, you need to become conversant about all aspects of the company; who they are, what they do, what products or services they offer, where they operate, who they employ, what plans they have for expansion, or retraction; and where they are positioned in their field of industry, commerce or public service. The interviewer needs to be able to see immediately that you know not only who you are, but also who they are.

But prior to the interview, it is important to know what you want.  Do you want a job where you are going to make a difference to mankind, a job that is satisfying, a job where you can grow, that is near to your home – or is your interest purely a financial one?

Know your strengths and what you can bring to a prospective employer.  There is no-one  better able to sell you, than you, yourself! And selling is exactly what you need to do. But also be aware of your weaknesses!  Of course, we all have these and it is important to be open and honest about them.  The fact that you are aware of them is important and how they are presented is everything. 

Ask yourself – is this job, going to progress your career?  If you see it as integral to your career path, then it is important to know how it is going to take you along that road and you need to keep your vision in mind to see if it is in line with theirs.

First impressions are very important, so choose your clothes wisely.  Make sure your footwear is clean and polished, as this says a good deal about you, before you even open your mouth.

Stories Pack a Punch

Arrive at the interview early so that you are not stressed and have time to regain composure after your journey.  During the interview, be ready to tell crafted anecdotes that demonstrate your skills and achievements.  Facts are fine but stories are evocative and people remember them far longer than a stream of facts and figures. Always have questions ready for that moment at the end, for if you have no questions, that will indicate a certain lack of confidence, and enthusiasm.

So now you are ready for your interview. Walk into the room, confidently, with your head held high and don’t forget to be friendly and to keep good eye-to-eye contact.  Remember interviews are a two-way conversation in which each one learns about the other. 

So finally, prepare what you are going to say in advance and practice, practice and practice. These points will hopefully hold you in good stead for you to get that job. Good luck and enjoy the secrets of success.

Key points

  1. Do your homework to research the organisation
  2. Interviews are two-way conversations, not an interrogation
  3. Be confident,  knowledgeable and friendly

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed?  See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  or check-out our latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training, instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L  and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Connect with Carole on LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/f2onIA 

 A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields.    Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations.  Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling.  Don’t miss this unique event.  Book your place in our audience now!  www.globalwomansummit.org   

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The Art of Making Good Conversation

Do you ever feel awkward in conversation with others – either at work or at home?  Are there times when you are at a complete loss as what to say next?  Have you ever been accused of interrupting or finishing other people’s sentences for them?  If so, you are not alone.

Being a good conversationalist is an art.  For some, it comes naturally and the words flow without effort but for many others, it is often a challenge.

If I sit back and listen to a discussion that is flowing well, I can actually hear the specific techniques that are being used quite naturally.

These inter-personal skills can be learnt and here are some tips to help you become a better communicator.

Be Genuinely Interested in the Other Person

This is not to say that the conversation should become a cross-examination with you firing questions like a machine-gun, but if you are really interested in the other person, what they have to say and what they do, then this will encourage an empathy and they will ‘open-up’ to you.  It is important to get past this step before you move onto the next.  Don’t forget, it’s much easier for you to be interested in the other person rather than them to become interested in you! 

Ask Meaningful Questions

Ask open questions, ‘what?, ‘why?’, ‘when?’, ‘who?’ and ‘how?’.  These questions will elicit an open response rather than a monosyllabic one e.g. ‘Did you go out last night?, might just bring a  response of ’Yes’.  Instead, open the conversation with ’What did you do last night?’.  That ‘open’ question will bring about a response that you can build-upon and develop further.

Be Specific

Ask ‘how’s life?’ and you might just receive an ‘OK!’, and that can kill a conversation dead.  But ask a specific question ‘Tell me about your new job?’ and that can develop into a whole conversation.

Give Positive Comments

You can always find a reason to say something positive to someone and there is no easier way of getting someone else’s attention than to deliver a compliment or flattering remark. 

Listen Attentively

Active listening is not about listening with just ‘half an ear’.  It’s about giving your full attention to what is being said to you, and not about planning your own next comment.  Active listening is about replying after you have listened to what has been said to you and there’s a big difference.

Use Humour

Humour can be used to ‘break the ice’ with someone you’ve not met before.  However, be aware that what is amusing in one culture, may not be so in another.    Try telling a short personal story, with empathy and a smile.  A genuine smile can be very disarming and a great ‘ice-breaker’.

Build Rapport and Empathy

If you can build rapport with the other party, you are half way home.  Ask any successful salesperson.  They are ones who know what it feels like to walk in the other person’s shoes.  The chances are that if the salesperson communicates a friendly, open attitude, rather than an aggressive one, you’ll be more likely to buy from them because an initial relationship has been established.  And we all like to buy from people who we like.  And it is no different in a conversation.

There are certain people with whom I can have a really good conversation.  The synergy is right, the conversation flows.  It is two-way.  They listen to me and I listen to them.  At the end of the conversation, I feel good, and because of that I always look forward to speaking with them.

So next time, someone tells you that you are not listening to them, don’t retaliate with ‘It’s not me, it’s you!’.  Maybe this is an opportune time to think about improving your skills.   I know it’s easy to say, ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!’  Well, the answer is, you can.  We can all improve our listening skills, at whatever time and at whatever age.

Don’t forget that poor listening skills can reduce personal performance and team productivity!  And if you need some help, then call me.

Key Learning Points

  • Good conversation is an art
  • Inter-personal skills can be learned
  • Communication requires ‘active-listening’

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress presentations and organisational change strategies.

Stressed?  What is stress? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  or check-out our latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training, instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L  and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Connect with Carole on LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/f2onIA 

 A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields.    Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations.  Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling.  Don’t miss this unique event.  Book your place in our audience now!  www.globalwomansummit.org   

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