The person who you are on the job may not be the same person you will be when you retire. After spending years in the business world, you have developed certain skills and talents that are matched to the requirements of your career. Some of these abilities are not necessary or even desired once you are no longer working.
The survival instincts and quick reactions typical of corporate ladder climbers can be a bit out of place during our more reasonably paced second act. Aggression, competitiveness, and single-minded attention to success may have gotten you where you were during your career, but they aren’t likely to take you very far in retirement.
Your personality is not limited to who and what you were as an employee. The skills you will need in retirement may even change as you move further into your retirement years. Work on building up the more useful traits while trimming away what will no longer have a place in your life. Here are some habits you should build up before retirement, and a few that you can leave behind:
Don’t be judgmental. If you were in a managerial role, part of your job was to judge the effectiveness and capabilities of those working for you. It was your responsibility to identify problem areas and bring them to the attention of the offending party along with your recommendations for improvement. If you try to employ similar tactics in retirement, you are going to rub a lot of people the wrong way. Before you can get that personal you will need to have established a relationship that allows for such interaction. If you have not earned the right to offer advice, sometimes it is best to keep it to yourself.
Don’t always be in a rush. In the workplace you have deadlines and due dates and often have to hurry. This breakneck speed will be out of place in the slower-paced world of retirement. Pace yourself and take life down a notch. Take a deep breath and realize that deadlines are a thing of the past. You are in control of your days, and if some things take a bit longer than anticipated, so be it.
Don’t be a know-it-all. While on the job, you may have been at the top of your game with people anxiously tuned in to your every word and whim. Perhaps you were the go-to guy who always had the right answer. Unfortunately, that expertise you built over your career may not have a lot of use outside of the business world. Be humble in your interactions, and try to offer an opinion, not an edict.
Don’t rest on past accolades. What made you famous on the job will not always translate well into retired living. Record-breaking performances may be the life blood of the business world, but they have little place in retirement. Realize that if you want to build a new and improved retired you, the focus will have to shift to what you will do from this day forward. There are plenty of things you can do to impress people with your current abilities.
Try new things. You are leaving responsibilities and cares behind as you begin to experience the newfound freedom of retired living. You now have time to do all the things you have always wanted to do. A little variety can spice up retired life and add to the excitement of your day. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again. What do you have to lose?
Get rid of bad habits. Now that you have time in retirement, why not focus on doing away with bad habits you may have acquired over the years? Those around you will be much more inclined to spend time with you, and you might be surprised how the improvements positively impact your own perception of retirement.
Keep learning. Lifelong learning can fit nicely into the life of retirees. You now have the time and freedom to study the subjects that truly interest you. It is no longer about a degree or passing a test. Retirement can be a time to learn about what excites you, with no stress in the mix.
Dave Bernard is the author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, which offers guidelines to discover your personal passion and live a life of purpose. Not yet retired, Dave has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.