Crossing the Threshold to Retirement with Confidence

Crossing the Threshold to Retirement with Confidence

If you are a non-profit executive preparing to retire, that milestone step forward can be immensely enriching if well planned. When crossing the threshold to retirement, there are many practicalities to consider — the board and staff, the successor, organizational vulnerabilities, and the like.

As a leader, you may feel there are few places where you could trust processing the joys and anxieties of leaving your work and shifting an identity you’ve had for a long time.

This May, I’m again co-leading a workshop to help you effectively design your legacy and prepare for your leadership departure with confidence. It’s called Thresholds: Leaving Nonprofit Life with Grace and Curiosity.

We facilitated this workshop in January and found it to be very inspiring. Nine Executive Directors gathered, each in the midst of deciding when to transition from their positions. Their time frames varied from as soon as 6 months to a few years out. Yet all were looking for a way to explore, process and plan their departure.  And they did it, together and with purpose, to great satisfaction!

 

‘This group and the time we shared is memorable and so unique. We came together as strangers and, even through Zoom, we connected on a much deeper level. Thank you everyone for your honesty and sharing your personal perspective.’

– Thresholds participant

 

Since everyone understood the unique mix of challenges, struggles and excitement around the decision to leave, it created a wonderful cohort of equals who clicked. We found they had a hunger just to talk, reflect on their legacies, and what they wanted to do after years of professional service — whether it was moving on to something they’ve always wanted to do, or focused on how their personal lives could grow.

And the Thresholds workshop, a welcoming and fertile environment, was just the way to do it.

If you find yourself resonating with this, the workshop might be of interest to you. If so, here’s a preview of how we guide crossing the threshold to retirement.

We take everyone through a five part process over a period of 5 weeks:

1. EVOLUTION OF LEGACY

We cover what brought you to your work, and how different the world is now as you want to move on.  This sets the stage for musing how you want to leave things so they are relevant to these times, and creating a checklist of what needs to be done to get there.

2. TRANSITION PATHWAY

This section has two parts. First, we explore what you don’t want to leave undone, unsaid or undiscovered. Then we move on to practical information about leadership transition: How to work with the board, support the staff and the like.

We make use here of the William Bridges model, which provides a good framework to understand how transition  affects you and also your people. His book, “Transitions,” is a resource I use often in my coaching practice.

3. GETTING IT ALL DONE

In this stage, we address what you may be grappling with, and practice peer to peer coaching – accessing the wisdom and experience of the group to help each other work through transition challenges and concerns.

4. POTPOURRI of QUESTIONS

As everyone goes deeper exploring the transitional process, new questions can emerge around authentic fears and hopes, identifying what you’re willing to let go of, when it is time to go public and how, what the future looks like and how you want to celebrate it!

5. THE WAY FORWARD

A wonderful opening! This is where you’ll envision the future: reclaiming some of the freedoms and possibilities you may have set aside to be so responsible. We talk about opportunities which could include learning new things, and getting time to spend with family, untethered to a phone or schedule.

These steps are empowering! It was amazing to watch participants transform from where they started to looking forward to what’s next, feeling centered and clear. The strength and confidence that came from this cohort had everyone leaving with the unspoken certainty that it is no longer so lonely at the top.

 

‘Our roles can be isolating at times, especially relative to a critical decision such as this.  What a wonderful opportunity to learn from peers reaching a similar point in our careers.’

– Thresholds participant

 

There is so much potential in you for this next evolution! Crossing the threshold to retirement is one of the most important turning points of your adult life. You deserve to invest the thought, time and depth it offers you.

The Thresholds Workshop starts May 6, 2021. If you’d like, sign up today

If you would have questions or want to know more, reach out to me, and let’s talk!

How To Listen To Your Gut

How To Listen To Your Gut

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘It takes guts’ or have been asked: ‘‘What does your gut tell you?” But do you know how to listen to your gut? What is the gut exactly? How do you distinguish what messages come from your gut vs. your mind? If you have ever felt pings from your body at key moments, or had a strong feeling about a situation or person, you have been utilizing signals from what experts are now calling Gut Intelligence (GQ).

"Every single person has Gut Intelligence—intuition. It’s innate, and is just about whether we tap into it or not."

We know of our IQ: our intelligence, education, and training. We rely on it, and put a lot of effort into improving it, in ourselves and in our children. In the last two decades,  value has been placed on our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) — the ability to empathize or understand the needs of others. EQ, (or Heart Intelligence) has begun to reach beyond the obvious social rewards to its application in business, with clients and our audience. 

Today there is much scientific evidence emerging that we have a third “brain,” stemming from the gut, or the enteric nervous system… and it is being called Gut Intelligence (GQ). 

In literal terms, your gut is the pathway from your esophagus through your digestive system, but did you know that it’s got more neurons to fire communications through your body than your brain has?  Besides it’s important work in your digestive system, it is also your inner alarm system – the place your fight or flight triggers come from!  While the brain is busy being distracted by all kinds of data, in a dangerous situation, the gut kicks in. It processes information far faster, releasing signals through the body to the brain, all focused on protecting you!

Jay Pasricha, M.D., director at Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, said in a recent post, “The enteric nervous system doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results.” In a word, it’s instinct. We’ve evolved out of primal days when we needed those skills to stay alive, except for extreme circumstances in modern life like avoiding a car accident. Yet those signals are still in top working order and can now be incredibly empowering to you in your work life. 

Being gutsy has positive connotations, but hints that it’s the quality of a maverick, not the average person. The truth is, every single person has Gut Intelligence. It’s innate, and is just about whether we tap into it or or not. 

It can be hard for those in leadership to put much faith in their intuitive instincts over stats, trends, and deadlines. But it’s as viable a skill as any other you’ve honed. One that out pictures as courage, and can heighten the success of any endeavor, professional or personal. You won’t abandon your data, systems, or protocols by adding your intuition… you enhance it! 

We know those times we’ve ignored our body’s hints and clues. So if your gut  senses and communicates critical things your head may not, how can you become aware of that and trust it? And how do you know when to use your instinct or just note it and wait?

If you want to learn how to listen to your gut and develop trust in your judgement calls, I’m here to help. Let’s talk!

This is the second of a three part series on Intelligence. Read the first, The Role of Heart Intelligence in Leadership, and bookmark this blog to return for the third installation next month!  Even better, sign up to my newsletter for my latest blog posts, inspiring hand-picked resources, and to be the first to hear of my upcoming workshops and coaching opportunities.