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!