Archive for the 'Ask Katie' Category

Dear Katie – I need a change!

Hello – this year I turn 50 and would like to check out of my corporate cubicle. I would like to work part time – but living in Southern California is very expensive. I am not eligible for full retirement for another 12 years. I have worked for the same company for 20 years – and will need to continue to produce income – but the daily grind is starting to take its toll. Appreciate any ideas or suggestions. Thank you. G.G. [note: this is a question I’ve gotten in many times in various forms, this one(seen on AARP board) is consise & specific, I wanted to expand on my response and have posted both here]

First of all good for you!! I can totally understand how you feel, you’ve every right to consider other options and now is the perfect time for, let’s call it a new adventure! 50 that’s young – not too young to quit – young to start something new. Statistics say most of us Boomers will work into our 70’s – that’s another 20 years! I said start, you’ll make that time you’re spending in the cubicle alot easier if you are looking forward to something and planning! Yes, it does take research & work, you’re working hard now and unhappy.

Start with a nice journal, start remembering the things you liked to do, dreams you had. Just start writing notes to yourself, you’ll be surprized what you learn. As you get into it, start a page that lists your values, then one for your strengths (no weaknesses – now is not the time for any discouraging words). Keep this private, the world(friends family) at large can be too quick to tell you what’s wrong, why it’s dumb. So, be sure if you do tell anyone, they are not a negative-nick.

If, changing jobs or going part-time might impact your finances, so be it! Then prepare, if you had to, where would you cut back, what would you do without? Make notes in the journal. Weigh it against the payoff, if, there were a disaster you’d have to do just that. Why wait for a negative reason to be made to adjust & adapt. You do have choices! Oh, there would be consequences but the choice belongs to you!

Yet, I would encourage you NOT to go it alone, you don’t have to. You’re in California , the land of the Career &Life Coach. So there are lots around, yes be careful, start with Google, check out their websites, read their articles they’ll give you a good feel for what they’re like, don’t jump into a relationship with one! Are they willing to answer questions, tell you how they work? Before you talk to one, have 2 others lined up too, so you don’t let the excitment that can come with the first call get you carried away, choose objectively. Look for one that has ideas for, what I call our “third stage.”

Ok, so I’m biased toward the profession but you do have to be a savvy shopper. A Coach should help keep you focused and be an encourager, they can also help you look objectively at where you are now, all your skills, the company your in(more options there then you might be aware of) your goals the lifestyle you want. There are certifications from various organizations, though it’s no guarantee. Some of us have been coaching since long before there were certifications. You want to work with someone who connects to you, who you are.

I’m just saying the investment in a Coach is be much, much less than the cost of the Drs. & drugs you’d need when you wear yourself out. Doing things you love even like, goes a very long way in keeping you, not just happy, but healthy! Two of my favorite books is Max Lucado’s – CURE for the COMMON LIFE, and TOO YOUNG TOO RETIRE by Marika & Howard Stone. Guess I better get off my soap box. Make the most of your day.

Do you identify with our friend? Let’s hear from you.

Remembering Me? Living Beyond the Grief.

Well, I’m back after a week of the latest virus. As I’ve been catching up, I found myself using a particular phrase, “back to the land of the living.” Ironic, since this is the time of the year, the end of May that my husband Jim passed away. My body remembers before the rest of me – I begin to feel down, and little things make me want to cry(more than usual, even) and this ache rises up – I stop and ask myself, “What has gotten in to you Katie!!” Then I answer(yes, it’s only polite) “Oh, Jim, remember? Of course.” He’s now gone, 4-times as long as we were together, so little time. Shouldn’t it be easier? Grief is like that. Apparently gone, then rising again.

So, then I just remember, how we loved just to sit together on the porch & talk & talk, how hard he worked, how much he respected & believed in me, how he liked to hear me sing in the car, how he’d tell me silly stories, when I didn’t think I could sleep, and most of all how much I loved him. Yes, I cry, over all we lost and all we might have had, but I remember too that I would do all over again. At 50 something I don’t know, if a man’s love is a blessing the Lord will send me, now. I do know, that God won’t let me go to waste! I now call those first few years after Jim’s passing, “an extended hiatus” — Webster defines hiatus: n. A gap or interruption in space, time, or discontinuity; a break.
As soon as I first said it I new it was just that, I’m ME again, only better because of everything. Grief is like that too, you learn to live with it and beyond it and you’re stronger. And now I’m back to land of the living, and where there’s work to be done, friendships to be developed, family to be nutured and things to be said!

Meryl Runion in her blog…I just knew there were a hundred things I wish I had said to him while I still had the chance. I just knew something had gone horribly wrong, and I couldn’t change it. I just knew I didn’t ever want to find myself in that kind of darkness again.I had been living in a land of make-believe. I didn’t want to see, but I knew I had to. I hit the wall and my eyes were being forced open. Not that I woke-up all at once in that moment. I was in too much shock to see what was right in front of me all at once.

If you’ve already had your wake-up call, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve already had your wake-up call, you’ve learned that the only way out is to walk straight through things you would rather avoid with an open heart and mind and honest communication. It may be too alarming to face it all at once – after all, that’s why you would rather avoid it. But if you don’t find the truth, it will find you.

If you haven’t had your wake-up call, I hope I can be your wake-up call. It’s a lot easier if you open your eyes and start telling the truth before you and the wall collide.”

Beautifully put and I agree wholeheartedly!

A Tip for Tapping Your Creativity

Creativity is a much needed skill today, whether in your business, your club, your home, your life. We are ALL creative, truly, this is a great way to tap into your own unique creativity.

Children love to play. To them, everything is a game. And if you watch them play, one of their favorite games is “Yes, and…” This is a game where kids fully use their imagination. The game starts with the first kid concocting a scenario. Let’s say, making your fingers into a gun, pointing it at another person and saying, “I’m zapping you with my laser beam.” The next person then says, “Yes, and…” and builds on what the previous person said. So, the second child may say, “yes, and… I am wearing my mirror suit so that it bounces back at you.” And the game continues going back and forth between two or more children. Very simple, and the game can go on for hours.

Interestingly, if you watch adults play this game, they are more likely to respond with “yeah, but” rather than “yes, and.” Instead of contributing back, they shoot down the previous idea. So, if the first adult makes his fingers into a gun, points it at his friend, and says, “I’m zapping you with my laser beam,” the next adult would probably fall over and say, “I’m dead”. Not much of a contribution, and the game would end quite quickly. Adults often see all of the reasons why things won’t work. They put the “NO” in innovation.

So, be a kid, and keep the play alive. Therefore, the next time you have a problem to solve, like inventing the next hot design for a toilet, try this game. Have one person throw out the first idea, and then continue with, “Yes, and…”, building on the previous idea. The key is to answer quickly and avoid thinking too much. Top-of-head answers tend to tap into a part of the brain we don’t use during our normal thinking process. And be sure that your answer is a contribution. It should build on what the previous person said rather than invalidate it.

You will develop many new ideas over the course of play. Many of the ideas will be duds. But don’t worry. Play with it. Have fun. You never know when a real gem will be found. After all, it is only a game. And over time, this will become a normal mode of operating. You will become the master at breakthrough thinking on a regular basis by building on the ideas of others.

Dan Pink says in his book, A Whole New Mind “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of “left brain” dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which “right brain” qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate.”