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Mindset – the Path to Growth in Retirement

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by Denis Wuestman

In helping organizations create better and more efficient work models, one thing that I help them focus on is the mindset shift that has to take place for changes to stick. While this sounds a little “soft” what I am referring to is the fundamental belief that there is always a better way to do your work AND, as a direct result, for people to grow and expand their knowledge and skills. If they think and “act” that way, then will succeed.

In the book “Mindset” by Carol S. Dweck, PhD [i] she identifies the benefits of having a “growth mindset”.   In short, people that cultivate this type of mindset (and they can do it!) will continue to get better at what they do.

In thinking about this and seeing it in practice with teams and managers, I continually remind them and myself of the need to have a real purpose for this mindset shift. In short, they have to feel strongly about what they want to accomplish. In my opinion, without this feeling and focus, the mindset shift will not get a real chance to succeed.

Retirement Attitude

So too can this be applied to the way we think about our retirement life. It is during this stage that our attitude and our purpose become important to having a happier and more successful retirement. The stronger the perception of what we expect of retirement life and, how we align our beliefs and attitudes, gives that expectation a real chance of becoming a reality and continuing our growth as a person.

Like in business, mindset shift takes work but can be very rewarding. I find five important elements to help this shift succeed:

  • The “shift” has to be important to you.
  • Take small steps – don’t try and “boil the ocean”. Build momentum.
  • Repetition is your friend – actions become more part of us if we make them habits by doing them over and over again.
  • Be patient. Remember, “if at first you don’t succeed…… “ By the way, you are always learning and growing.
  • Get a thinking partner!   This is where a good coach, whether in business or in retirement, can help you. A friend of mine gave me a gem of a saying : “Got a Gap – get a Partner”.

Partnering to Grow

If you think about your career or parts of your life – there are times when a good partner can make all the difference. When trying to make a mindset shift, whether in business or in retirement, a “Thinking Partner” can make all the difference.   A good coach supports your GROWTH by helping you do the following:

1) Take stock of where your today by looking at your current attitude towards retirement.

2) Identify what you want to achieve to help you close your “gaps”.

3) Set Goals by making this something reasonable and achievable for yourself.

4) Define Options (for example by helping you consider things you might have tried already but didn’t necessarily work out. You likely learned something that you might be able to use to help yourself).

5) Take Action!   While you clearly own your actions, a good coach can help you remove obstacles to taking actions, as long as the end game is important to you.   Without action – your goals are just dreams!

6) Check yourself. Monitor progress, make adjustments and keep going.

So – it is possible to achieve a positive attitude about retirement and grow in the process!   Provided it’s important to you to change: start small, repeat, be patient and look for a good “thinking partner” to help your journey!

What are your experiences and tips to help with your retirement mindset?



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[i] Dweck, Carol PhD. (2006,2016) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Ballantine Books

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