Building Your Resilience Toolkit

Building your resilience toolkit will help you navigate endings.

In February 2009 my beloved Father passed away.  Within two years of that my second marriage was over, I had moved out of my beautiful home, I had sold my business (for a loss) and I found myself sitting in a workshop on gratefulness.  Only I could not think of anything I was grateful for. I was living in Northern Virginia, away from all my family. I was so depressed, so depleted, my heart was so closed, I could not remember what I liked to do, what made me happy.

It took me a few years to really find my way through. It took baby steps during my transition from being my father’s daughter, a wife, a business owner … to becoming the person I am today.

In my interview with Michelle Fishburne, author of “Who We Are Now, Stories of What Americans Lost and Found During the Covid-19 Pandemic,” we talked about resilience, transitions and strategies for overcoming some of life’s big challenges.

Michelle faced numerous challenges. She had lost her job and could not find another one. Her children had both left home for higher education. Her marriage was over and the lease on her rental was ending.  Michelle made a bold decision to move into her RV and found personal growth through traveling and collecting heartfelt stories from diverse individuals.

You Are Already Resilient

You are already resilient. How do I know that? Because you have survived every rejection, disappointment, loss, hurt, and turn of events in your life—and you figured it out. Sometimes, we just need a little help to remind us that we are resilient, and a roadmap to regain our balance.

I think this definition says it all. Resilience is taking the hard things in our lives and allowing them to make us better. As Michelle did, she turned her personal challenges into a journey of self-discovery and connection.

Here are my thoughts on building your resilience toolkit and adaptability for personal growth.

  1. Allow yourself to be vulnerable

Miranda Lambert has a song about a breakup. The chorus is:

“Go and fix your make up, girl, it’s just a breakup, girl.
Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady.
‘Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart”

“Hide your crazy! Keep it together.” A lot of people fear that their vulnerability will be seen as a weakness. They don’t think about vulnerability as being a part of resilience. Instead, they see resilience as hiding their crazy, keeping it together and moving forward.

It used to be that when I was in a state of despair and worry, I would hibernate. I didn’t want other people to see me like that. I didn’t want to be a burden to other people.

Over time, I have learned that I may need to hibernate for a short period of time. Like an animal that goes off by itself to lick its wounds. But I have also learned that staying isolated only increases the feelings of despair because we keep telling ourselves the same sad stories over and over again.

Vulnerability allows us to be seen. We risk sharing our story, sharing our hurt or fear. Speaking the story lets us hear it also, and sometimes the hearing of it removes some of its power.

Once you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you realize that there are people who care about you and are there to offer encouragement and support.

2. Develop a strong support network.

When I moved to Greenville, I moved in with my sister for a little while. She was my initial support network. I started to search on LinkedIn for local coaches I could connect with. I looked for meetup groups where I might meet people with similar interests.

Having a strong support network is vital to building resilience. When I was struggling to find what I was grateful for, I was feeling very isolated. I was far away from my family, my children were grown and had moved away, my marriage had ended. Yes, I had a few friends, but the isolation was more powerful. Once I settled in Greenville, I was closer to family and I was building new relationships. I felt more supported.

Having this support helps us to recognize that we are not alone. We need people, we need social connections.

 Sometimes professional guidance or support groups are also helpful. Local community centers, recreational classes, or online forums offer plenty of opportunities to engage with others and expand your network of support.

Additionally, building a strong support network is not a one-way street; it is essential to be an active and engaged member of your support system. This means offering the same level of support, empathy, and encouragement to others as you would hope to receive. By providing support to others in their times of need, you can gain invaluable insights into your own capacity for resilience and adaptability. Furthermore, helping others will not only deepen your connections but can also contribute to your own personal growth, as you learn from the experiences and perspectives of those around you. Embrace the power of connection and support as you journey through life, and you will undoubtedly emerge stronger, more resilient, and better equipped to handle whatever transitions come your way.

3. Embrace a growth mindset. Be curious.

Approaching difficult situations with a growth mindset means that you are focusing on the lessons that can be learned from life’s setbacks.

Reflecting on Michelle Fishburne again, at the beginning of 2020, it seemed like her world had fallen to pieces. Her response to this was to become curious. She set out in her RV to find out how Americans were coping with the pandemic. She gave herself a project that she hoped might give her some additional credibility in finding a job. It turned into a book and a self-discovery journey for Michelle. As she said in the interview, she is now “leaning into the uncertainty,” and is figuring out more about who she is and what she wants at this stage in her life.

Leaning in with an open mindset can foster a stronger sense of self, and in turn, better equip us for future challenges.

When faced with setbacks or unexpected challenges, resilience depends on how we reframe our perspective.  What if we chose to look at adversity as a learning opportunity? A growth opportunity? We can use our curiosity to turn lemons into lemonade.

Taryn Marie Stejskal, Ph. D. is the author of The 5 practices of Highly Resilient People. She was interviewed for Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper. In this interview she was asked about bouncing back from adversity.

She answered, “I don’t know when bouncing back became synonymous with being resilient. If anyone has read just one article about neuroplasticity, we know that every experience changes us down to the cellular level by way of our neurons rewiring, reshaping, regrouping, and regenerating in response to our experiences. So why would we ever expect to go back to the way we were, when we know that we are fundamentally and forever changed by life? Resilience is not about staying the same, but instead, about evolving and allowing ourselves to be changed for the better. Instead of seeing resilience as going back, as bouncing back, we get to understand that resilience is about harnessing the wisdom, growth, and perspective we earned amidst adversity and going forward, bouncing forward, incorporating what we learned.”

Don’t you love that? You do not have to stay the same. When you evolve as a result of learning from adversity, you are actually changing your brain at a cellular level.

Building Your Resilience Toolkit

Ultimately, the journey towards developing resilience and adaptability is deeply personal and may look different for each individual. It is important to remember that this process takes time, effort, and patience, and setbacks along the way are normal and even expected. However, by being intentional about learning from adversity and setbacks, and consistently practicing resilience and adaptability, an individual can gradually build their own unique toolkit for overcoming life’s challenges. With a growth mindset and curiosity, vulnerability, and support, it is possible to not only survive but thrive during periods of change, transforming setbacks into opportunities for growth, and adversity into a catalyst for personal development and lasting happiness.

What other steps are you taking towards embracing resilience for personal growth? Comment below and let me know.

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How do you feel about Retirement

Initial Survey Results

As you may remember, I sent out a survey last week asking several questions about retirement. What motivated me to send out this survey was the results of some research out of MIT AgeLab and an article written in Forbes magazine by Dr. Joseph Coughlin. They concluded that men see retirement as a destination, women see retirement as a journey. In other words, men see retirement as endless days of leisure and women view retirement as an opportunity to try new things, learn, be involved.

This idea did not sit right with me. I meet men and women who want to continue living and learning and making a difference well into their 80’s and even 90’s. Maybe it is more a matter of timing. Maybe some men initially want to relax, not make specific plans. Eventually, at least in my experience, this gets boring and they begin to want more in their lives. The challenge they face is not knowing where to start to find that “something more.” Without the definition their careers gave them, many men do not have any idea of who or what they want to be.

Women on the other hand, have been more involved in social relationships outside of work, and so their interests and support systems are typically better developed.

At least that is my speculation. So here is what I want to do. I will share the top level results with you in this blog. The survey is still open so you can continue to add your answers. I am also scheduling follow up calls with several of the people who have responded to dig deeper into their responses. A survey can only tell us so much, a conversation can uncover more.

Once I complete the follow up conversations, I will also report out on what I learned. The survey results are continuing to come in.  This is what I have learned so far.

57% of the respondents said they had already left their jobs and had successfully transitioned.

32% said they were completely confident or somewhat confident that they know what they will do when they do leave their work.

Almost all respondents had ideas for things they wanted to do to stay engaged when they retire.

81% of respondents said they wanted to contribute to their communities.

75% said they wanted to do some traveling.

63% indicated they wanted to be involved in volunteer work.

55% were looking to engage in creative pursuits.

A few people indicated they did not see themselves retiring. They wanted to continue to work part-time, talked about reinventing and starting a new business.

The top 2 answers to the question, “When I retire it will be (or is) important to me:

50% to still feel useful and relevant.

25% to continue to learn and challenge myself.

Only 2% said they wanted to retire and do nothing.

Eighty-four percent (84%) said they strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that learning how others have managed their transition from work to what is next is helpful.

Believing that they have the ability to chose what will be next for them, excites 84% of all respondents, and 84% of respondents felt they had the necessary support network to navigate their transition.

Regarding the question; A recent report from MIT Age Lab found that men view retirement as being more about leisure. Women viewed retirement as finally being “time for me,” and indicated more interest in a variety of endeavors. In your experience, do you agree or disagree with this conclusion?

77% agreed with this statement, with caveats.

Some of the comments I got to this question were:

“There are some men who are making a larger contribution so it’s not all men who want leisure.”

“I somewhat agree. I generally find it difficult to put all men or women into one category.”

“It is true for me, as a woman, but I don’t want to generalize from just my own experience.”

“In my experience, men are more at a loss about what to do; leisure is not their main focus. Women have broader interests and social networks; “me time” might be one thing they want but isn’t necessarily their main driver.”

“True for me, but I know a number of men who continue to explore and pursue new interests.”

“Most of the people I know (men and women) are exploring various models of “retirement”…I don’t know that they have either view.”

I was surprised by the responses to this last question, with the majority of respondents agreeing with the idea. I probably should not have been totally surprised. After all, the study was out of MIT. I have just a small sample of the world that I know.

I will continue to get more clarity from some of the respondents and will share that with you in a week or so.

If you would like to add your thoughts to this survey, please use this link:

More to come…

The Perfect Time to Take a Pause

5 Steps for being in the Neutral Zone

One door closes and another door opens. Are you really ready to walk right into that door? In my experience as a Transition Coach, I would say NO. When one door closes, it is the perfect time to take a pause.

The inclination of transitioning from an ending is to jump right back in. You want to mask the pain, sadness, loss or loneliness that comes from that closed door. You end your career, and immediately start looking for what else will fill your time. A relationship ends and the loneliness is awful, so you immediately start looking for the next relationship. Life transitions can be overwhelming and uncomfortable.

In this article I will help you understand the benefits of the pause and how to apply them to your life.

What does it mean to Take a Pause?

Taking a pause is about stepping away from your normal routine. Maybe it is spending time by a trout stream. Maybe it is reading a book or taking a walk. It is about stepping away from your routine and doing it by yourself.

Because alone time or quiet time can be uncomfortable, we generally fill up time with BUSY in order to avoid the quiet.

I remember many years ago, when I was living in Asheville, a friend suggested to me that we take a weekend completely unplanned. I looked at him in shock. “How is that even possible,” I asked? How do you even know when to get up in the morning or what to do when you get up? At the time I was a full-time student, a single mother and I was just trying to get the finish line or earning my degree. How could I possibly spend a day without a plan?

After a very uncomfortable start, I was able to ease my way through the day. I realized unplanned did not mean doing nothing. It just meant listening to my inner voice and doing what I wanted to do. Starting with coffee! I don’t remember everything about that day, but I do know we got out into nature, sat by a lake, watched the water, looked at clouds. Eventually we got hungry, so we ate. And eventually it stopped being so uncomfortable. It became relaxing and enjoyable. I felt the tension draining from my body. The “monkey mind” of noise about all that had to be done, quieted. It put the HAVE TO DO into perspective.

What do Values have to do with it?

I have found in my coaching that people know what their top values are, BUT they realize that they have been taking them for granted. Other things caught their attention. They were taking care of all the things they thought they HAD TO DO.

We in the Boomer generation are at a time in our lives when we can flip that. I hear all the time that “I am busier now than I ever was when I was working.” The question to ask yourself is, “is the busyness just filling in the space of having quiet time or are you busy with the things that feed your values?”

Think about your values. Is time alone important for you to recharge? Is family and friend time important and something you may not have given the attention that would support that value? Is making a difference one of your top values? Is health and exercise in your top 10 list? How are you living those values?

In my coaching practice all my clients get a copy of William Bridges book, Transitions. In the book, Bridges talks about the three stages of transition; Endings, the Neutral Zone and New Beginnings.

The truth is that most of us have never taken the time in the Neutral Zone. Think about times in the past when you experienced an ending. You left college and most likely went straight into a job. If you were ever laid off, the immediate reaction is to get on the job boards and start networking to find the next job. We never allowed ourselves time to reflect on what we liked about a previous job or what we did not like about the previous job. We never allowed ourselves time to reflect on the type of culture we’d like to find in our next place of work. Now, as you transition to retirement, you have the opportunity to take this time and reflect on what is important. This is what we call the Neutral Zone.

The Neutral Zone is the time between the old life and the new. The time between leaving your career and redefining yourself in your new stage of life. The time between losing a relationship through death or otherwise and redefining yourself as a person without that relationship. The time you spend as a caregiver, and then figuring out who you are once the caregiving is done. The Neutral Zone is a particularly rich time for insights, if you give yourself that time.

Five steps for Being in the Neutral Zone

Recognize the importance of taking a pause or being in the neutral zone.

Understanding the importance of this time can keep you from falling into one of two traps that people – especially people who are upset with the change or transition – may fall into. Let’s call them FAST FORWARD and REVERSE.

Reverse is trying to go back to what was familiar. Your phone is not ringing, and no one is asking your opinion. You start to feel invisible. You try to go back to the “old” company as a consultant.

Or, the loneliness after the loss of a loved one is too much. If you split up, you try to makeup. You want to go back to the way things were. If the loss was due to death, there is no going back to the way things were.

As Thomas Wolfe so wisely said, “You can’t go home again.” Things change. You’ve changed. Trying to go in Reverse will frustrate you and keep you stuck.

Fast Forward has generally been our “go-to” behavior. We don’t like the discomfort of being between jobs, so we jump right back into the job search without taking the time to discover what we liked and didn’t like about the job. We rarely take the time to think about what we might want to do now. Same goes for retirement. People jump right into what they think retirement life should be like and then they find that they are adrift, bored, feeling useless and purposeless. Taking the time in the Neutral Zone allows you to discover what is important to you and what your values are at this time of life.

Find a regular time to be alone for quiet reflection.

I take this time in the morning, with my cup of coffee, a book and my journal. I remember when I was going through my first divorce. I went to a small log cabin for a few days with just some books and a notebook. This was before cell phones, so no one could call me. I knew I wanted to figure out what I was going to do. I realized that I could not figure everything out, but I took the time to know more about myself and what was important to me. I left that cabin more certain about what I needed in my life. I strongly encourage my clients to find some time to be alone. Maybe you don’t have to go away, but spending time with yourself in an environment outside of your normal environment and routine can be very helpful and restorative.

Take the time to write your life story.

Why? Because sometimes it is only when you see where you have been that you can tell where you are heading. Because recalling other life transitions can help you get insight into the changes you are facing now. This is ALWAYS a very powerful exercise for my coaching clients. I give them several tools to use to help them write their life story. The insights they get from this exercise are always meaningful and motivating.

Listen to yourself and discover what you need or want in that moment.

This can be a tough one. We often tell ourselves that this is a selfish activity. We have been taught to think about others and not about what we really want. We offer limiting beliefs to stop ourselves from dreaming about what we really want because we tell ourselves that it is not possible. But what if it is possible? We will never know until we articulate what some of those wants might be. Spending time in the Neutral Zone to listen to our thoughts might shine some light on our dreams.

Allow yourself to feel the discomfort of the pause and process your feelings.

This is the summary step. Recognize the importance of taking a pause. Find a regular time to be alone for quiet reflection. Work on writing your life story. Discover what you really want and need.

It can be uncomfortable to take time in the Neutral Zone and confront any negative emotions that come up. I believe it is necessary for your mental health and personal growth. It provides an opportunity to reflect on yourself and your values, and to examine your feelings more deeply. It also allows you to step back and gain a new perspective on your life and the transitions you are going through. Taking a pause is about being with what matters. It is about living life, not just being busy through life or living up to others’ expectations. Embrace this time, lean into it, listen and you might find that you learn to love what you find in the pause.

I’d love to hear how you apply Taking a Pause to get emotional reflection.
Leave me a comment or drop any questions you want me to answer!

Wendy Green is the host of the Hey, Boomer Podcast and an experienced Transitions Coach who believes we are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. She has a passion for helping her listeners navigate their lives and relationships, offering free resources on her website such as the Vitality Assessment and the Hey, Boomer podcast.

Sign up for a complimentary coaching consult here.

6 More Tips for Harmony in Your Next Chapter

Last week I shared six tips to help you find harmony and fulfillment in the next chapter of your life.

They were:

  • I count my blessings.
  • I dream big.
  • I practice forgiveness.
  • I give generously.
  • I take responsibility.
  • I connect with others.

This week I want to share six more strategies to incorporate in your life. Believe it or not, retirement is hard. It is number 10 on the list of top ten life stressors! It is hard because it involves so much change and loss. Incorporating these tips into your ReEnergized life in your next chapter will put you on the path to meaning, purpose and fulfillment.

  1. I am a life-long learner.  The idea here is believing that we can always learn.  There is a saying that “if you stop learning, you die.”  Dare to live, dare to learn.  If you make a mistake, it is a learning opportunity that keeps you moving forward.
  2. I embrace change. We know that life is a series of changes. Focusing on the present moment and preparing yourself for the next chapter of your life, is a wonderful way to embrace change. Steve Maraboli, in Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience said, “The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.”
  3. I explore my strengths and my interests. First look at some of your strengths you have been using throughout your career. Are there other strengths that you would like to develop now? This is a great time to figure out what else you are good at and what you really want to do. Let that knowledge guide your choices.
  4. I ask for help.  Asking for help takes strength and vulnerability.  It also invites other people into your life, in ways they may have not been there before. The things you may want help with could be as simple as a referral to a new doctor or information about an activity you have not attended. You might ask for insight into a challenging relationship you are having. Everyone likes to help. Ask for help and offer to help. You may find that you like it. 
  5. I recognize opportunities. The transition into retirement is a time when “one door closes, and another door opens.” In fact, many doors may open, if you are looking for opportunities. Stay alert for promising openings. And when you see an opening, have the courage to walk in. Feeling excited about all the possibilities that are available to you now, will keep you motivated and inspired. Your mind is your greatest tool of empowerment and of discouragement.  Focus your mind on opportunities.
  6. I try new things. This is your time to try new things, things that you may have always wanted to do, and put off. Be open to experimentation. Go kayaking. Go on a nature walk. Plan a trip to someplace you have never been.  Bake your own bread or knit a scarf. You will build new memories, make new friends and you may find a new interest.

If you are interested in more insight, download the Vitality Assessment from the landing page at Ready to talk about what’s next? Schedule a complimentary coaching conversation with me at

Six Tips for Harmony in your Next Chapter

Life changes.  That is one thing we can count on. Leaving full-time employment is a major life change.  In fact, on the scale of top stressors, retirement is rated as number 10.  How you experience those changes is directly affected by your thinking, and will directly affect your sense of well-being. That is why I want to share the first Six Tips for Harmony in your Next Chapter.

I read an article today about Life Domain Harmony. The article was disputing the idea of work/life balance because of the many domains in our life. We have personal domains, spiritual domains, physical domains, love domains, family domains, as well as work domains. Finding harmony in these domains is a more humane way of looking at “balance.”

I have put together a list of 12 empowering ideas that can have a positive impact on your well-being and harmony in your life. Rather than share all 12 now, I am going to divide this up into two-weeks’ worth of ideas. I am hoping this gives you the opportunity to focus on one or two of the first six to try this week. Next week you might want to pick a couple more.

Please let me know what you will be thinking about this week.

  1. I count my blessings. List each thing that you have to be grateful for. Remember to include the smaller items, like warm socks or dark chocolate. Expressing your appreciation reminds you of how rich you are.  I try to end my day by thinking about three things I am grateful for that day. Try it!
  2. I dream big. Expand your wish list. Who said we have to stop dreaming as we age?  This is the time to take the limits off your dreams, expand your bucket list.  Just because you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro doesn’t mean you will.  But if you never add it to your wish list, you certainly will never climb.
  3. I practice forgiveness. Lighten your load by clearing away any resentment you’re holding onto from the past. Set reasonable boundaries while you respond with compassion when others disappoint you. Pardon yourself too.
  4. I give generously. Sharing your blessings makes you more powerful and joyful. Volunteer in your community and speak kindly to each person you meet today. Research shows that those who volunteer are less depressed, experience a greater sense of control over their lives, have higher self-esteem and happiness, and tend to live longer.
  5. I take responsibility. You are in charge of your life. Hold yourself accountable for the outcomes you create. Celebrate the fact that you have the power to determine your own future.
  6. I connect with others. Connections as we age are vitality important. Loneliness is a major cause of depression in older people. Surround yourself with loving and encouraging family and friends. Participate actively in your faith community. Join a club with members who share your interests. Take a class.  Volunteer.  Find ways to stay connected and build a sense of community

A positive attitude increases your happiness. Question your old assumptions so you can replace them with a new sense of certainty about yourself and your future. Adopt empowering beliefs that build up your confidence and prepare you for What’s Next.

Start today. You’ll be glad you did!

To schedule a 20 minute complimentary call with me, to explore harmony in your next chapter, use this link>

Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Connecting Generations with Understanding, Respect and Play

I have been thinking a lot about connections between generations. In the past 6 weeks, I have spoken with Elly Katz from Sages and Seekers, Avery and Eleanor, two high school students who founded The Young Women’s Forum at their school, and Sky Bergman, documentary filmmaker of Lives Well Lived and founder of an Intergenerational Project Connecting Generations.

I have also spoken with my grandchildren, ages 18-13, and each of them have different personalities and different outlooks on their lives. What I have realized from all of these conversations is:

  • Not all children have access to older adults.
  • Not all older adults have access to young people.
  • The lack of access breeds the development of stereotypes and lack of understanding between the generations.
  • Lack of understanding feeds into the ageist ideas the generations have about each other.

There are some ways to break down these barriers and build connections between generations. I am going to share four ideas with you. Before I do, let’s talk about why this might be important.

Finding commonality

I have been very fortunate. I had my paternal grandparents in my life for most of my childhood. My parents were active and involved for as long as it was possible. I have had positive role models of aging. Many young people see commercials and cartoons depicting old people as bent over, infirm, grey-haired shells of what they may have once been. No one wants to strive for that kind of old age. Without access to thriving older adults, that is the predominant image the young people see.

I also am fortunate to have regular contact with my 4 grandchildren. I ask them about text protocol (no punctuation necessary). I learn about the latest teen idols. I hear their dreams for their future.

There are many young people that do not have grandparents. Many young peole are not comfortable talking with older adults because they do not feel understood. Loneliness is epidemic among teens and elders alike.

There are many older people living alone. There are many older people who have strained relationships with their families. They hear in the media about teens being obsessed with their devices. They hear that the younger generation has no loyalty to work. They form opinions about young people as different from them, and the result is reverse ageism.

Of course, the stereotypes of ageism are not new. Our parents did not understand our music or boys with long hair. Their parents did not understand the big band music of their era. But when you look deeper, we are all human beings living different life experiences, and we share many things in common. We all want to be loved. We all want to be respected. We all want to be heard. We all want to feel safe.

With that commonality in mind, let’s talk about how we might build some bridges to understand each other.

1. Where and what are the opportunities?

 There are many opportunities for intergenerational connection. Is the cashier at your grocery story or pharmacy a young person? Smile at them. Ask them if they are having a good day. It is the start of a connection.

If you have grandchildren that do not live close by, you could consider scheduling a regular time to call. Try Facetime or Zoom so that you can see each other. I have a friend who reads a bedtime story to her niece on a regular basis, via Facetime.

You could seek out opportunities to volunteer with different generations. Volunteer with Sages and Seekers and become a Sage to a younger person. In 8 weeks, you will build a relationship and increase understanding.

Opportunities to volunteer can be found in many different locations, such as hospitals, schools, and community centers.

Go to where you can download the discussion guide and some questions you might use when you are venturing into connection with a younger or older person.

2. Be open to learning and listening

 It is important to remember that intergenerational connection is not a one-way street. Everyone has something to learn from each other, regardless of age. In order to foster meaningful intergenerational connection, it is important to listen to and appreciate the perspectives of different generations, while also sharing your own experiences and thoughts. Eleanor and Avery, the high school students, told me that their biggest desire was to be heard. They wanted the adults around them to listen to their thoughts, feelings, concerns and fears.

Be mindful and present when in conversation with different generations and be open to the perspectives they have to offer. We all have life experiences that have shaped us.

As Boomers we experienced the assassination of two Kennedy’s, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the death of other civil rights leaders. We lived through the Vietnam War.

Gen Z, those ages 11 – 23, have lived through Covid isolation, rising gun violence, an insurrection on our Capital, the fears around climate change.

We all have experiences that shape us, and we need to be open to listening to people from other generations without judgement. Listen with empathy and a desire to understand.

3. Find inspiration from family members and others

Sky Bergman was inspired by her 103-year-old grandmother. I was inspired by my parents who stayed active and pursued their goals even in their later years. Sky is also being inspired by the 14 other social entrepreneurs who are part of the CoGenerate Innovation Fellowship. This fellowship brings together older and younger people to address issues such as climate change and social isolation.

Finding inspiration from family members and others is a way to build bonds between generations. This can go both ways. We normally look at our elders as role models. What would it be like for you to look at your children or grandchildren as inspiration? They are navigating work, school, responsibilities, fears and a constant stream of data unlike anything that we dealt with. How do they do it? Why not let them know that you respect them and admire them?

It might seem funny to use the word inspiration in a step to build connection between generations. It really makes sense. We want to be around people that inspire us, where we can feel uplifted. Connecting with family with authenticity will open doors you never knew existed.

We see what we look for. Look for inspiration in family and friends.

4. Play

I think that sometimes we are too serious. There are many serious issues that are crying for us to pay attention. As parents or grandparents, we get into the habit of asking questions like, “how is your job?” “how is school?”

Those may be important questions, but they don’t build bonds. The questions that open a conversation build bonds. Last night I was out to dinner with my grandkids and their parents. I asked them, “what are you most proud of in your life?” Some of their answers were silly and some were sincere. Listening without judgement, laughing at the silly answers and nodding understanding at the sincere answers just felt right. My grandson “charmed” us with corny jokes and a very difficult riddle. It was fun and light, and everyone felt comfortable.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

I want to end with one last quote. This sums up what we all want. Thank you, Mr. Rogers.

“Whether we’re a preschooler or a young teen, a graduating college senior or a retired person, we human beings all want to know that we’re acceptable, that our being alive somehow makes a difference in the lives of others.”

― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

I’d love to hear how you apply some of these ideas to get to connect with other generations.

Leave me a comment on how it went for you or drop any questions you want me to answer!

Five Steps to Purpose and Meaning

I woke up this morning in pain, feeling exhausted. Having purpose and meaning is what has kept me going these past few months, in spite of the pain.

I have gone through a series of tests and nothing significant has shown up. So, this morning, I ordered a new mattress. Maybe that will be the answer.

One of the experiences I appreciated was a Joy Fuel session with Anna Hall, founder of the Purpose Equation. In my Joy Fuel session, I realized that I get the fuel that feeds my purpose through engaging authentically and intimately with people; engaging in natural settings, and creating an environment full of calm, sensory experiences. My diffuser emitting the fragrance of cloves and tangerine in my office helps set the mood every day. Also music. I feel much better when there is music playing.

Purpose is how we give and get meaning and joy every day.

Anna explained that you need to have some fuel inside of you so that you have the energy to give and get that meaning every day.

The question that I hear often is, “how do I find my purpose, or do I even have a purpose?” Many of us found purpose through the work we did. Without the recognition and responsibility of the full-time career, it is not always evident where we will find meaning and purpose in our lives.

In my coaching program, “What’s Next?” I offer many tools to help people like you find the meaning and purpose in the next phase of life.

Five steps to finding purpose and meaning

Here are 5 suggestions I would make for identifying your purpose and finding meaning in your life.

  1. Think about when you have felt the most satisfied, when you experienced joy.
  2. Analyze your values. Where are they showing up in your life?
  3. Examine your life experiences and look for patterns.
  4. Try on different ideas and opportunities.
  5. Trust the process

Think about when you have felt the most satisfied, when you experienced joy.

Identifying what brings you joy is a key step in finding your purpose. Joy is a feeling of pleasure, contentment, and delight, and it is important to recognize what brings you joy in order to better understand yourself and find your purpose. Joy can be found in many activities, such as engaging in hobbies or spending time with family and friends. It can also come from simple everyday moments, like taking a walk or enjoying that first cup of morning coffee.

One way to identify what brings you joy is to take the time to reflect on the moments in your life that make you feel fulfilled and the most gratified.

  • Think about what activities or experiences bring you the most joy and why.
  • Consider the things that make you smile, laugh, or feel a sense of peace and contentment.
  • Write down your thoughts and feelings about these moments and use them to develop a list of activities that bring you joy. This list can be used as a source of inspiration when you are feeling low or unmotivated. Remember, joy is personal and unique to each of us, so don’t be afraid to explore and experiment in order to find what brings you joy.

Analyze your values. Where are they showing up in your life?

Values are principles people live by. There are two types of values: Fear-based and conscious-based values. Values based on fear are the ones that cause us to take action to avoid something. They are the “have-to” values or “you-should” values.

Conscious values allow people to take positive actions. They are the “want to” and “choose to” values.

Before you get to creating the life that will bring you joy, meaning and fulfillment, it is important to think about your Core Values. These may have changed slightly since you retired, but many of your core values are always there, although they may not have been a part of your everyday life for a while.

You can find lists of values if you do an internet search. This will help you get started. Put some time and thought into this. What values are you honoring when you feel really good about something you are doing or have done? What values were you ignoring when you were upset with actions or choices you made or are making?

Examine your life experiences and look for patterns.

The essence of this is that we’re all telling ourselves a story about who we are. And many of us are not aware of what that story is. Sometimes, that story is filled with words that are not uplifting or the fears are prominent. Your story may be based on the belief “I should do this.”

Initially I encourage my clients to write their life story, what were their successes, their failures? Who had the most influence in their life? What did they enjoy, and what did they feel forced to do. I tell them to spend as much time as they need to really get a clear picture.

Next, I urge my clients to write a vision using all the things they learned about themselves that they want to keep. We all have so many things that are right with us. Our values, our strengths, what brings us joy, how we help others. Weaving those into a narrative, a vision for this next life phase, is energizing. It brings clarity to the things that will bring you meaning and purpose.  

Try on different ideas and opportunities.

With the clarity that comes from reviewing your life story, come new thoughts and possibilities.  As we get older, we naturally start focusing on things that really matter to us, things that fill us up. Looking over your values, your vision, where you get joy, start to write down some ways you can live the life you want.

Some of my clients have decided to pursue arts, some to nurture their own creativity. Others to develop programs to share with kids.

One found meaning as a Red Cross emergency volunteer. Another has decided she wants to keep working on a program that empowers women.

Each person pursued these activities with a sense of curiosity. Baby steps, try it out. See how it feels. Remember, you are stretching a comfort zone so it may feel a little bit uncomfortable at first. Does it honor your values? Does it fit your vision? Is it fulfilling? You will know when it is right for you.

Trust the process.

What does it mean to “trust the process?” Trusting the process means showing up with curiosity to do the work you know needs to be done. It means being willing to explore new ideas and opportunities to find what feels right for you. It means you keep doing these things even when you feel like you aren’t finding answers as quickly as you would like to.


For more in-depth work on Purpose, check out Anna Hall at The Purpose Equation.

For one-on-one coaching to dive into creating a fulfilling and energizing plan for What’s Next, contact me a

Leave me a comment, share your thoughts or questions! I love to hear from you.

Reinventing Yourself: A Five Step Process

What happens when you leave your career and your professional identity after 40-50 years in the corporate world? Golf, travel, grandkids are all great, but they won’t fill the 12-16 waking hours of each day. Reinventing yourself may be your next step.

Many of us need and want to feel like we still matter. We want to feel like we are being useful in the time we have left. Here is a five step process that can help you find your way on the reinvention journey

Why is it important to have a process to reinvent yourself?

Reinvention can feel overwhelming. It can be scary. Some people may try a few things and then give up. Some people don’t have any idea where to begin.

If you are like me, having a process helps you stay focused. It makes sense out of something that could feel uncomfortable. It puts structure around the journey.

Additionally, using steps to reinvent yourself can provide you with the opportunity to explore new roles, ideas and hobbies you might be interested in. The steps in the process of reinvention may include a life review, looking at new life theme options, creating some action plans.

Here are some steps you may find useful to follow:

1. Reflect on what was important to you when you were young.

2. Listen to your inner wisdom to help you find your purpose.

3. Take action and experiment with possibilities.

4. Make yourself a priority and focus on what you want to do.

5. Seek out opportunities to be of service to others.

Reflect on what was important to you when you were young.

Reflecting on what was important to you when you were young can be a great way to help you uncover your purpose in this next stage of life. When reflecting on your past, think about the passions, interests, and dreams that may have been put on hold due to various reasons. This is where reflecting on your life story could be helpful.

A great exercise to try is to answer questions such as  “What have I always loved to do?”,  “What brought me joy when I was younger?”, “What was I good at?” and “What would I do if no one paid me?”. Answering these questions can help you uncover your passions and dreams and can lead you to a purpose that you may have never considered before.

Reflecting on your past can also help you remember the things that made you feel alive, the things that made you feel inspired and excited. It can help you tap into your creativity and uncover opportunities that may have been forgotten. It can enable you to reconnect with your strengths and talents and discover new ways of using them.

The path of reinvention is not linear. It can be a winding road, filled with ups and downs. The stage of reinvention is a time to be open to change and to be willing to take risks and try new things. It is important to be patient with yourself and remember that life is a journey, and that you are constantly evolving. Taking the time to reflect on your past can help you uncover your passions and interests and can help you take your next step in the journey of reinvention.

Listen to your inner wisdom to help you find your meaning.

The next step in the reinvention process is to listen to your inner wisdom. This can be done by going within and getting quiet, allowing yourself to get in tune with your true self and what you really want.

Journaling can be a great tool for tapping into your inner wisdom and uncovering your purpose. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you reflect on what you want out of life, and what it is that truly brings you joy. Ask yourself questions like, “What would make me happy?” and “What are my values and what is important to me now?”. Taking the time to journal and reflect on your thoughts and feelings can help you gain clarity on what your purpose is and what you need to do to pursue it.

Don’t critique what you write, just let it flow. As ideas come to you, keep writing, even if they sound crazy or intimidating. This is your opportunity to explore different ideas and possibilities. Reinvention is a time of exploration. You will figure out the how later.

Another way to get in touch with your inner wisdom is to meditate or practice mindfulness. Meditation and mindfulness will bring you a sense of calm and will help you to become aware of your thoughts and feelings. Remember they call this a practice. I meditate every day, and thoughts are constantly popping into my mind. That’s ok. There are several apps you can download to help you. I use headspace.

Take action and experiment with possibilities.

The third step in the reinvention process is to take action and experiment with possibilities. This is an important part of any reinvention. You may find this step uncomfortable. Change can be uncomfortable.

This is a time to tap into your curiosity. Ask yourself questions like, “What if I volunteered to do <insert action>? How would I feel about offering that help?” Or ask yourself, “I always wanted to do X, how will I feel if I never try?” Another question would be “What legacy do I want to leave? What difference do I want to have made?”

Taking action means setting goals and taking small steps towards those goals. Experimenting with possibilities means continuing to take action even when it feels difficult. It means staying curious. It means having the courage to try something new. It can be intimidating to take a leap of faith and try something that you’ve never done before. However, taking risks can be incredibly rewarding and can open up many new opportunities.

Reinventing yourself does not mean that you have to completely abandon your current life, but rather to be open to trying new things and taking new approaches.

Make yourself a priority and focus on what you want to do.

Making yourself a priority and focusing on what you want to do is essential for successful reinvention. All of the above steps are ways to explore who you are now and who you want to be.

Many of your roles have been defined by others’ expectations of you. The work you did may have been satisfying and it may have been draining. Either way, in this stage of life, it is not about the ‘shoulds’ that have been imposed on you. It is about finding what you want to do to feel useful, meaningful and to feel like you are living on purpose.

Lastly, make sure you are taking care of yourself by getting enough rest, eating healthy, and exercising. This will help you stay energized and motivated on your path to reinvention.

Seek out opportunities to be of service to others.

The final step in this reinvention process is to seek out opportunities to be of service to others. Volunteering and being of service to others is a great way to tap into your own purpose. You can serve in whatever way is meaningful to you, whether it is through direct service, working on a nonprofit board, or helping out in your community. Being of service to others can help you gain new skills and experiences that can serve you in your current and future endeavors.

Being of service to others can also help you build meaningful relationships. It can help you connect with others in your communities who are also seeking to make a difference. Through these relationships, you can gain support and mutual encouragement to continue working to make a difference in the world.

Finally, being of service to others can help you experience more joy and satisfaction in your life. By doing something for someone else with no expectation of reward, you can find a sense of deep fulfillment that brings you joy and peace. In addition, when you are of service to others, you can gain a greater sense of self-worth, as you are doing something meaningful and worthwhile.

I’d love to hear how you apply The Reinvention Process to find meaning and purpose in your next stage of life.

Leave me a comment on how it went for you or drop any questions you want me to answer! If you’d like to talk about reinvention, schedule some time with me using my Calendly link.

What makes a good friend?

Are you a good friend?

In the hierarchy of relationships, friendships are at the bottom, at least once we are adults. Romantic partners, parents, children—all these come first.

As children, our friends are classmates, neighbors, kids in scouts or on our sport teams. They are friends of convenience. As young children and adolescents we are still discovering our identity, and learning what it means to share, to be vulnerable, to be empathetic. Our friendships help us do that.

By young adulthood, people are usually a little more secure in themselves and they are more likely to seek out friends who share their values on the important things, and let the little things be. We find these friends at our universities or early jobs. We are becoming more discerning about who we want to spend our time with.

As we enter middle age, we tend to have more demands on our time, many of them more pressing than friendship. After all, it’s easier to put off catching up with a friend than it is to skip your kid’s performance or an important business trip. In middle age we tend to find that friendships are developed through work or with parents of our kids’ friends.

As older adults, we may find that we are pickier about who we want to spend time with. Even when we retire, we tend to guard the time we have and how we want to use it. We want to spend time with people that we enjoy, that fill us up. As a result, we may find that we let go of older friendships. We tend to want a few “good friends” at this stage of our lives.  

The importance of friendships

The Mayo Clinic reports that good friends are beneficial for our health. Friends can help us celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent isolation and loneliness and give us a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:

  • Increase our sense of belonging and purpose.
  • Boost our happiness and reduce our stress.
  • Improve our self-confidence and self-worth.
  • Help us cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one.
  • Encourage us to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise.

It is said that a common regret of individuals on their deathbed is the regret of “not staying in touch with friends”.

Friends are chosen – Families are given

Friendships are unique relationships because unlike family relationships, we choose to enter into them. With families we don’t get to choose. We are born into our families, married into our families or even adopted into our families.

Friends are chosen. That also means that we tend to assume that friendships don’t need the same attention that families do. We feel obligations to get together with families for celebrations and for loss. We are there if someone gets sick and needs us.

We may go weeks or even months without speaking with a friend, and they will still be our friend. It is unlikely that we would go weeks or months without speaking to a spouse, parent or sibling. (of course, there are exceptions)

In this digital world of ours, it’s harder to maintain or make meaningful relationships. There is so much noise and distraction in social media and on our phones. When we do take the time to step away and connect, we gravitate to the friends that fill us, that will be there for us in good times and bad.

Dr Robert Holden, director of The Happiness Project and Happiness NOW! says: “21st century friendships are soul friendships. They are about supporting each other to live a life that is full of purpose, courage and creativity.”

What makes a good friend?

“I’ve listened to someone as young as 14 and someone as old as 100 talk about their close friends, and there are three expectations of a close friend that I hear people describing and valuing across the entire life course,” says William Rawlins, the Stocker Professor of Interpersonal Communication at Ohio University. “Somebody to talk to, someone to depend on, and someone to enjoy.” These expectations remain the same throughout a lifetime.

Watch this video of young children being asked “what makes a good friend?” They say things like:

  • They always hug me
  • Picks you up when you fall
  • Makes you laugh
  • Helps you and is kind
  • Accept who you are

Karin Sieger, a psychotherapist said that true friendships “are based on unconditional concern for the other. We do things for the other out of friendship not in order to gain anything.”

True friendship means that sometimes you have to be vulnerable, ask for help, and let the love in.”

How can we nurture our friendships?

  • Be kind.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Open up, be vulnerable
  • Show that you can be trusted.
  • Make yourself available. 

Are you a good friend?

Avoiding the Slip: Reduce your risk of falling

I fell the other day! All because I wanted to go outside for a healthy walk on a warm winter day.

Well, that is not exactly the reason I fell. I fell because I was trying to be a good person.

Wait, that is not exactly right either. Here is what really happened. There is a narrow path between my neighborhood and the park where I was going to walk. I was heading up the path and an older couple was coming down the path. There was not room for all of us on the path, so I stepped off, onto the wet leaves to let them pass. As soon as my foot hit the wet leaves, I felt it start to slide. As much as I tried, I was unable to regain my balance and down I went. Stopped myself with my left hand and my right knee.

Image by Teresia Moore

When I looked up, the faces of the older couple showed such concern, I knew that my fall had been less than graceful. I was able to get myself up, and feeling completely embarrassed, I told them I was ok and continued on to the park.

Before I got too far, I stopped to pull up my pant leg and check out my knee. It was scrapped but not bleeding. That was good. I was determined to get my walk in. My knee was sore so I walked a bit more slowly than usual, but I did my three laps.

By the time I got home my knee was throbbing. I put an ice pack on it and took some Tylenol. Every time I got up or tried to change position, I felt my knee stiffening up. I treated it several more times with an ice pack, hoping to keep the swelling down and by the morning, I did feel much better.

My fall got me to thinking about how in life we fall and get back up. I think that is a discussion for another blog. For this discussion, I want to focus on the greater risks we face as we get older, when it comes to falls.

According to the CDC

  • One out of 5 falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury.
  • Each year, 3 million older adults are treated in ERs for fall injuries.
  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury.

You know me, I do not take on the mindset of being old. I also embrace the wisdom of getting older and recognize that we don’t “bounce” like we used to. So, I continued my research.

Risk factors that could contribute to falls.

  • Lower body weakness
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Difficulties with walking and balance
  • Some medicines can affect balance.
  • Vision problems
  • Foot pain or poor footwear
  • Slippery, wet surfaces
  • Home hazards, such as throw rugs or other items that can be tripped over.

Please don’t just scan this list. Think about it as you read down the list. Here is my personal analysis of each item and what I can do about it. I certainly do not want to fall again!

Lower body weakness: I do a lot of sitting in front of the computer and my left leg has been giving me trouble for several years. I have gone the PT route, and I do try to go out for regular walks. I am now going through some other tests to determine the cause of the leg pain so I can figure out what to do about it.

I recently had a physical and my Vitamin D levels are good. I also take a supplement so that the level stays good.

I am not taking any medications that cause dizziness or balance issues and my vison is ok.

However, balance has always been an issue for me. Even as a young child, I couldn’t roller skate or water ski. And I was always falling off my bike. I must have been absent when they were handing out the coordination genes. I have rarely let this stop me though. I love hiking and although I may hike more cautiously now, I still love being out in the woods.

Slippery, wet surfaces, like the wet leaves I stepped onto. Wet bathroom floors, slippery sidewalks, icy sidewalks, all of these are risk factors. In the future, I will think about it before I step out onto slippery leaves or other slippery surfaces. Testing it first makes a lot of sense.

That leaves the home hazards. I have been aware for a while that I needed to replace the rugs in my bathroom. I have almost tripped on them several times. As a result of my fall, I ordered new rugs from Amazon that have nonskid linings. They should be here today. My other home hazard is my sweet cat, Pepper. Sometimes she gets a wild hair and will speed run from one end of the house to the other. If I am in the way, she does not stop. I stop and move out of her way. Otherwise, I would definitely get tripped up.

So, what have I learned from this fall?

Falls happen when we least expect it. Could my fall have been prevented? As I said, I could have checked to see how slippery the leaves were before stepping onto them. The thought never crossed my mind. I suspect it will next time.

I also realize that I am lucky to have not been more seriously hurt. As a kid or even as a young adult, we would fall, get a bandage, and keep going. As I am approaching 70 this year, I realize that I need to be more careful and that a bandage will not always be the fix. Being prepared and doing what we can to mitigate our risks is part of being wiser.

Your Turn

I hope to not become one of the fall statistics I mentioned earlier. I hope you are not one of the fall statistics either. Remember, we are never too old to dream a new dream or set a new goal. How about setting a goal to reduce your risk of falls? Which of the risk factors could you take some action on?

What Happens in a Community Banter?

“Tell us your name, where you are living and a movie that scared you when you were young.”

That is the icebreaker we used for the first Hey, Boomer Banter. We had people joining us from New Hampshire, Connecticut, Georgia, South Carolina, California, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida. And the scary movies?

  • The Blog
  • The Birds
  • The Exorcist
  • House of 13 Ghosts
  • Last House on the Left
  • Dracula
  • Halloween (the first one)
  • The Wizard of Oz (the flying monkeys)
  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • Psycho
  • Chainsaw Massacre

These folks knew their scary movies!

A banter is a playful and friendly exchange, and we certainly had that. We also expanded the definition a bit to include a place to build community and share some ideas. There was laughter, there was reflection, there was connection, and there was listening and encouragement.

The question about scary movies was not just a random question. It got people thinking about things that are scary, which led us into our topic of

Bravery vs Fear (False Evidence Appearing Real)

What does it mean to be brave? What does it mean to Face a Fear? Are they the same thing or different? This was the discussion members of the Banter took into their breakout rooms to think about.

We all agreed that these two ideas are related. Some of the other nuances were:

  • True bravery exists when you overcome a genuine fear and do it anyway.
  • Do we put as much thought into a brave action, as we do when we face a fear?
  • Some thought that facing a fear was more cognitive. You know there is something you want to do that will help you, but you are not comfortable with it (like cold calling or public speaking), so you make a choice to overcome the fear or to work through it.
  • Time element involved. For instance, running into a burning building to save someone would happen very quickly. Mulling over an action to face your fear may even get in your way of taking the action.
  • Facing a fear takes us through an analytical process. What are the risks, benefits, rewards of acting? Bravery is more of an impulsive act. You just do it before taking time to analyze potential outcomes.

With this knowledge, members were next asked to think about what advice they would give to their younger self about facing a fear they might have had. People were really willing to play along with this question. Here are some of the answers.

  • Don’t worry so much about what other people think.
  • Fear and anxiety feel exactly the same in your body as excitement feels. Reframe fear to excitement.
  • Have confidence. Believe in myself. Study music
  • Take more risks, try new things, worry less.
  • If you do what you fear, you’ll gain confidence.
  • Fear is ok, it should not be thought of as bad.
  • Find my voice and speak it loudly with confidence.

Let me leave you with this thought. The things you would tell your younger self, it is not too late to take action on these things now. Baby step actions to build confidence. We are here to support you.

With that in mind, what advice would you give your younger self?

Next month the Banter will be on Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 6:30-7:30pm. In February we will talk about friendships. Past friendships, making new friendships, what it takes to be a friend, what you want from a friend.

Join us as we banter about strategies that have worked, and some that have not, when it comes to friendship. Use this link to join.

Battle of Heart and Head

What does boxing have to do with your head and your heart? This is an allegory about the battle I was having between my head and my heart.

Unlike most of you who were busy making plans for Christmas, I was planning on all the organizing I was going to do in my office, and making plans for Hey, Boomer for the coming year. I was excited about all that I was going to get done because I was not having company for the holiday, and I had very few obligations. I could picture the clean desk I would sit down at, and it filled me with joy.

I also realized that over the past several months, I have been neglecting my connections because I have been so busy working. This realization is what led me to choose Connect as my word of the year.

This is where the “fight” started.

Picture this…

There is a boxing ring.  The announcer begins to speak.

“In this corner is the Focused Boomer! She is dressed in the orange and tans of the Hey, Boomer brand. Her strategy is to go through folders and decide what to keep and what to let go of. Next she plans to conquer all the upstairs paperwork, writings and papers from her parents. Finally, in her corner are her accountability partners, looking for her to present the Hey, Boomer goals for next year.”

“In the other corner is the Compassionate Connector, looking nervous but secure. The strategy on this side is to prioritize family time, friend time, and new connection time. The action required is to step away from the work to make time to connect. The intention is to also connect professionally and to look for ways to collaborate.  The Compassionate Connector’s sparing partner is constantly throwing in jabs of work to distract her from connecting.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is an epic battle between head and heart.”

“Focused Boomer is the dominant fighter in this battle today. She has a vision of where she wants to go and a strong desire to turn that vision into a reality. She also has the fortitude to stay focused. She is a planner, believing that without a plan there would be sheer chaos and overwhelm. This reliance on planning is where Focused Boomer is vulnerable, because when something disrupts/interrupts her plan, she falls into overwhelm.”

“Compassionate Connector was stronger a few years ago … before Covid. She could work a room, speak with anyone. She was President of her Rotary Club two times, where she met people regularly and enjoyed the connections. During these years, Compassionate Connector was very strong. But since Covid, she has stopped practicing. Well, not completely. Occasionally she would connect using Zoom, but over time she found that work was filling the void of lost connections. Her heart was growing weaker.”

“There’s the bell, and the opponents are moving to the center of the ring.

Connector moves in with a smile, hand out. Boomer pushes her aside and walks away as though on a mission. Connector tries to move in again, a bit more timidly. Again, Boomer barely sees her. Just keeps moving with intention around the ring. Connector begins to walk next to Boomer. She starts to sing a walking song. She just wants Boomer to slow down and notice her. It seems to be working. The pace of the walk is slowing down. Boomer looks over at Connector with some sense of recognition. Slowly, Focused Boomer realizes that at one time Compassionate Connector was a friend. They balanced each other out.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, I believe this fight is over. Focused Boomer and Compassionate Connector have agreed to provide balance for each other. 

Focused Boomer knows that at times her bullying side may come out. She does not mean to hurt Compassionate Connector. Now that she is aware of this, she is going to work on appreciating what Compassionate Connector brings to the table. 

And Compassionate Connector realizes that at times she can be too comfortable being by herself. She is going to work with Focused Boomer to get out more and feel the heart connections with friends and family. She will also work with Focused Boomer to do the network schmooze when it makes sense.”

I wish I could end this by saying, “they all lived happily ever after.” We all know that is not true. We will always have competing sides of our personality battling with each other.  I hope when these come up for you, you can find ways to appreciate what each part of you brings to the whole.

Live with passion, live with courage and live with relevance.

Unveiling my Word for 2023

What is Your Word for 2023. Here is my review of my words from last year and the word I have chosen for 2023.

I have been thinking about how I did “living” the words I chose for 2022. I posted the words on my bulletin board so I would be regularly reminded of them.


MASTERY was one of my words. This is what I wrote about what I wanted to accomplish with Mastery.

I am working to master the art and business of podcasting and broadcasting, as well as the social media platforms that will help me grow and market the business.

I would give myself a C on this. I am working to master the art and business of podcasting, but I have by no means mastered it. I have made significant progress and it is a learning journey that really has no end. There will always be something to learn. Although Mastery will not be my word for 2023, I will continue to work on this.

As far as mastering the social media platforms, I am still working on that. I feel pretty good about my Facebook posts. I am changing up my strategy on LinkedIn and I continue to learn about Instagram. This is possibly an area where I could use some help. It takes a lot of time. The challenge is finding someone who can write in my voice for posts (not long form messages) and who would be loyal to the Hey, Boomer brand.


My other word for 2022 was ACCEPTANCE. This is what I wrote about what I wanted to do with Acceptance.

As part of my growth for this year, I will practice accepting people (friends and family) where they are (not judging) and not try to change them.

That is a tough one for me to say “out loud” to all of you. My role as a coach is not to change my clients. My role as a coach is to help the client find their own answers and believe that they know what is best for them. The truth is, I can do this very well with my clients. I can practice “detached involvement,” which means that I can empathize and encourage and present thoughtful questions without becoming attached to the outcome.

This is more challenging with personal relationships, which is why I chose the word ACCEPTANCE for 2022. I was hyper aware of this word all year and whenever I found myself not being accepting, I would reflect on what had happened and how I could do better next time. I think I have done pretty good on my practice of acceptance. I also think this will be an ongoing journey of growth for me. Probably means looking at myself some more too and asking where I may not be accepting myself. HMMM???


Which brings me to 2023.

For the past 2 ½ years I have been working in isolation. This started with Covid and all of us were living in isolation. I am the kind of person who digs in and will spend hours trying to learn new technology and new skills. What that means is that I also probably spend more time than necessary figuring things out, when it would be more efficient to work with others and ask for help.

I also am the kind of person who can entertain myself pretty well. I like my alone time. Therefore, I tend to isolate myself rather than intentionally building friendships and supportive networks.

Does that surprise you? I am what I would call an extroverted introvert. I can go out and socialize and create connections just about anywhere I go. I recharge by staying in. I do recognize the need for supportive relationships and a supportive community, so part of what I will be doing this year is planning time with friends or family, at least once a week.

The one word I have chosen that will incorporate working with others more and spending time building my supportive network is CONNECT.

Here is a link to help you think about what word you will choose for 2023.

I hope you will support me in building connections this year.

Share your word with us so that we can also help to support you in living your word.

Word for 2023

Fred Rogers and Transitions

There is a fabulous 13-episode podcast called “Finding Fred.” It tells the story behind the story of the beloved Fred Rogers. The sometimes-radical ideas he presented to Congress, the barriers he broke when he shared a towel with Officer Clemmons, a black policeman on his show. He talked to kids about the war, about disabilities, about being their best self. And all of this he did with such genuine kindness. Check out the podcast if you get a chance.

I bring this up, because I came across a Fred Rogers quote that I wanted to share with you today.

“Often, when you think you are at the end of something you are at the beginning of something else.”

Endings and beginnings are a part of life. 2021 ended and we transitioned into 2022. Christmas decorations went up, and then they came down. Betty White passed away, and new babies were born. It is a continuous cycle.

Life transitions happen at all ages, but somehow in our 50’s and beyond, they can seem to pile on. Our careers end, our children move out, we may have a health crisis, or we may become caregivers. These challenge us to find the new beginnings.

Three stages of transitions

One of my favorite books on this is Transitions, by William Bridges. In this book he talks about the stages we go through. There is a new book out by Bruce Feiler, Life is in the Transitions, that defines very similar stages.

William Bridges calls the first stage Endings. There is grief from loss associated with this stage, even if you wanted the ending to happen. Let’s talk about the end of a full-time job. If your job was terminated due to downsizing or the pandemic, you are understandably feeling a sense of loss. A loss of control over the timing can be unsettling. If you have planned for your retirement, you have the big going away party, and you wake up the following Monday with no office to go to. That may feel wonderful but over time you recognize the loss of routine, the loss of friendships, the loss of structure and the loss of a paycheck. Bruce Feiler refers to the Endings as The Long Goodbye.

Once you move through the Endings stage, you move into what Bridges calls The Neutral Zone. Feiler refers to this as The Messy Middle. This is a time of uncertainty. A time of introspection. You are questioning what has worked for you, trying on new ideas and new habits. It can be uncomfortable because it is a time of reinvention for many people. The time in the Neutral Zone can be short, but it should not be rushed. There is a richness in “being in the wilderness” and giving yourself the time to explore the new thoughts and opportunities that are showing up.

Eventually you will come to a New Beginning, as both Bridges and Feiler call it. “Genuine beginnings depend upon inner realignment rather than on external shifts, for it is when we are aligned with deep longings that we become powerfully motivated.” That is a quote from the Bridges book. Being in alignment with deep longings comes with giving yourself time in The Neutral Zone or the Messy Middle to look inside, explore and try out new ideas.

Life is in the Messy Middle

As Fred Rogers said, “Often, when you think you are at the end of something you are at the beginning of something else.” Life is in the Messy Middle, in the Neutral Zone, where we redefine who and what and why we are. We are in unprecedented times with the pandemic and the wild weather and the political infighting. It may seem outside of our control. Focus on what you can control, make your voice heard. Build the life you want to live. It is ok to be in the Messy Middle until you get some clarity.

Want more?

If you want to talk more about the stages of Transition and would like some help navigating your own personal transition, I lead a 6-week group workshop called “What’s Next?” that will help you identify your own desires and the dreams you may have left behind and begin to visualize your new beginning.  It will begin on Jan. 11 and we will meet from 4:00-5:30, for 6-weeks. I am limiting the group to 6 individuals so that we can all have time to participate and form bonds. You will get a copy of the book, Transitions, by William Bridges, along with a new chapter of exercises and ideas each week. The full cost is $650, and if you register by January 5, it will only be $600 for the full 6-week program. Why not schedule a 20-minute discovery call to see if this program might be for you?

A Perfect Day

No alarm clock jarring me out of sleep. As I roll over, my cat is waiting for me to wake up. She wants her breakfast. The sun is starting to peak out, and the day is supposed to be beautiful. I am a morning person, and I slide into my slippers, make my way to the kitchen, turn on the coffee maker and get the cat her breakfast. 

Once the coffee is ready, I snuggle into the couch for my first sip and pick up the book I am reading. The morning is my time. I glance at my phone to see if any important texts or emails came in while I was sleeping, but the truth is, most emails and texts can wait until I am ready to read and/or respond to them. I am no longer working for a company, so I am in charge of my time.

After about an hour, I put on my workout clothes and head to the gym. I always do something aerobic, 20-30 minutes on the elliptical. Today I will also focus on some upper body work. I like listening to Pandora music while I work out. I tried listening to podcasts, but the music gets me going and I feel happier.

Home for a shower and breakfast. Now I can check my email and social media sites.

Wow, where did the time go? I guess I went down a Facebook rabbit hole and it is already lunch time. I tried calling a couple of friends, but they were either busy or did not answer. I am just going to run to the store and grab some sushi for lunch.

This afternoon is my spa time. I am going to get a mani/pedi and a massage. Oh, how I love my massages. I feel so relaxed after all this pampering. Nothing like coming home from a long day at work. This retirement stuff is good.

But it is only 3:00. What am I going to do with the rest of my day? Maybe I’ll reorganize my pantry or clean out some junk drawers. Oh yea, I did that yesterday.

I could read. That is what I will do. I will take myself to Barnes and Noble, grab a coffee and read for a bit.

Fortunately, I did make plans with some girlfriends to meet for dinner. I was getting kind of bored with all this me time.

Home by 9:00. I think I will curl up with my cat and watch a show before bedtime.

I thought this sounded like a perfect day, but would it be perfect if it repeated like this for 20 years … or more?

Now the Truth – Retirement is Evolving

My phone alarm goes off at 5:30. Without that I would not get up in time to have my coffee time and still go to the gym. Since we are talking truth, sometimes I get caught up going through my emails and suddenly I do not have time to read the book I want to read. (Why do I keep doing that?) Tomorrow I will do better.

I check the weather. It is rainy and cold, and dark. Ugh, do I really want to go to the gym at 6:30, just so I can get back and start getting ready for the Hey, Boomer show? It is a struggle most mornings. I am proud of myself when I go, but it does not always happen. Part of evolving is developing a plan, a system, that will get me the exercise I need to live healthy into my 80’s, 90’s or beyond.

It is true that I do 20-30 minutes on the elliptical when I am there and do some weight training each time. Pandora music does make the time at the gym more pleasurable.

Show day is one of my most favorite days. I’m putting it out to the universe that I have 100’s of listeners and lots of chatter going on. I am also doing the work to make this happen. Podcast downloads are picking up. My mission is to inspire and support people in the next act of life to find new beginnings, and confront endings and transitions, and evolve into who they want to be. That mission is the fuel that keeps me motivated and keeps me going.

Along with my mission for the show, I also feel that part of my purpose is to be involved in voter issues and the democratic process. Because of the passion I feel around that, I am grateful to have the opportunity to participate in voter registration drives, to participate in legislative actions that I am made aware of, and to stay informed. When I am able to be involved, I feel like I am trying to make a difference and that is important to me.

Maybe that is what my purpose really is. To make a difference. I hope I do that with the show. I feel like I do that through my volunteer work with voter issues. I hope that I show that through the love I share with my family and friends. Making a difference in their lives by letting them know they are important to me, and they are loved.

I do try to get together with girlfriends, but not often enough. I am busy, and busy with things that I find important. All of this is part of my evolution to life after corporate work. It is not always easy. It is sometimes overwhelming. And it is evolving. That is the beautiful thing about living my Truth. It does not have to be Perfect to be Meaningful.