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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Me Go, Too




Most of you know that over the last 2 months, I have grappled with a big decision—early retirement—to go or not to go? Mary’s recent blog, http://www.4broadminds.blogspot.com/2012/07/dont-just-do-something-stand-there.html , reminded me: the answers to life’s tough decisions come from within, and sometimes you have to hit life’s pause button to listen to your soul.

If you are like me, you have envied friends who had the chance to early retire and have said things like, “I am so jealous. It’s a no-brainer. If they offer me early retirement, I am out of here.” So, it surprised me that my initial reaction to the offer was totally opposite: Forget it. I love my job. I am not ready to stop working. Absolutely no.

As an organizational development consultant and coach, my role is to ask others probing, powerful questions to help them find their way through change. Yet, faced with my own major life change, my first instinct was to ignore it. Could I summon the courage to hit that pause button and coach myself through those same difficult questions?  

The offer would expire in less than 30 days. The clock was ticking, and hard questions began to emerge. At the top of the list—is it even financially feasible? Crunching the numbers seemed daunting at first, but ultimately it was the easier part. More demanding were soul searching questions like: What have I accomplished in my career and is it enough? Can I find other ways to contribute? What is my legacy? How much is my self-worth tied to my job? What will it take to accept the possibility that I may never work or earn a paycheck again?

After considerable reflection (and a few margaritas) my answers became clear.

This early retirement offer perched me on the edge of a pool of possibilities. I read somewhere recently that it is hard to know how deep the water is until you dive in. I cannot say I am totally ready, but arms flapping, legs pumping, eyes and heart wide open, I am going to take that leap.

32 comments:

  1. Wow! Carol, I think it's the right decision for you, though we'll miss you at the annual conference helm. You will find all sorts of doors opening for you now that you've taken that leap! I did after I retired, though mine wasn't early retirement. Congratulations!

    When will you actually be leaving the job?

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    1. Hi Penny, thanks. Looks like I will leave in mid-August. . .and have a few weeks on the beach before discovering my next adventure

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    2. Hi, Carol!

      Good for you. To quote Wallace Stevens (I think):

      I learn by going where I need to go.

      You go!

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  2. AnonymousJuly 14, 2012

    You will love it! You are not your job. You are all the things that made you good at your job! Claudia

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    1. You are biased my friend, but Thanks :)

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  3. Yea! You'll not be on a clock but knowing you, you will be busier than ever. Be certain to take some time for you Carol <3

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    1. Hum...I keep hearing about that busier than ever thing.

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  4. Bravo! Let's do coffee while others are tethered to their desks.

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    1. Coffee sounds great. My beach or yours?

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  5. AnonymousJuly 14, 2012

    Now you got me thinking! Eligible now with penalties. Full retirement 12/2015. Around the corner but what's possible out there in the meantime? Best to you, Carol! Look out world...time for Carol's most excellent adventure!

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    1. one of the things that made this offer so enticing is that the offer elimiated the early out penalties !

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  6. Congrats! Awesome! Enjoy!

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  7. Tony CalabreseJuly 14, 2012

    As one who has already taken this step, I look back with no regrets. Since leaving my long time career I have started my own business, been able to be president of the NJ chapter of ICF, and have networked and made a host of new contacts in a number of different endeavors. Like you said Carol you don't know how deep the pool may be, but the possibilities are endless. Enjoy.

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  8. Jeanne Fragale KellerJuly 14, 2012

    Congrats Carol! Awesome! that's great. I know it was a really tough decision for you, but I also know it will be the best one for you too. :) Congratulations! Love you, Jeanne

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  9. Carole: I am so happy for you. I think you are opening a door to so many options. If you want, you can still be an OD consultant. You can write to your heart's desire. You can sit on the beach on a weekday with no guilt. And spend quality time with Jim while you both are still so healthy. I don't see a downside here. Congratulations.

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  10. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! I don't see a downside either, and I see a lot of upsides.
    So many possibilities................

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  11. Congratulations on making the decision and taking the leap! I love the picture that goes with your post. It has such a delightful feeling of fun and adventure.
    The only person I have ever talked to who regretted the decision about early retirement was someone who, from what I could see, had no ideas about what to do with her time. That is obviously not the case with you. I'm sure that before long you will wonder how you managed to fit in time for work. :-)
    Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in this next segment of your life journey!

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  12. Your announcement literally brought tears to my eyes. I just always thought you would be there. After a few days I realize how awesome this is for you and how many people will be touched by you kind, gentle soul. I wish you all kinds of goodness and sincerely thank you for your involvement in my life.

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    1. Kathy, I will still be "there," just an ipad or phone call away

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  13. Thanks all for your good thoughts.carol

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  14. AnonymousJuly 16, 2012

    Hey Carol,
    Good for you, I am jealous. You can do whatever you want when you want.I think a Beach Tagger job would be perfect for you.LOL
    Pat

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  15. HollywoodhandsJuly 16, 2012

    Hello Godmother Carol :)
    Just reading your blog. I love the way you write. I feel I could use a life coach right now, dealing w/ my single motherhood struggles and such ... Alot of what you said hit a cord with me. Love reading what you write!

    Kim Mueler

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    1. Kim, we can barter when you visit, coaching for a massage

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  16. Though scary, I am sure the water (change) will be refreshing and renewing. You still have a lot more to give in new and unique ways. Congratulations and enjoy!

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  17. Go for it girl you will enjoy your new time. Time is the one thing that I see has changed for me. You set your own day and stop running at other peoples clocks.

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  18. Thanks Gina and Bella. Each day I get more intrigued by how I will use the gift of time

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  19. Congratulations, Carol, on your very courageous decision.

    I know that you will absolutely love your next steps.

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  20. Congratulations Carol!!! A new adventure is about to begin! ~ Peggy

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  21. Carol, this is great news. Now you'll have more time to write your next novel!

    I have always admired the way you balance having a plan with serendipity to live out your goals. Well done, my friend. This is just the beginning...

    Love, Libby

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  22. love the line, "balance having a plan with serendipity to live out your goals"
    Can I make it my new vision statement? :)

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