Monday, December 17, 2007

Don’t Drag Out the Same New Year’s Resolutions This Year

I’m tired of meeting woulda, coulda, shoulda know who you are. You talk about the changes that you are going to make in the new year. You say that this is the year to get down to business, to plan, take action, get in control, and it sounds great, then nothing. We’ve all been there. There’s a gap between what we say, and what we do. There’s a lot of lip service going on. I’m not saying that we aren’t serious about making resolutions, or whatever we want to call them, I think that often the resolutions are things we think we “should” do. I’m challenging you to rewire your thinking about your resolutions! Yes, losing weight (, switching careers, ( volunteering ( or just getting your life in balance is good…but let me add a resolution that is a little different…Take the time to discover what makes you tick.

Yes, stop and reflect on YOU. Gain some SELF KNOWLEDGE.

Many people over 50, even 45, are thinking about their future...from the financial standpoint, but also from the “what can I do today to make life better today and tomorrow?” I say this is the year to take an inward journey…to discover what drives or motivates you. If you have no idea where or how to begin…check out the 85 drivers listed in DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! Look at your life and ask where am I getting fulfillment? And if it comes up a little empty then there’s your opportunity to add new activities. Start looking inside before you look outside for answers.

Make that a resolution!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jeri's Rewirement Tips

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here is a list of tips I like to give people to get them going in the right direction. Enjoy!

Don’t think too small when you do your rewirement planning.
This is the time to “let the kite out!”

Know why you want to retire.
Your decision should not be based solely on your hitting a certain age or a certain financial number.

Plan ahead.
Challenge the conventional notion of retirement. Begin planning with your specific interests and needs at the top of your mind. The goal is to create a customized retirement for yourself or as we call it rewirement®.

Start a rewirement journal.
Set it up by section. Write down your thoughts, dreams and goals. Refer back to it often.

Define what retirement means to you.
Identify how you perceive it---positive, negative, or mixed--- and know why.

Don’t covet your neighbor’s retirement.
Seek advice but remember what may be terrific for your neighbor may not be right for you.

Determine what you consider to be a good rewirement and why.
Develop a list of ingredients that you think constitute a happy future. Record the criteria in your journal and note ideas on how to achieve them.

Identify what activities and associations will end with retirement.
Some things that end will be out of your control, others won’t be. Identify which ones you’ll miss.

Accept rewirement as a time of-- and for-- change.
Think about what will change in your life, and what you want to change. Also cite what you don’t want to have changed.

Acknowledge how you handle change.
Do you run from it; thrive on it; embrace it; lead it? This insight should guide your planning.

Keep your values close.
Our values are our anchors. Is work your anchor? Recognize that the absence of work may leave you feeling adrift.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Curiosity May Be the Key To Happiness

I am a “social voyeur” who thinks that the holidays are a great time to learn about life. As an author and speaker I like to eavesdrop. It’s what keeps me on the cutting edge of change. Thanksgiving gave me a lot of opportunities to listen and learn. I discovered that everything that I either wrote about in DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! or talk about in my speeches was happening within my own family and circle of friends. I’m always telling audiences that since we are living longer and healthier lives that we need to be challenging ourselves to imagine new possibilities and to dream bigger dreams. When I surveyed my own family and friends I realized that some people are thrilled about living longer while others aren’t. Some are going for the gusto every day, and others are complaining every day!

I was surprised to learn that an old friend, who had never appeared to be too adventurous in the past, was looking in to going into the PEACE CORPS ( That brought out a range of comments from “is she crazy?” to “I wish I had done something like that when I was younger.” I realized that I was with an a of glass half full and half empty people! My Mom, a real on the go woman of 82, always said if you are a pill at age 20, the odds are you’ll be a pill at age 60, 70 and 80! I believe that people can change if they want to, but I also believe that people need to make a conscious effort to change their attitude and jumpstart their future. Here were physically healthy people at our Thanksgiving table who had gotten mentally stale. They needed to be rewired, and actually I think wanted to be, since a few admitted to boredom. My natural instinct was to try and discover what was stopping them from pursuing new activities, or looking at the future with a new set of eyes, or even just taking a different road to get to the mall! But somehow I didn’t think that a rewiring™ workshop over pumpkin pie and coffee would cut it.

During dinner I casually said that I wish that we could create a curiosity gene…I thought that that was what society needed. I happened to mention that it was one of the 10 Nuggets of Knowledge we cited in the Second Edition of DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! then I left the room. I wanted to give the gang a little food for thought, but not a speech!

My 25 year old niece, who had been quietly listening, asked “is there anything I should be doing to rewire?” I didn’t want to get into a conversation on saving for the future and the power of compounding, I want her to like me, not run every time she sees me, so I said, “ Listen to Jean Chatsky on OPRAH and FRIENDS (, she’s got a cool show that addresses a variety of life planning questions.” I felt like I had done some good without coming off as the heavy.

The holidays are a wonderful way to gauge how friends and family are doing, regardless of their age. Phone calls can only do so much, and yes/no answers are too easy. Everyone can use a little rewiring of their energy and their time. It’s easy to get in a rut. Take it from me. We all are there at one time or another!

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Rewirement Book and Blog Launch

The Second Edition of DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! was released on November 8th and as a way to celebrate the book launch I’ve decided to begin my blog. I want to support the new book and you also as you use it to start your rewiring journey. It’s exciting to bring out a Second Edition that includes all of the on - target information and inspirational content of the first edition PLUS MORE!

The new content was inspired by letters from our readers---questions from our audiences---plus insights from my work as Senior Advisor at The Conference Board on the Mature Workforce. Now that the leading edge boomers are 61 and realizing that we are living longer…healthier…and younger lives, the search for answers and ideas on how to get the future “right” has only increased! First I don’t believe that there is one way “to do the future”…. as I say ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL that’s why creating your rewirement based on your motivators and interests is so important. It doesn’t matter whether you’re married, single, working, already retired or thinking that you’ll never retire…you still need to think about what you’ll do or want to do in the future.

DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! Second Edition is filled with cutting–edge realities that can impact your rewiring…from partners struggling to figure out their futures…to workers trying to combat real and perceived ageism…to having “scripts” to use as you rewire into new paid, volunteer or fun activities.

I’ve come to think about the future in terms of the 6 F’s:

  • Having fun

  • Being fulfilled

  • Continuing to grow financially

  • Staying physically and mentally fit

  • Spending time with friends and family

  • Recognizing the fear that the future is about the unknown and going forward any way
In a recent speech a man thanked me for challenging him to look at the future differently (that’s the reason I’m wearing the wild glasses). I needed to do something to shock people into seeing that I’m really serious about looking at the future with a new set of eyes. After a bit of laughter---they get it! We all need to look at the future differently. You’ve got to rewire your mindset before you can rewire your actions and get exciting results. We need to lighten up about the future. Rewiring shows you how. It’s about thinking...then doing!