Once upon a time Renée had a salaried job. She liked her job for many years but things changed and she decided to go solo and once over the “yipes zone” as she calls it, she’s never looked back and has literally thousands who are grateful she made that choice because her mission in life is to help people achieve the good life after 50 which is the title of her very successful book.
Renée’s based in New York City and loves the choice, challenge, creativity and freedom her self-styled career brings her. At 60+ she feels vitalized and confirmed in passing on her life’s knowledge to help others.
She’s earned a solid national and international reputation in different complementary fields including writing – her book “The Good Life After 50” is not only a call-to-action but also a very practical hands on guide with useful tools and resources for making it happen; redirecting and helping people to continue working whatever the circumstances, it could, for example, be someone who is a total misfit in one job but who could do brilliantly in another, or people wanting/needing to work after the increasingly illusory “retirement” date; consulting on strategic solutions for career management; teaching the management/retirement redirection class “Achieving the Good Life after 50” for NYU school of Adult and Continuing Studies, as well as classes on “Living and Working with Optimism” for the NYC United Federation of Teachers and public speaking, presenting ongoing monthly talks on job search and career transition issues at the Science, Industry, Business Library in NYC. She’s had speaking engagement in Paris and Munich andPass It On interviewed her during her recent visit to Holland where she has had regular speaking engagements over the last five years.
She considers all these fields complementary with positive thinking as the common denominator. The starting point, Renée believes in any challenging situation is to become aware of self-talk. “It’s amazing how we sabotage ourselves – up to 75% of our thoughts are negative, and repetitive. “Only we can stop what we allow to go on in our brain”, she says. “Start paying constant attention to self-talk. Banish the negative conditioning. It is a fact that even a small dose of positive thinking can reverse the trend”.
The next major step is to review your skills. If you’re feeling lost, beaten and defeated and can’t see the woods for the trees, get help to appreciate the skills you’ve developed over a lifetime, to assess them in terms of your values and the present context and then, and this is perhaps the most important, to define what your purpose in life is – what really moves you to action. Once this groundwork has been covered, develop an action plan to achieve it.
She stresses the vital importance of looking back and taking stock of both successes and failures, seeing any patterns and acting accordingly.
“I find this so important because I keep seeing people who feel lost and crippled by their own distortions. My job is to help them realize their strengths and reinforce them. I was struck by the findings of a recent Gallup Poll that asked 130,000 pollsters what gave them enjoyment in life. The most important factors were first, being able to count on someone for help and, second, learning something new”.
Jobs look different
Today we have to understand that the job market is changing by the day. Whole industries are morphing– take publishing for example – paper is ceding to digital. We have to keep learning and adapting. It isn’t that there aren’t any jobs, it is that jobs aren’t packaged in the same way – they are less and less “stable, full time, secure and on going” they are more often project oriented, flex timed. Jobs look different today. There are new jobs with new titles and older workers need to know how to market their skills to fit the new job language and requirements. The new game in job search is “ongoing education, stay current and involved”.
The way to search for jobs has also changed. Social media dominate the field for job seekers now and seniors need to learn to navigate in this new world. Networking remains a perennial.
Cultivate curiosity, ask questions, try something new, take a risk. By so doing, you kindle your creativity. Be proactive. Go out and do something new and different. Meet new friends with similar interests. Go to “Meet Ups”, find SIGs (Special Interest Group) that fit you, attend association meetings. Why not take the initiative and start your own SIG, your own Meet Up. Two’s a perfectly adequate number to get going.
Find your purpose, find what you love doing and develop it.
Courage is a further essential element – courage to leave the comfort zone and step into the unfamiliar “yipes zone”, even if you are scared and not sure how it will all work out. The act of faith will encourage you. “I often recommend Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s “FLOW”, which is a wonderful book on this issue”, she says.
Acceptance is also capital. Be comfortable with what you can and can’t do. Be proactive. Understand what you need to do and do it.
“Remember,” she says, “you are in the driver’s seat. Be confident. Exercise your control and make conscious choices. Set small, doable goals, so that you can measure your success. Have a plan to achieve your goals and put it in writing. Think about this and prepare to take your small steps, one at a time. You will soon find yourself building momentum and moving steadily towards your goals.
“Stay calm and be at peace, that’s the best frame of mind for nurturing a new stage of life. And don’t forget to include rich, full laughter in your life everyday”