As we adjust to the Fall season and all of the joys that come along with cooler weather, leaves changing color and cozying up in our favorite sweater, I find there is another common feeling during this season. So, I wanted to reshare last year's Halloween post, which still resonates.
Lately, I've gotten a lot of requests for my services as a Life/Retirement/Transition Coach. This time, I immediately thought the answer was group coaching.
Normally, I don’t share information about clients, but in order to help you understand that we need to reach out and help each other, I have obtained releases from anyone involved in this note.
Last week I held a group session with five attendees. Each had their own issues, and each was truly concerned. I’m sure you will recognize them:
I asked each in turn “What is going on?” and here are their answers:
I gave her a questioning look.
“I was on my broom and one of my earbuds fell out. I had to look down to retrieve it - and SLAM! There I was, face flat into the tree. I heard people laughing! Why didn’t my radar warn me about the tree? Am I getting too old? Should I retire?”
Cornelia: She spoke softly and made eye contact with each member of the group.
“Look, as early as the 1880s I became popular. My three colorful layers are attractive, and I’m small and easy to eat.”
She teared up.
“At least I WAS easy to eat. I’m the most fun to eat by the handful! And, I mean, really, with COVID-19 people don’t want to eat anything by the handful!”
She started to sob.
“I’m fat free and keep in the refrigerator for up to 9 months, but nobody really wants me now... Ok, Ok, I guess I should just retire – right?”
Casper was next.
Casper: "Yeah, it’s not rocket science. You all know me – you know me by my full name, ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost.'"
He started to smile a little, and then the smile faded.
“That’s right; I’m a non-conformist. I’d rather make friends than scare people. I know I’m different from the rest of the haunt team, but it is who I am. I like people; I’ve made friends before. I don’t like scaring them.”
Wanda started to snicker.
“Whoever heard of a friendly ghost?” she muttered. I had to shhh! her.
“And now there is COVID-19,” Casper continued. “People can’t even be with their regular friends, so you can bet no one wants to talk to a friendly ghost! What should I do? I have a lot of years ahead of me!”
Then it was Terry’s turn.
Terry: “Ha – you think you guys have issues? You think you don’t know what to do ‘next’? When I was a little tiny tarantula, my Mama told me I was cute. Then I left the nest, and it all ended.”
He looked around, daring people to challenge him.
“I remember the first time I became aware of Halloween! Look around, guys! Do you notice how many phony spiders people put out – on the lawn/on the bushes/crawling up the front of the house! THEY ARE ALL TARANTULAS! What do you think this does to my self-image?”
Everyone got quiet.
“I know, I crawl; I have long hairy legs, and I have eight eyes. But I’m harmless to people! If I bite, it’s no worse than a bee sting – okay? Look it up! So, what’s a young guy like me to do with a reputation like that?”
Wanda started muttering again. “Maybe you remind people of the COVID virus,” she whispered.
I talked over her. “Ok, Peter, it’s your turn.”
Peter: “Well, in comparison, maybe my problem is not so bad. I mean, let’s face it, the pumpkin is the symbol for both Fall and Halloween."
“I know, I’ve been pretty lucky over the years - always the one up front – inside and outside – enjoying the popularity and fun.
His voice softened.
“But then, enter plastic and inflatables. Enter strange colors and shapes. How can I keep up with those inexpensive, use year-to-year decorations? Even on the flavor side – so many cheaper, easy-to-use imitations! In chips/pancake mix/coffee – even donuts!
People are pumpkin crazy, but they are not using the real thing!”
He looked up at me and sighed.
“And now COVID-19. There used to be pumpkin carving parties. Now no one is gathering groups together to sit close and carve. I may be able to hold out for a few more years, but I need a plan, a new direction. Should I retire?”
I let the air settle for a few minutes. Group sessions are not easy. A person (or a pumpkin) can listen and feel their issue is not so bad, or the participant can take on everyone’s problems and go away feeling worse.
I decided there was only one answer and it applied to the whole group.
Ask yourself important questions like
Before I left the room, I looked around and smiled. “Of course, If you want to talk more about planning for the days and years ahead, give me a call!”
As the door shut, I heard Casper shout:
“That was amazing! Ok, everybody, MASKS ON – Let’s have a Group Hug!”
~ HAPPY HALLOWEEN ~
Here’s the quote most often heard from people discussing plans for retirement:
"One of the main things I plan to do when I retire is TRAVEL."
If you have followed me long enough or simply know me well, you are familiar with the four areas of non-financial retirement I discuss, preach, talk about, and emphasize that are necessary to prepare for retirement: mental, physical, social, and spiritual.
Today I’m writing this column while traveling abroad, and I dedicate it to all of you who are saying,
"One of the main things I plan to do
3. Certainly not!
4. No way!
5. Uh, Negative.
9. Not at all.
10. Maybe next year...?
I can remember other years and other resolutions that started out strong (i.e., that Fasting Diet) and then slowly faded away. I soon realized this is a common problem, and we could all use a little help standing strong to our promises for the new year.
So, I’m glad to tell you that help has arrived! I’ve decided that one of the major problems is THE WORD ITSELF!
- I’m going to lose weight;
- I will do better with money;
- I can learn a language!
That’s right – SMART goals refers to the acronym that was developed by businesspeople to help management set their goals and objectives. But, when I think about it, S.M.A.R.T. is a smart way for all of us to find focus and motivation.
Here is what the letters mean:
S – SPECIFIC
M – MEASURABLE
A – ACHIEVABLE
R – REALISTIC
T – TIMELY
- “Going to lose weight” becomes ‘Lose 5 lbs in 6 weeks with the Weight Watchers Diet.”
- “Do better with money” becomes “Call the bank and ask to work with a financial advisor for two months to help manage my funds.”
- “Learn a language,” becomes “Sign up for Babbel or Duolingo by January 10th to start taking free lessons to learn Italian.”
Happy New Year!
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC
As an active writer, both nationally and internationally, Loretta Saff's humor columns, blog, and lifestyle articles reflect an insight in dealing with situations that helps people get to their core issues and encourage confidence, trust and support.
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