I got a call from THE ELF ON THE SHELF yesterday. The conversation went something like this:
Elf: Hi. Listen, I’m kind of in a hurry, so I’m hoping you can help me get something out to remind people of what’s important.
Me: Ok, what’s on your mind?
Elf: Well, let’s just say that lately everywhere I look there seems to be a lot more naughty than nice. People are rude; smiles are few and far between, and taking the time to help one another seems to be out of style! I’m just exhausted!
Me: What happened?
Elf: Well, I was up high on a shelf at the grocery store and constantly I saw people racing to get in front of others in the checkout line. Then I hung out at the new office building downtown (where there’s a shelf at the welcome desk with a great view), and I watched the people hurrying and purposely closing the elevator doors before anyone else could get in! And at night I was peeking around the merlot wines at your favorite restaurant, and I was really surprised to hear constant laughter as people made fun of other people as they walked by. I mean, seriously? What’s happened to NICE?
Just do this for me. And by the way … rather than your offering ‘9 steps’ or ‘4 tips’ or even ‘2 sure-fire ways’ to reduce stress this holiday season. Tell people to follow this advice and watch the changes.
I couldn’t help smiling. This guy made a lot of sense. And so I promised Elf that I would send out a memo. So, here goes:
MEMO TO EVERYONE!
From: Everyone Else
Date: Today and Every day
Subject: BE NICE
It has come to my attention that there has been a slacking off on BEING NICE. Somehow common courtesy has been pushed aside to make room for iPhones, multitasking, and always being in a hurry. This has caused a lot of hurt feelings and negative attitudes.
As a result, I am encouraging all people to slow down and take some time to be considerate and kind to each other. YOU be the one who smiles more often and treats people the way that you want to be treated.
Studies have shown that when people include random acts of kindness in their day, it gives the brain a serotonin boost and results in a feeling of well being and satisfaction. The doer feels great, and the recipient is overcome with a ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude. The entire atmosphere changes.
Put this suggestion into effect immediately and make it a prominent part of your daily routine. It will result in stronger friendships, more enjoyable activities and workplaces and may even increase your gifts at Holiday Time.
This is just a hint from someone in the know.
Thanks for your cooperation,
The Elf on the Shelf
Have a great Holiday Season regardless of how you celebrate. Just be sure that whatever you are doing and whomever you are with, remember to BE NICE.
Do it for yourself – and for the Elf.
P.S. If you want to share some ‘nice’ that either you’ve done or seen, send me a note. I’ll make sure it gets to the Elf.
Who Are You Going to Be?
Boo! It’s almost Halloween. Since mid September you’ve seen all the preparations, decorations, and merchandise. There are lights for your lawn, bags of trick-or-treat candies for your give-away bowl, and – of course - the Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice latte!
Now comes the big question. You are probably going to a Halloween party, so...
“Who are you going to be?”
I’ll bet you probably started planning for it far in advance. After all, you’ll need to think it through, get a costume, make sure it’s comfortable, and check that it looks good. Will you be someone scary? Someone cool? Someone funny? A gorilla? A princess? A Zombie? Such choices! And what fun to play and search, and be creative.
Which reminds me of …, RETIREMENT! So...
“Who are you going to be?”
Soon your old identity of “doctor,” “lawyer,” “businessman,” “teacher,” will be no longer applicable, so who are you going to be without that business card?
It’s a good idea to start planning now. Just like for Halloween, you’ll need to make some plans, decide how you want to spend your time, and then figure out how you will make it all happen. You can try on different costumes and take different paths towards the treats you so desire.
The special beauty of retirement is that you can always take off the costume if it becomes uncomfortable. Then you can change into something else!
Take Bob, for example. He knew when he retired, he was going to spend his time riding and grooming horses. He had a place to start.
He soon found that doing this all day every day was not really what he had in mind. So, he then cut back to going to the stables twice a week. And since he always liked writing, now he spends a lot of time writing mysteries set in the horseback riding world.
Emily’s love for taking photographs had to take a back seat to work and family responsibilities. Two years before she retired, she made some plans and signed up for a weekend course in photography to sharpen her skills. She loves going out in the early morning to walk along the lake, and her nature photographs are beautiful.
Recently, someone asked her to take photos of their son’s wedding and various other special events. That then turned into teaching photography as a continuing education course to adults at the local high school.
It all started with having a plan. That is the secret to success with most things, and it is really important in retirement. Sure, you might say you have your finances in order, but after all, retirement is about so much more than the money.
Eliminate the tricks; make way for the treats! Happy Halloween this week! And start planning now for your Happy Retirement!
Loretta Saff is a Certified Professional Retirement Coach and can be reached at www.coachingwithloretta.com.
SO, …, WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW?
Some people facing retirement say:
All these sound great and interesting – on the surface. But let’s look at them more carefully.
“Ah, time to do what I want when I want.” Ok, but what do you want? And in what order do you want it? There may be a lot of choices and a lot of opportunities for you and your time. Thinking about it and planning ahead can make a huge difference and help avoid disappointment.
“I’m going to get up late and enjoy my coffee and the newspaper.” Ok, so assuming you don’t sleep later than 8:00, that brings us to around 10 a.m. Good for you! You are caught up on what is happening in the world. Now what? (And, by the way, if you’re only having coffee and you use a Keurig, you will probably be done by 9:30!)
“Travel! I am going to travel!” Yes! Plan those trips to your dream cities. And go. But remember, travel is getting harder and harder. Planes are cancelled; security causes long lines; prices are through the roof. And what if your knee starts hurting again? Just like you spend time planning the details of a trip, you need to have a plan for all those other weeks when you are not traveling!
“Well, I’ll probably start another company or get another job.” But wait, why did you retire in the first place? Will you make sure that you won’t face the difficulties and stressors that made you leave?
Don’t get me wrong – any of these are a good starting point for some real thinking and self-assessment. Being honest with yourself is a lot easier with an objective partner. A few sessions with a Retirement Coach can make all the difference.
Create the kind of retirement where YOU are in control and make smart choices that allow you to find peace and fulfillment. Use the same effort you put towards creating your financial “nest egg” to come up with a plan for your Retirement.
After all, 65 is the new 50!
Call me; let’s talk.
“Your mission, Jim,
should you choose to accept it, is…”
You recognize that quote. It’s the opening scene to MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. Of course, Jim always accepts the assignment; and we get to enjoy the adventure.
Sometimes in life you do have choices. You can choose – even volunteer – for the mission. But sometimes the mission is simply forced on you, and then you have to navigate the challenges.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about TRANSITIONS. Often it’s as simple as going off to college or wanting to change jobs. Other times it’s finding yourself an empty nester, being ‘let go’ from a job, or becoming single after years of partnership. Or maybe you are moving from one place to another, just lost someone you love, or realize that you must RETIRE.
These transitions – or CHANGES – all force you to ask yourself similar questions:
Each transition happens to a different you. It’s important to take a good look at who you are NOW. Then you can explore what you really want and make a plan for how to get there.
Coaching You Through the Transition
As a coach, I don’t give you the plan. Only you know what will make you enthused about getting up in the morning. But coaching will help you decide what you really want and what’s been stopping you from getting there. Once you are armed with that information, you’ll sharpen your focus and be ready for what lies ahead.
CHANGE – Some people can handle it just fine, and others, ‘not so much.’ Whether you are Jim (or Janet) and find that your:
having a coach makes a big difference as you navigate the new environment. The “Transition Mission” is yours – and you have to choose to accept it. Let me help you make it an exciting
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC