Habit 2 in Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is to “begin with the end in mind.” I have found it extremely helpful when starting something new to take time to envision what I really want in the end. It might be tempting when we reach an ending point in some aspect of our life to fill the void with whatever is comfortable and straightforward. However, when we start with the end in mind, we need to contemplate if this new activity or commitment will lead us to what is important to us in the end.
For example, we routinely help clients transition from their full-time working career to the next phase of life. The common term for this transition is retirement. We hesitate to use this word to reference this transition because we believe the word retirement doesn’t accurately depict what most people really want at this juncture of their life.
Retirement conjures up two images that are misleading and not helpful. First is the idea that it is time to be “put out to pasture” like a retired horse that is no longer useful. Second is the idea that the time ahead is a reward for a life of hard work and diligent savings, a time when I’m free to live a life of leisure, travel, and do whatever I want to do.
The years after full-time employment can afford us the opportunity to live life at a slower pace and the flexibility to participate in our favorite activities. However, when we mainly focus on self-satisfaction, we can easily lose meaning and purpose in life which can lead to becoming disillusioned.
What impact do you want to have with the years after full-time employment? No matter if you just graduated from college or you have left full-time employment many years ago, it’s never too early or too late to visualize the impact you can have in this world. We are most fulfilled when we are pursuing our God-given purpose and passion!
What is your God-given purpose and passion? How are you currently using it? How do you intend to use it in the future?