Joining clubs – enhancing your Bucket Wheel®

Liz is one of those people who simply inspires you by just by being in her presence. She is a “glass half full” person whose passion and energy are contagious.

You have probably heard of the Clamber Club? It’s a fun learning club for babies, toddlers and preschoolers that develops a child’s brain and body in stimulating and fun ways.

Let us introduce you to Liz Senior, creator and founder of Clamber Club.

Liz started this initiative as a side-line business and finally established the Clamber Club in 1990. Over the past 28 years, she has built this business to 65 franchises and still runs the flagship branch. She has also produced a range of CDs, DVDs and toys for babies and young children that promote exercise and movement, all available at franchise outlets, baby stores and selected toy stores.

It is a rare find to meet someone who derives so much inspiration and fulfillment from her work. Liz finds the financial independence and freedom that the business brings extremely rewarding.

But Clamber Club brings so much more than just financial benefits. It also gives Liz the opportunity to give back. She loves making a difference when parents and children connect through Clamber Club and finds it gratifying to empower the various franchises.

Liz has just about perfected the art of living life in balance and has a natural, intuitive way of filling her Bucket Wheel® to ensure that she gives attention to the other parts of her life that bring her joy. Yes, of course, there is always room for improvement, and every Bucket Wheel® is a work in progress, but you would have to look long and hard at Liz’s Wheel® to find any gaps.

To cultivate both her friendships and connections, and also her “learning” (an added benefit), Liz has included clubbing on her list of meaningful activities.

Apart from Clamber Club, here are a few other clubs and hobbies that add significance to Liz’s life: a book club; lunch and dinner clubs with different groups of friends such as the Libra lunch club; an embroidery group; a Stokvel; and a monthly gathering of former school friends. She also sings in the Johannesburg Bach choir and is part of a walking group, doing such walks together as the Wellington wine walk.

Still on the topic of clubs and hobbies, Liz’s future plans include doing pottery, art lessons, improving her guitar skills and learning how to edit movies.

We love the fact that Liz has included these hobbies and clubs in her Bucket Wheel®. Joining a club or group has so many benefits: it allows you to meet new people, or if it’s a closed club, like Liz’s supper club, spending good, quality time with your friends. At the same time, it helps you to keep engaged and to learn something new.

We can think of no good reason why clubbing should not be a central part of everyone’s Bucket Wheel®.

Two pencils on yellow background

Living your legacy season

Our generation has been gifted with an extra season of life.

In her book, The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity, Professor Lynda Gratton explains why longevity is something we need to understand; then, we need to shift some of our current thinking.

She writes that, on average, we are living 30 years longer than our great grandparents and that many of our grandchildren will celebrate their 100th birthdays.

Let’s use this visual to explore what this may mean for each of us:

Formerly, life was more linear: 25 years of education, 35 years of work, and then a few years of retirement before one died. Technology and longevity have disrupted this progression, and this shift requires us to step back and consider new possibilities.

I like to call this the gift of an extra season.

For each of us, this gift may look different – money, health and family are variables that play an important factor.

Let’s examine some scenarios.

Meet Mary and Dave who have worked and saved over the last 40 years and feel that now it is time to enjoy life, visit their three children and travel. They would like to volunteer and help when available and want to have some fun and relax. They know that they can survive on what they have saved and have a plan.

Our second scenario features Annie; she is divorced, and her children live overseas. She has not managed to save enough and needs to continue working as long as possible. She has a great set of skills and can offer her services as a virtual assistant to several clients. Working remotely also allows her the time to travel and visit her children.

Next is Anton. He had a great corporate career and now, in retirement, finds himself wanting to add value and have a reason to get out of bed every day. He is healthy and is working with a group of start-up businesses where he uses his skills two days a week to mentor and coach young entrepreneurs.

Finally, Christine, having retired from formal work as a qualified nurse, decided to work on one of the global cruise liners.  She had lost her husband when she was 50. She has been doing that now for more than 10 years. Her children join her on cruises from time to time, so she gets to see the world and still spends time with her family.

What is the clear common denominator?  Each person exercised a choice regarding what they wanted their future to look like.

The gift of choice is part of this legacy season.

Take the time to look at your life. Think out of the box and design a framework that works for you. Technology and better health give us options that were not available to our parents and grandparents.

If ill health starts to impact our life, we may have to slow down and accept that some of the options are no longer available to us. The challenge I see too often is people slowing down too soon, not looking after their health and not opening themselves up to new experiences and opportunities. A legacy season is one where we can give back and reflect on the journey. Use the time wisely. It is a gift.

Live long and die short is my motto. I hope to live in my legacy season until my last day. If this is not possible, I will accept that life can slow down, that I have lived life to the full and will live with grace and peace in this last season.

We cannot control all the circumstances but we sure can make the most of the gifts we have been given.

Don’t call me ‘retired’ – I’m too busy!

When Alex Isaakidis retired, he and his wife took a trip to China to mark this transition and to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary. Little did he know that this trip would also usher in a whole new career for him … and a fresh sense of life purpose and meaning.

Chartered clients, Alex and Miranda have always worked as a team, each with their own roles. So, it seemed natural to them, when Alex retired, to include him in Miranda’s Indulgent Spa business.

“We attended a trade show in Hong Kong together and I was inspired by the new products and exhibiting concepts to bring back to South Africa,” says Miranda.

With so many innovative ideas to be brought to life, Miranda is grateful for Alex’s partnership. “Alex does the work I don’t enjoy doing,” she smiles. “I like the fun part. For him, it is a sport to work with money.”

The benefit is mutual, according to Alex. “Now that I have retired, Miranda’s business is my security blanket,” he affirms. “It gives me meaning and purpose.”

But Alex is not limiting his sense of purpose to his work at Indulgence Spa.

He has signed up for a Master’s degree in History at the Open University, and will be prioritising spending time with Miranda, “just having fun!”.

He also wants to write a book about the Crawford Schools, where he worked for a number of years. “I just have to find the time to do all these things … I am living to achieve my unfulfilled dreams,” says Alex.

Focus, not only on the do, but also on the who

Alex and Miranda both recognise the importance of their relationships.

“Our most important consideration is our social interaction. We want to surround ourselves with our friends.”

Their marriage remains their source of encouragement and joy. “How can retirement be dull, being married to Miranda?” laughs Alex, and Miranda adds her bit, “It’s fun to have Alex around. I love the extra support and being able to pick his brain.”

Being able to spend time with people they love and enjoy being with is a first consideration in where the couple will settle once fully retired. They also want to help others, a motivation born out of their gratitude for their blessings. “We are so lucky to have what we have,” says Miranda. “We have always shared.”

It’s a belief they extend to their relationship with money. “In retirement, we have a philosophy of how we will spend our money and enjoy our lives,” Alex says.

He is realising that they have sufficient income. “We are lucky to have money, but we don’t live flashy lives.

“We are content with what we have … happy. We have a great life, healthy children and a beautiful marriage. There is nothing we want in the material sense.”

True to this value, Alex and Miranda are, at present, decluttering their home and minimising their household goods.

The lesson?

If you find yourself in a transition you haven’t necessarily adequately prepared for, or in a mid-life crisis, reset yourself! You can easily do this by doing something completely out of the ordinary for your life. Alex and Miranda did this by taking a trip to China.

Whatever your extraordinary act, be it big or small, do it, and breathe in the sparkle and delight of the astonishing uniqueness of it all.

A colourful and creative encore career

When Pat’s electronics business was sold, largely against her will, she booked herself into a Bed and Breakfast for a week, and cried. It took her a year to heal … but now she has crafted a whole new career and it is thriving.

“I had nothing,” says Pat Schneider, Chartered client, following the decision to sell the business she and her husband had established and run together, Frank on the technical side and Pat on sales.  The success of the company had been remarkable, given the growth to 20 staff, R10m to R20m monthly turnover, and Frank’s challenge with cancer in the last three years.

“It was very hard work, ” confesses Pat, “and, at times, incredibly difficult, but I was devastated when Frank made the call to sell the business.  Though I had always trusted his objective advice and as someone to bounce ideas off, I did not speak to him for months, and consulted a psychologist, so close I was to a breakdown.”

Pat opted to hand over the details of the sale of the business to Frank, to save her marriage and her sanity.

What next?

Pat felt that her efforts had come to nought.

Despite this, the idea of a shop persisted.  “I wanted to fill my time with something I knew, something meaningful.  My mother had taught me to knit and crochet, and it had always been a hobby, but not one I cultivated in the little spare time I had outside the business.”

Pat approached a woman she knew who loved to crochet, and invited her to work for her. Pat identified a busy shopping mall in Centurion and rented a shop space.

“I could never do something where I could not spend time with other people. This has been part of my healing process, and I have done it all myself.”

Of finding what you want to do, Pat says, “You have to go and look, try something; go once, if you don’t like it, abandon it, like me and exercise:  I joined the gym and hated it. If you don’t try it, you never know.  I have always been creative, so I pursued that avenue.  I made a blanket on holiday, sitting in the evening, while talking or watching TV.”

Pat’s story is testimony to the fact that your love can become a viable encore career.  Feel free to pop into ‘The Cotton Ball’ for a crocheting lesson … or just to be inspired!

Join the The Cotton Ball community on Facebook

Follow your Flow

If you love what you do, it’s play, not work

Kim Potgieter, Author of Retirement: Get more Meaning from your MoneyEver been so involved in a specific task or project that all else falls away? So immersed in what you are doing that nothing else seems to matter? And the best part – when you finally emerge from your complete absorption, you feel happy … even elated! And you can honestly say that this was the best day of your life.  Now imagine feeling like this all the time – this is following your flow.  

So, no, time does not pass faster because you are getting older; it flies swiftly when you are engaged with something that resonates with your true and deepest passion.  Research by McKinsey spanning a decade shows that people ‘in flow’ are 500% more productive and learn between 200% and 500% faster.

I have spent much time reflecting on what brings meaning to my life.  I have realised that it is the people in my life – my family, friends, colleagues and clients – that fill my life with purpose, learning and wisdom.  The essence of who I am, what makes my life a meaningful adventure, rests in the sharing of what I have learned … and this is what my career has grown out of.  This is what it means to work in the flow.

Flow flavours life with purpose

The benefits of working in our flow is both tangible and intangible.  For me, a very important one is Gratitude.  It’s that feeling of happiness that blossoms from appreciation.  And the emotions of thankfulness just keep on flowing.  I am especially grateful for being able to do the work that I love and for the wonderful clients that share in my journey.

A tangible benefit expresses itself in the writing of my second book – and, for good measure, a whole series of e-books about our relationship with money, all with the aim of enabling a successful Retiremeant™. This journey allows me to spend time interviewing clients in order to share their insights and wisdom on money stories and work re-invention.  I am convinced that the success of my first book was partly because of the client stories. It is clear that people learn more from stories than theory. And stories are so powerful!

I am so grateful for the stories that our clients share.  Not only do these stories inspire me in my work and in writing my book, but the stories also inspire others in their RetiremeantTM ;journeys – they are encouraging and support people on so many levels.

Lynda’s story

I recently interviewed our client, Lynda Smith, Founder of Refirement Network and 50-Plus Skills.  You can read about her and her venture in this newsletter.  With this business initiative, Lynda is certainly working in flow. “If you love the work you do, it’s not work, it’s play,” she says.

Lynda is a prime example of merging her Passion with her Purpose to earn a Play-cheque.  But her journey did not just happen.  It took nine long years of thinking, planning, dreaming, and visualising her flow to get to where she is today. During those years, Lynda continued working for a salary to pay off debt and to invest towards her retirement fund.

Finding your flow often means a parallel process: the work that you are doing at the moment to service your financial responsibilities and the work you plan to do – work that you are passionate about, work that inspires you.

What I know for sure is that investing time to think about your flow, and, secondly, working in flow, can be so rewarding that it is absolutely worth the extra input of time and energy to reinvent your work-self in Retiremeant™.

Imagine the possibility of waking up every day and doing the work that speaks to your purpose – your flow.  What a glorious sunrise that would be!

Access the April issue of Inflight here

Kim Potgieter, Retirement Specialist at Chartered Wealth Solutions

Want to work in Retiremeant™?

Prepare now – three things to do.

We exert much effort and discipline in ensuring we are financially secure in Retiremeant™. But, many neglect that aspect of planning for Retiremeant™ that is almost as important  – what we will do that gives us the same sense of significance as that of our careers?

Whatever this work looks like (full-time, part-time, consulting, mentoring, in a new industry, volunteering at a public benefit organisation), there are ways to prepare ourselves for a new or renewed career. We may believe our current employers will retain us part-time, but there is no guarantee, so it is important to keep ourselves employable in a competitive market place, or be equipped to create our own venture. Remember, you don’t have to be working for remuneration.

Here are three things to do now to keep yourself sharp, or to prepare yourself for your own ‘work’:

      1. Stay Healthy

It sounds obvious, but if you are not healthy, it is likely you will be challenged to perform well or enjoy your work to the fullest extent.

  1. Learn, learn, learn 

Besides keeping your skills up-to-date, research what expertise is in demand. Put yourself on LinkedIn and check the job profiles.  Some people find new avenues of interest through further study, hobbies and interest groups – and these can translate into work and useful networking.  Explore online opportunities to study.

  1. Change your mind

Don’t assume that work in Retiremeant™ will or must look like your career. Be adaptable.  Instead of managing, could you mentor?  Instead of being paid could you volunteer?  Instead of being an entrepreneur could you be part of a collaboration? It’s essential to have a plan, but life is unpredictable, so it’s important to have a Plan B and Plan C.

Don’t miss the benefit of simply chatting with others.  There is so much to learn and share.

Over-50 skills for a successful SA

“Imagine a South Africa where we all have one goal: to build our economy.” 

Retire Successfully Retirementor, Lynda Smith, helps people refire rather than retire. Now she aims to transform the face of employment in South Africa.

Lynda has created a skills portal where over 50s who have expertise and experience can connect with employers seeking just that kind of employee.

Lynda shares how her dream became a reality.

In 2009, I studied social entrepreneurship at GIBS.

I used my company, REFIREMENT NETWORK, as a model for my studies, and this gave birth to my big goal.

There are two million skilled people in South Africa over the age of 60.

If 10% of them engaged in some kind of work or volunteering, using their existing skills, time and passion, for five years, this would equate to ONE MILLION years of economic activity for South Africa.

I want to see older and younger people in South Africa engaging to bring purpose and economic security into the lives of all South Africans.

Lynda Smith Retirementor for Retire Successfully The Mother of Invention

At 50, I found myself looking to a new career. I have always loved helping others and, as a social entrepreneur, love to find challenging scenarios and create solutions. Increasing longevity means that we need to remain engaged longer for both our financial and personal wellbeing, and in this trend I found my work purpose.

Refirement Network has joined hands with three partners to build the 50-Plus Skills company. We are all passionate about South Africa, with different skills, networks and tools and collaborating made sense. Refirement Network remains a separate company and thought leader in longevity.

Learn and Earn in this new season

The 50-Plus Skills portal is a space where individuals 50+ will engage with both the business and social Lynda Smith Refirement Network sector. It is an opportunity to create connections between these sectors to make it easier for individuals to share their area of passion,  using their skills and creating the flexibility to work and engage as they want to.

We an learn, serve and earn in this season. We do need to understand how the world has changed and adapt.

Retire Successfully loves what Lynda is doing and is excited to see 50-Plus Skills grow and thrive.

Follow your Flow

My 50th birthday certainly marked a milestone in my life! And yes, I am still celebrating and excited about the adventures that lie ahead in fulfilling my passions.

I don’t think it has anything to with aging, but I am constantly reminded these days that time indeed flies when you are having fun. Have you ever been so involved in a specific task or project that all else falls away? So immersed in what you are doing that nothing else seems to matter? And the best part – when you finally emerge from your complete absorption, you feel happy! Even elated! And you can honestly say that this was the best day of your life! Now imagine feeling like this all the time.

So no, time does not fly because you are getting older, time flies swiftly when you are active on something that resonates with your true and deepest passion. And the added bonus – a research project by McKinsey and Co. spanning over a period of 10 years has shown that people in flow are 500% more productive and learn between 200 and 500 percent faster.

So yes, although I experience time flying at an immense speed every day, I am thankfully not getting older any faster. I have spent many hours reflecting on what brings meaning to my life, and have realised that it is the people in my life, my family, friends, colleagues and clients, that fill my life with meaning, learning and wisdom. My true happiness, my flow, does not only rest in the learning, but in the sharing. The essence of who I am, what makes my life a meaningful adventure, are these two things: learning and sharing. This is what it means to work in flow.

The benefits of working in flow just keeps adding up. I want to mention one more: Gratitude. That feeling of happiness that flows from appreciation. And the emotions of gratefulness just keep on flowing. I am grateful for being able to do the work that I love and for the wonderful clients that share in my journey.

I am busy writing my second book – and, for good measure, a whole series of e-books around our relationship with money matters to enable a successful Retiremeant™. This journey allows me to spend  a lot of time interviewing clients so that I can share their insights and wisdom on money stories and work re-invention. I am convinced that the success of my first book was partly because of the client stories. People just seem to learn from stories, rather than theory. And stories are so powerful!

I am so grateful for the stories that our clients are sharing. Not only do these stories inspire me in my work and writing my book, but the stories inspire others in their Retiremeant™ journeys, it encourages and supports people on so many levels.

I recently interviewed a client, Lynda Smith, Founder of the Refirement Network and 50+ Skills. Lynda’s vision is to influence 10% retirees to work for 5 years longer by applying their passions and skills to make a difference. With this business venture, Lynda is certainly working in flow. “If you love the work you do, it is not work, it’s play”, says Lynda. Lynda is a prime example of merging her Passion with her Purpose to earn a Play-cheque. But Lynda’s journey did not just happen. It took nine long years of thinking, planning, dreaming and visualising her flow to get to where she is today. During those years, Lynda continued working for a salary to pay off debt and invest towards her retirement fund.

Finding your flow often means a parallel process with the work that you are doing at the moment to service your financial responsibilities, with the work that you plan to do – work that you are passionate about, work that inspires you.

What I can say for sure, is that investing time to think about your flow, and secondly, working in flow, can be so rewarding that it is absolutely worth the extra input of time and energy to re-invent your work-self in Retiremeant™.

Imagine the possibility of waking up every day and doing the work that speaks to your purpose – your flow. What a glorious sunrise that would be!

Creating a happy space to work in

To be healthy and productive, we also need to be happy.

The 5 Cs for happiness in your work

In her research for her book Raise your Leaders, Jenny Handley interviewed a number of established leaders and their followers to find out what they believe constitutes a healthy working environment.

(Health Intelligence 2014, Jenny Handley)

Empowerment and Expression

Are you allowed self-expression in your work?  Do you and your colleagues accept your mistakes as a development mechanism? Is your creativity and innovation encouraged?

Verbal and written affirmation and appreciation – expressed financially, and in other currencies such as flexibility and time off – also make a difference on the happiness barometer.

Particularly the younger generation workers want their work to link to their sense of purpose, and to know what the ultimate outcome of their contribution to the company is.  Personal development, plus a sense of belonging is important for them, as is being respected, and respecting those who work for and with.

Stress needs to be avoided or managed if you want to work on your happiness. With technology increasing our connectivity, expectations have been elevated.  Employees may expect their team to be available and on call at all times, and unclear divisions between work time and home time can cause stress.

Happiness and high performance

Those who prioritise happiness are those who see a difference in their work and in their results.  Happy people, according to research, are more productive, as a result of being more energised.  Unhappy people can bring down the morale of happy people.  A happy workforce is more engaged, motivated and has a higher sense of self-belief.  When an individual feels a connection to an organisation, then he or she is more likely to be happy.

So, the five factors for happiness at work:

Contribution: the effort you make

Conviction: about your short-term motivation

Culture: fitting into the organisation

Commitment: engagement with your role

Confidence: self-belief

(Research by Jessica Pryce-Jones, iOpener Institute)

Three elements: Trust, Recognition, Pride, form the foundation of this model.

Well-being in your work

Better physical health translates into more energy and a positive mindset.  What also provides a sense of well-being is when people are working with their strengths and feel confident, when they’re “in the zone”. In addition, if their competence equates to their challenges, there is a sense of homeostasis.

Harmony is enjoyed when there is cohesion in a team, when everyone makes an effort to get along with their teammates.  Whilst there may be dissension and disagreements, if they are tackled in a professional manner, harmony can remain constant.  When a company allows their people to use and feed off one another’s strengths, everyone is happier. Doing a task that weakens your confidence (something you know you’ll never succeed at) causes unhappiness.

Ultimately, happiness is a choice; it can be measured and is contagious. Make your choice.

Time to save lives

Chartered client, Brian Escott, is ensuring that his contribution did not end with his retirement from a long-standing career at Deloitte.  He has joined with his colleague, Robbie Brozin, in a project which, literally, is saving lives.

“My involvement with Goodbye Malaria grew out of my friendship with Robbie Brozin, founder of Nando’s. I got to know him in 1994 when he had only 35 stores; he now has over 1 000 stores spread across South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US, amongst other countries.  Robbie has handed running the operations over to professional management so he can focus on philanthropic endeavours, one of which aims to eliminate malaria in Africa,” says Brian.

Goodbye Malaria, with one of its ambassadors, Kingsley Holgate, has distributed about 500 000 mosquito nets in Africa, to save lives while the more scientific project is rolled out in Southern Africa.  “We slowly get the mosquitoes to decrease, then eliminate them completely, by spraying insecticide around houses, buildings and villages during the summer months,” explains Brian. Since much of the spread of malaria in Southern Africa is attributable to the movement of Mozambiquan migrant workers, it makes sense to start in that country and its close neighbours, South Africa and Swaziland.  All three countries are collaborating and contributing to the project.

Now Brian has a fresh challenge.  The United Nations recently donated a huge sum to Goodbye Malaria, and Brian is tasked with overseeing that the money is spent properly and a quarterly return is submitted to the UN.

“We need another big injection of funds, and we can eliminate malaria in Southern Africa in six years,” Brian enthuses.  A parallel UN initiative is focused on Nigeria and down the coast, and another up through Angola. “Imagine the reduction of medical costs in malaria treatment in these countries,” says Brian. In addition, a thousand jobs have been created for local communities.

Brian spends one day a week at the offices on the Nando’s Ellis Park campus. “Part of the project is tendering for vehicles, protective clothing and training for our employees.  I have been helping Goodbye Malaria set up structures in each of the countries with regards to, for example, cross-border transactions, cash, VAT, and so on. Robbie is an ideas guy, so people like me who focus on the detail make an important contribution to enable the ideas to become a reality.”

“I have had a number of offers to sit on boards,” admits Brian, “but I would far rather put my skills and time into something like this.  I see those on boards receiving their reading packs on Thursdays and they spend the weekend preparing for Monday’s meeting. That is not for me.  This project excites and energises me.”

Don’t think that it is all about work for Brian.  “I am a huge Rugby fan and have been to every Springbok game this year, usually with a big group of friends – we have a lot of fun.  I play golf most Saturdays and occasionally during the week.” Learning to improve his photography skills while travelling is on his Bucket List.

“My involvement in my projects allows me the flexibility to do what I really want, while giving me a sense of purpose and enjoyment,” concludes Brian.

Read about how Brian is also using his accounting skills to improve education in South Africa by clicking here.