So What Am I Good At?

Hopefully you are reading this blog prior to leaving your first career or perhaps you have left your first job and are trying to figure out what to do with the sea of time ahead of you. Well here are a few insights on how you can start thinking about your Victory Lap Retirement (VLR).

When we meet people entering their Victory Lap at our presentations, many tell us that they face a career change or need to pivot into something new for the first time in their working life. Some people find this opportunity exciting while others are scared to death. It is okay to be a little uneasy because this is a big change, but research and planning will take away the fear. For those excited individuals, the majority have a sound financial plan and are now ready to develop a lifestyle plan. In the ideal world you will do your lifestyle and financial plans together during your working life, which will make the transition into your VLR alot smoother. Also having financial independence without a lifestyle plan is like having a new Cadillac that doesn’t run, it looks great in the drive way but at some point you are going to get bored staring at the car. If I can expand on this analogy in the context of retirement planning for many of us getting the Cadillac ready for the road maybe as simple as attaching the spark plug and turning the ignition, for other you may need a whole engine overhaul. No matter where you are in this spectrum there is time to get it done.

One fear we all have when we leave our first career is what is next? Even the most organized person will have some trepidation when they leave their first career, after all you have invested a lot of time and energy into being the best – fill in the blank- you can be. So what is next and what am I good at? The nice thing is you don’t have to figure that out on day one or two or even day thirty two of your new life, take some time.
If you do not have the financial independence and need to work the following discussion is still relevant but for the purposes of this blog we will focus on those of you with financial Independence. If you still need to work have a read of Jonathan Chevreau’s book Findependance to help get you on your way to financial independence.

Okay back to the blog. One of the toughest things to do when you leave your first career is to get out of the weeds and to get a drones view, I just saw a drone at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., stop looking at what you have done but rather look at what you can do. We will be coming out with a transition guide in 2018 to help walk you confidently into your VLR but for now ask yourself two questions:

1. What am I good at?
2. What do I want to get good at?

The answers to number 1 will surprise you if you take time and start listing all your skill sets, hopefully it will put a smile on your face. Wow look at all the skills you have developed over all those years of work! If you have just left your career it may be tough to get out of the weeds and up to the drone and see how you can use those skills outside your previous job or industry, in a new way, in a way that will bring you joy. For many of us later in our career there was not as much joy or excitement as we felt early in our career as we were climbing the corporate ladder. Now it is time to think about life after the corporation.

Question number 2 gives you a chance to dream a little, what did you want to do as a child, what hobbies have you acquired on your journey, what intrigues you, how did that lady on Shark Tank get money for that idea? Continuing to learn is one of the greatest things we can do as we age. It stimulates our mind, opens up the world of possibilities and keeps us curious, an attribute many of us may have shed as we focused on our career and building skills that would get us up the corporate ladder. Don’t fret it was not a waste of time you probably listed many of these skills answering question number 1.

Okay now you have the 2 lists – what you are good at and what you want to be good at. A good start now we suggest you invest time in understanding what drives you and what types of work may be best for you. There are loads of books and tests, and more tests, out there to help you. The Myers and Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test is one to consider. The MBTI provides insights into how individuals use their perception and judgement. It may tell for example, you that despite being a good sales person all your life you have attributes that would have make you a good teacher, or you have been a leader in your career but perhaps you seem to enjoy working independently. Again this is just a tool to give you insights into how you like to live and work. Using this information will help you in your lifestyle planning journey. There are other books like What Color Is My Parachute by Richard N. Bolles you may have seen during your working life, which provide additional activities which provide further insights. Word of caution all the books and tests have limitations and the information may not resonate with you and that is okay. All this research will help you learn a little more about yourself, if one test, theory or book doesn’t resonate move on, remember you have time.

Once you have your lists and have completed a couple of personality tests you may want to dig a little deeper, a couple of books you may want to look to help you are:

• Go Put Your Strengths To Work. Marcus Buckingham’s books have guided millions to become top performers in everything they do by focusing on their strengths.
• StrengthsFinder 2.0, is the second addition of this Gallop assessment book, which looks at the language of 34 themes, and much more. You can read this book in one sitting, but use it as a reference for decades. SF 2.0 is loaded with hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths

We hope this blogs helps you on your journey to find your strengths give you some direction to move forward. But remember you don’t have to get it right the first time, finding things you don’t like is learning as well. Life is a highway enjoy the ride.

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2 thoughts on “So What Am I Good At?

  1. A. Atangan Reply

    Thank you, Mike! I just found myself “awakened to living a full(er) life”. I am considering retiring in 3 years (after the house is paid up) and have been miserable at work. My recent FB post describes where I think I am – “existential ANGST”. I love what I do (pharmacist) and have ambitions of having a greenhouse and fish farming. Your article make me more focused. Thank you!

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Glad to hear, there are so many opportunities out there in VL, we just have to allow ourselves to get out of the way and dream. Let us know how you make out

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