Whether we realize it or not, the roles we play in life often shape critical aspects of our identities and therefore have a significant effect on our “self-regard” – meaning our overall sense of self-worth and self-esteem, which can run along a continuum of positive to negative. With a high level of positive self-regard, we feel good about our abilities, outcomes and contributions leading to an affirming and confident mindset about ourselves. This then translates into an attitude of confidence and optimism when embracing new challenges and opportunities.
Facing an Identity Crossroads
For many considering retirement, just under the surface is an unsettling sensation that they are about to lose some very key pieces of their identity. Often, this nagging concern is really about the impending loss of significant professional roles in which they have performed well. Typically, they have received positive feedback in terms of compliments, recognition and income. Over many years, this has provided validation, security, purpose and belonging. It is only natural that the sudden loss of these roles can leave prospective retirees feeling somewhat unsure of themselves.
Inventorying Professional Roles for Fulfillment
One antidote to this anxiety-producing situation is to inventory the roles you play in your professional life. Which do you find fulfilling, and which would you gladly leave behind? For example, while you might broadly see yourself as a lawyer, within that role you might notice that you play several sub roles, such as adviser, mentor, project manager, negotiator and business developer. Perhaps advisor and mentor are the roles that most fulfill you, and recognizing that, it becomes possible to consider how to bring those roles forward into your new chapter—not as lawyer—but in a fresh context and capacity.
Reinventing Roles for a Fulfilling Retirement
On the other hand, ignoring this risk altogether can have unwanted consequences, including a loss of confidence and enthusiasm—both of which are requisites to building new pathways into engagement and satisfaction. Don’t ignore the important matters of roles and identity as you consider retirement—instead dig in to discover possibilities for expanded opportunity.
The retirement coaches at Encoraco work with highly successful lawyers and business professionals to navigate changing roles and provide a roadmap to a satisfying retirement.