I recently had the privilege of meeting Professor Frank Dick OBE, to gain insights from one of the best sports coaches in the world, and how this could help me create more value in what I do.

I was struck by the similarities between great sports psychology and great retirement psychology. My interpretation was that the same principles that make a great sportsman or a great sports team, can also be used in planning a great retirement, and a more fulfilling retirement transition.

I would like to share with you eight views on my current thinking,

1) The word retirement, needs to be retired! How can society continue to define people by a word that means ‘to withdraw’, or ‘to disappear’, when a 65 year old might have another 25 years to live ?

2) Instead I propose we use words like, Re-Imagine, Re-Invent, and Re-Juvinate, because when you think about it, it’s the beginning of a new chapter ; it’s the new frontier. It’s your ‘Freedom Years’™.

3) A few years ago when John Glenn said he was going back into space at the age of 77, the media where a little concerned. John replied “Just because I’m 77, doesn’t mean I still don’t have dreams.”

4) Longevity in itself is not a purpose. It’s not about trying to be eternally young or watching Antiques Roadshow repeats, it’s about relationships, being productive, and figuring out how to have fun again! Freedom to reflect, freedom to play, freedom to write, freedom to…!

5) A winning retirement mindset is able to regenerate. It heals itself on an ongoing basis through stimulation which comes from transitioning from working life success, to ‘freedom based’ significance.

6) It’s important to ‘think forward’. Is your future bigger than your past, or is your past bigger than your future ? It’s easy to fall into the latter mindset , which is why it’s essential to face forward, because that’s where the future is !

7) To help with the above, it’s not necessarily the questions we ask ourselves, but that we never stop asking the questions. To stop asking questions is to stop learning, to stop learning is to stop growing, and to stop growing, can lead to premature ageing.

8) Dealing with change is probably the biggest issue in terms of your family, your future, and your finances, and so here are four top tips, 

  • Control the Controllable’s – there will always be uncertainty, but control the things you can control, and know your risk management plan.
  • Error Elimination – you need to think of and play through your ‘what if’ scenarios and have processes for minimising potential errors. Talk to people about your plans, bounce ideas around in good time before making any firm decisions.
  • Marginal Gains – the things that look as if they are ‘almost nothing’ , when added together create a ‘something’ ! It’s very often these barely perceptible differences that create the value, and make the difference to your retirement transition.
  • Agility to change Mindset – the ability to adapt, and assess your plans on an ongoing basis, and be open to new ways of reaching your desired outcome.

The Freedom Years™ mindset provides time for a new chapter in life, time for relationships, perhaps even a new career.

Keep ‘thinking forward’ and keep asking questions.

Control the controllable’s and protect your downside.

Find places where you can discuss these issues freely, to give yourself the best chance of making the right decisions.

Austyn Smith creator of The Freedom Years Process ™