In a recent survey I asked 55 people in their 50s what were the most pressing issues when thinking about life planning.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the most common concern was about money. 53% of people said that planning their finances was the top priority. Pensions have become headline news in recent years. The range of options has increased and become more complicated. No surprise then that 40% of our survey group had already consulted a financial adviser even though only 10% had made a clear plan for what they want to do next with their life.
What was more of a surprise was that only 17% recognised that relationships may be something to consider when life planning for the future.
For better or worse…
In my experience of running life planning programmes I see that this is often an aspect of life transitions that is neglected. I clearly remember a very positive and upbeat couple who attended a group session in St Helens a few years ago. When asked to articulate their dreams and aspirations for the next stage of life the husband described his dream of touring Europe in a camper van. His wife was looking forward to retiring from the NHS and training to set up her own alternative therapy practice. Clearly some tricky conversations that had been avoided up until that point! By understanding each other’s needs and communicating more effectively they were able to make a practical plan that worked for both of them.
The complexity of relationships and the importance they play in all aspects of our lives hit home to me even more when working with one of my individual clients recently. Beth’s story shows how a decision about work options turned into a whole life changing experience with the insights provided by our personal profile and relationship model, Total SDI.
Several years ago I was considering the direction I wanted to take. After a tough time at work I was being strongly encouraged to leave corporate life by my husband; a plan that was not yet mine!
Using Total SDI as part of the coaching programme with Judith was an amazingly positive experience for me. With her help I recognised my destructive feelings, instincts and adapted behaviour were significantly impacting my relationship and home life. I was in a vicious circle and I was working away an awful lot, using work as an excuse, to escape judgement at home.The words which resonated the most and I recall 4 years on, were that I had been ‘masking’ my own natural style of learning and nurturing others. I had adopted the more aggressive style of the organisation I worked for …. in order to survive!
Judith helped me to see myself for all of my strengths. Now my career as an independent consultant is thriving, I have freedom and flexibility in life, balanced with an challenging and enjoyable project with a great client.
More importantly the Total SDI tool and the conversation with Judith which she undertook with grace, care, sensitivity and kindness also helped rescue my home life from the brink of potential disaster. Using the Total SDI language I could see in a heartbeat the strengths of my husband and the reasons why he wanted me to leave my job. He was not wanting to control me but to liberate my spirit and natural energy and I had judged him wrongly.
The rest of the story was then in my hands. I became excited about our future together, our family growing up and a path we have now built together where growing old is a positive vision and not something to be feared. My husband is thriving in his business, the children are balanced and happy, we have completely renovated our home and dreams are starting to take shape for the next phase of life.
There will be no retirement. We intend instead to contribute to the world differently; health and fitness have taken on a whole new dimension, we want to be around for a long time to come…together!
Create your future together
Stories like Beth’s inspired me to develop a unique life planning programme, Time of your life for partners. I want to help people understand and share their dreams so that they can support each other and create a great future together. By combining one to one time with time for discussion together there is the opportunity to work out what’s right for both individuals and be supported in creating a shared plan.
If you would like to know more then visit my webpage.
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