It's been a while since I've sent anything to you since I know everyone's been busy just trying to get through this year without another email to read. There's never been another year like it and hopefully, better things are ahead for 2021.
In the midst of all the challenges good things have happened for many of my clients and friends and I hope for you also. Some people have used their new-found time at home to launch businesses, get new jobs, develop skills, or figure out how to do 6th-grade math to home-school their children.
It's hard to believe it's been 4 years since I left my corporate life, launched a new business, 2 1/2 years since I published my book and I still feel like Every Night's Friday Night! I heartily endorse the idea of retiring from a full-time job and finding new work and interests to pursue. Other than living through a pandemic, this has been a good time in my life and many of my clients feel the same who have changed their lives for the better in spite of all the challenges.
Unfortunately, many people are still struggling with businesses closed or greatly reduced in scope and others lost jobs that have not been replaced. And my heart goes out to those who have had Covid or had friends or family members who have become ill or even died. This would have been something unthinkable even a year ago and now we hear only of increases in numbers every week.
My hope is that our new government's leadership will be able to execute plans to reduce the impact of this virus and eventually moves our lives forward to a new place of safety and gratitude for every new day.
Opportunities for growth will increase as we enter a new time of working from anywhere and hybrid work that combines in-person and virtual. I've enjoyed working virtually this year with my clients and while I hope to someday also be able to do in-person sessions, I've been surprised at how effective we can be as long as we see one another. It may become tiring to live our lives on screens, but we've learned we can do more than we thought and use our time efficiently.
The popularity of podcasts has also dramatically increased and it's now a $1 billion dollar industry that lets us connect with others when we don't want to be on a screen but are driving or taking a walk. It's something that I and many of my clients are considering as an addition to our regular services to reach more people in new ways. Check out Anchor by Spotify if you want to read more about ways to create a podcast.
I'm looking forward to Jan. 20th and next summer and fall when hopefully vaccines will be available and the world will become more accessible.
Enjoy your holiday season remotely or in small groups and I wish you a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate. Know that you are in my thoughts as we search for new ways to become inclusive and supportive of one another in the new year.
I hope you, your family and friends are safe and not going stir-crazy while we all get through this pandemic together but apart. Most of us never imagined we'd live through watching people become sick and die globally at such an alarming rate with more still to come.
Being confined to our homes except for the most essential activities emphasizes the importance of connecting virtually if we can't spend time together in person as we're accustomed to doing. I'm seeing my clients virtually and just had "virtual coffee" with a friend.
I always like to bring you new resources in my blogs so today I want to tell you about a website I find very interesting to help us connect virtually during this time of physical distancing.
This is a website focused on my passion to help clients find what will be most meaningful at the next stage of their lives, or as Amava calls it "discover your next." The website is a start-up company designed for people 45+ who may be looking for part-time jobs or volunteer work in their retirement and ways to connect virtually.
I discovered the site because one of my clients, Lita Reyes, who has her own philanthropy consulting business, recently did some consulting work there as a Partner Relations Manager. She shares my interest in creating a mosaic of activities that is right for her at this stage in life. Check out Amava.com. It's free to become a member and at this time in our lives, I think it's especially valuable.
I've been trying to think of what else I can offer to others during this difficult time. Many people have lost their jobs or watched their savings drop dramatically. So, I decided to lower the cost of my consulting services and the cost of my book from now until the end of June in the hopes this might help.
The signed, hardcover copy of my book, Every Night's Friday Night will now be $20 and this includes taxes and shipping in the US. It's available on my website AndreaHuff.com. I'll also reduce the cost of my consulting services during this time and you can contact me at [email protected] AndreaHuff.com if you'd like more information about fees.
Stay safe and I wish you and your family good health. If I can help you in any way let me know.
I keep meeting people who know they want to move on from their current jobs but tell me they’re afraid to quit. They say they don’t want to keep doing what they’re doing, but they’re addicted to work and don’t know what the next options in their lives could be so they stay put. Some need money or like power and identity. But, they say work is consuming their lives and they don’t have time for their friends, families or to learn anything new. They feel stuck.
What would you ideally be doing if you weren’t at work all day? Some people can’t answer that question since it’s all they know and they can’t imagine not doing it. Even for people who like their current jobs, they know it's not what they want to be doing in the future.
Story about MJ
A friend of mine made a great transition from a full-time job as a speech therapist which she left since she knew she didn’t want to do this in the next stage of her life. She considered many options and decided to go back to school for an MBA in wine management and is now working part-time for a hotel company designing wine tours, events, and tastings for people who are visiting the California wine country.
She knew she wanted to make work a key part of her retirement, loves the interaction with people, learning new things and the flexibility this job offers so she can spend time contributing to the community and traveling, two of her favorite things.
She took a risk and it paid off in a big way. It meant making some changes to her lifestyle but it was worth it for the time and freedom she gained and a chance to do something she really enjoys she can continue to do for years into her retirement.
Ask yourself like MJ did, "Is what I'm doing now setting me up for success in the next thing I want to do?" If you’re getting closer to retirement age, this is especially important since retirement doesn’t mean not working these days. It may mean working part-time, creating a new business or reducing the hours you work in your business. Most people want an active retirement filled with things that are meaningful, fun, offer new learning and contribute to others. If your current job isn’t laying a foundation for what you want in the next stage of life, it's time to invest in your future.
I’ve helped hundreds of people who are facing this challenge create innovative plans and execute them. Go to the “How to Get Started” section on my homepage and book a free half-hour discussion about your situation and the process we'd use to make changes in your life and work so what you’re doing now prepares you for the future you deserve.
Look forward to talking!
I hope everyone had a great and relaxing holiday season! How can the decades go by so quickly since it seems like it was just 2010? But, here we are starting a new decade which is exciting and a bit daunting when you think about how fast the last 10 years went and how life feels now vs. then.
I like to reflect on the good things that happened in the last decade or the past year before I begin thinking about how I'd like the future to be different. Make a quick list of the things you feel best about last year and in the last decade. Then look for themes and patterns and ask two simple things:
- What could I let go of?
- What's missing?
One of my clients said she felt good when she read the many things she did at work and with her family and friends in the last year and decade. But, she wants this year and decade to be different.
What she said is missing for her is something she could do for her community or non-profit organizations to create social change. These last several years made her aware it was time to let go of the focus only on herself and her circle of contacts and to broaden the scale of contributions she can make to others.
She's starting by volunteering at a local nonprofit that promotes low-cost housing and is getting involved politically. She doesn't have extra time to do these things, but she's making the time by letting go of other things that used to seem important but now are less so to her in this new decade.
Ask yourself how do you want this year and decade to look different? Find the patterns of how you're using your time and ask the key questions, what's missing and what can I let go of? Maybe you'll find nothing is missing and you want the next year and decade to look the same as the past. But, I haven't heard anyone say that so far.
One client told me she's going to have more fun this year and is taking a class and going on a trip - two things she told herself she couldn't afford, but she's letting go of her concern about never having enough money and moving forward.
If you need help figuring out what is most important to you in the long term and what you could let go of and start doing differently to make these changes in the next decade check out AndreaHuff.com and see if there are ways I can help.
In the meantime enjoy a fresh start in the New Year!
This photo is the work of one of my clients, Liz Lauter, who came to me to explore her retirement options and we created a business for her that is focused on ceramics, paintings, and textile designs. She made this menorah which I think represents the holiday season we will soon be beginning. (LizLauter.com)
Holidays are a Time for Reflection Then Action
Holidays can be crazy, fun, non-stop activities. Don't let them fly by without finding time to stop, relax and articulate insights you have had about the next stage of your life. This time to pause and take stock can give you a new direction and creative solutions to experiment with during the new year. Reflection is necessary, but not enough without taking action and trying new things.
Create an identity and story that links your current self with the new self you might want to become. Don't wait until the third stage of your life to decide how to spend your later years. Start exploring and experimenting now.
Pick one thing you could do differently in the New Year to bring you closer to the identity you may want to have 10 - 20 years from now or sooner. You could join a new organization, learn a new skill, get a new certification, become a board member or advisor, negotiate a sabbatical, volunteer or intern to explore other fields or expand your connections to tell your story to new people in a new way.
Describe what you've done in the past that has brought you to this new option and made you an ideal candidate for this new role.
Few people get it right the first time. It takes experimenting and small wins to find the most meaningful choices. Fits and starts are to be expected when you're in a process of self-renewal. Interim steps are often required before finding a new identity that feels like your true self and can take several years before it seems right. But, that's the fun of it. You're learning and evolving so it's supposed to be confusing and at times you'll feel stuck. But, along the way opportunities will arise and if they feel right give them a chance.
Holidays and the transition to a new year are ideal times for fresh starts. How can you shake up your life to get to the best version of your identity?
Happy Holidays, Andrea
I’ve heard from many of you that you’d like to be able to work with me virtually from anywhere in a way that is more affordable than my individual coaching program. One thing led to another, and to develop the best program possible required a new website to enhance the process.
So, here’s AndreaHuff.com with some new content, a free eBook you can download and a new Groups heading that will allow me to work with 10 people at a time every other week for 3 months in a virtual setting on Zoom supported by a private community spot on the website for sharing resources.
The program will be called, “How to Develop a Meaningful Next Stage of Life” and will put into practice many of the topics in my book, Every Night’s Friday Night: Time and Freedom for the Rest of Your Life.
Since many of my clients are dealing with similar issues, this allows them to be resources for one another in addition to working with me. Connections are a powerful tool for designing creative ways to transition to this next stage of life.
This new website also allows you to purchase the group coaching program right on the site if you choose, or schedule a free ½ hour session to talk to me and decide if this is the right fit for you. You can now book this discovery session on the website and I have listed the times I have available to do these sessions on the site.
We'll select timing for the 3-month group sessions later this year once I hear when is most convenient for those attending, taking into account different time zones. I’ll also record each session in case you miss one or want to review parts of it again.
The first 10 people who sign up will be all I can take at this point. I’ve offered the group at a cost that is 60% less than my 3-month individual session programs so hopefully, this will allow me to help more people make decisions regarding the next stage of their lives.
I'll post this information on LinkedIn later this week but wanted to let those of you who have supported me in the past know about it first.
Go to the Groups section on the website: https://andreahuff.com/third-stage-program to learn more about what the program includes.
I look forward to hearing from those of you who are interested, and please forward this to your friends if you think it could be a fit for them. Let me know what you think about the new site. Thanks!
I recently found a book that was so much in keeping with my own ideas about how to live this third stage of life that I had to mention it to all of you. Thanks to a client of mine, Peter, who referred it to me, I’ll pass on the favor and do the same for you. David Brooks, the author, talks about the transition from a life of individual achievement on the first mountain to a life of commitment to others and a purpose that is important to you on the second. From a first mountain of building up the ego, defining yourself and creating accomplishments to the second mountain of transformation, contribution to others and joy. He has many good ideas for making the journey. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I did and that it is helpful to you as you make transitions in your life.
It’s been a busy year so far and I’ve been very involved working with Impact, the philanthropy organization I’ve mentioned in the past in Sonoma. I worked with them last year, and this year I’ve been the Chair of the committee that selects the finalists for their largest grant. It’s been very satisfying to now have narrowed down our nominees to present to the whole membership for their votes and to get to know new people and organizations in the county.
I’m now starting to see clients in the town of Sonoma if you know of anyone you’d like to refer, as well as doing more virtual work with clients across the country on Zoom or Skype.
My book, Every Night’s Friday Night: Time and Freedom for the Rest of Your Life is doing well and continues to be available in hardcover here on my website, everynightsfridaynight.com or on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Hardcover books are also sold in Sonoma at Readers’ Books, and in San Francisco and Palo Alto at Books, Inc. for those who live in the SF Bay Area.
Spring is the ideal time of year to start making plans for the next stage in your life and to begin thinking about re-invention and transformation. If I can help in any way let me know. I’m happy to do a free half-hour consulting session by phone to see if there’s a fit. If you’re interested, email me at [email protected]
Let me know how you’re doing as you start to climb your second mountain.
I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of 2019. This year I plan to do some blogs that highlight people I know who are doing interesting things in the third stage of their lives and helping others to manage some aspect of aging or retirement in an energizing way.
This month I’m featuring Karen McCall, the founder of Financial Recovery Institute, which helps people create lifestyles filled with meaning, satisfaction and abundance regarding their money.
She has written a book, Financial Recovery: Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money, and launched a new blog last month called 75 & Thrive dedicated to women 60+ to help them fully maximize this time of their lives.
A client of mine referred her to me and she asked if I would do a video with her to launch her new blog since she had recently bought my book and found we had similar views on ways to make this stage of life meaningful and fulfilling.
I highly recommend her blog and book and enjoyed our interview which you can see here.
Sign up for her information, much of which is free, at 75&Thrive.com and take charge of your relationship with money at any stage in your life.
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and getting ready to take some time off work or your regular activities to reflect on this past year and contemplate the arrival of 2019.
My photo this month is thanks to our son, Jeffrey and his wife, Leah, for having these great socks in the middle made for me that look just like the cover of my book! The two of them are a creative team and Leah has impressive computer skills. We thought the socks were so funny that we hung them with the rest of our regular Christmas stockings we've had for years. The 2 small ones next to my Every Night's Friday Night ones were my mother's that she made when she was 8 years old. Amazing they're still in one piece from 1930.
My stocking is one I made when I was 8 years old - also hanging in here after all these years and I sewed the ones and embroidered the names Jeffrey and Mike at the top of them the year Jeff was born. Also, a long time ago during my hands-on, artsy, DIY period.
These stockings reminded me that I hadn't written a blog this year on a chapter in my book that's especially important - Chapter 7, Connections - to others and to yourself. The importance of this may seem obvious, but it can become harder in retirement and during the third stage of life to keep connections alive and healthy when you're not seeing people at work or regularly as you once did.
The holidays are a perfect time to reach out to others - old friends, new friends, your partner, children and grandchildren, people you don't know who could enrich your lives. And it’s an ideal season to find time to better know yourself. Alone time is hard to come by when you're working full time and it's hard to keep up with friends you already have when you're traveling or always preparing for your next thing.
As we age we develop more interest in reflection and time to feel gratitude for all the things we've experienced. Aging is a paradox of joy and challenge and sometimes the difficult, painful things turn out to provide the introspection and contentment we couldn't find when we were busy striving for them.
I'm thankful for these last two years of my retirement and the combination of active engagement and time for reflection it has given me. I am especially grateful to all of you who have been part of this journey with me whether it's reading these blogs, buying my book and passing it on to others, writing reviews, being part of my coaching practice or the non-profit, philanthropy work with Impact 100 Sonoma. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to connect with you, and let's find time to celebrate the joy of another holiday season and the possibilities a new year offers!
Happy Thanksgiving! I feel very thankful for all the new people I’ve met and talked to this year as a result of my book, consulting and website. It’s been a good year, a lot of work but also a satisfying time. Amazon now has the paperback and Kindle version of my book available right away, and thanks to everyone who pre-ordered it from Amazon. Please also review the book on Amazon whenever you get the chance.
This month the topic I want to discuss relates to an experience many of my clients have had and that I experienced recently and would suggest that others take some proactive steps to address before it’s time to retire. I should have included it in the book in Chapter 8, Time is the New Money, when I discussed financial issues.
For 25 years we had a great CPA who helped us make some complicated financial decisions, was very knowledgeable, responsive and made tax preparation a tolerable process. Then you can guess what happened. She retired and sold her business to someone who was not at her level. This made it clear to us how critical it is to have a strong CPA or tax advisor on your team (who is preferably a bit younger than you are and not retiring soon) and who is very up-to-date on all the latest tax changes. Even if you manage your investments yourself, it’s important to have a team of advisors and a good tax accountant is high on my list.
We all need someone who can help us navigate decisions about Social Security, real estate sales and exchanges, philanthropy including DAFs (Donor Advised Funds) to help reduce capital gains taxes, handle Required Minimum Distributions from IRAs or other tax issues. We may not be ready to do all those things now, but everyone needs good tax advice so do you feel satisfied with your accountant or tax advisor as we end another year? We will all eventually need to make decisions that will keep our retirement funds secure and growing while minimizing taxes.
Your attorney, financial advisor or friends can hopefully refer you to a new accountant should you need one, but I wish we hadn’t waited this long to find our new CPA. We might have been able to open a DAF account sooner or avoided paying some taxes. Our attorney referred us to the new person we hired whom we have much more confidence in than our last CPA.
Time and money are assets that need to be well managed regardless of your age or financial resources. A team of good advisors can help you feel secure financially and free to focus on how to spend your time enjoying the third stage of life.