• Are You Still ‘Young’ Inside? (0) October 10, 2020Bradley Ann Morgan

    Many of you know that we provide coaching services to the aging industry, especially in the independent and assisted communities for executives and their staff. What you may not know is that we also provide coaching to anyone looking for later life fulfillment. We have coached former military veterans, retired college professors, police officers, and even physicians looking for something fulfilling after a career of saving lives in major hospitals. Aside from achieving a specific age, each of them told us they were ‘still young inside’ or ‘had a lot of life yet to live’. With our clients’ consent, we’ll tell you about two real life stories; and, how you might separate age from achievement.
    After retiring from the police force Chris was still in good physical condition and restless for a similar level of physical and mental activity. Only now he wanted to be involved in larger effort of the community, perhaps even on a national level. With our sessions together, he planned his strategy to join SeaWorld on their waste-management stewardship program. Chris is able to travel nationally to help the parent company work with suppliers to identify new products that could meet the demanding needs of parks that attract millions of guests. The new products will replace 12.5 million pieces of dinnerware the parks have previously disposed of each year. The plates, forks, knives and spoons that are now used in the parks’ restaurants look and feel like plastic, but are actually made from renewable resources such as sugarcane and vegetable starch. According to Chris, “I’m 65 years young and still robust. Most people are surprised when they discover I’m still working instead of sitting at home in front of the TV. I don’t think I’m atypical. Many people my age are still working and loving it. The difference when you are older is having to take a moment to adapt. Older people are adaptable and still young at heart. Age is just a stage in life and doesn’t mean you have to stop. I can still provide this kind of work, golf; and, cook the best meatloaf in town.”
    And then there’s Susan. Susan was a former English teacher for K-12 schools in the Los Angeles system. She also worked internationally in places such as, Pakistan and Central Asia. Now at 67, she felt bored, worthless and was becoming depressed. Susan told us, “I still had a sense of adventure. I felt I could still contribute to a community, and I wanted to be constructive again with kids.” After several sessions of exploration, Susan enlisted to help Global Teach Net, part of the National Peace Corp Association. NPCA is a premier professional development network for global educators. Their membership includes K-12 teachers, post-secondary educators, and non-governmental organization representatives. Here is what Susan will tell you now, “I feel more like I’m 25. I only understand my age when I look in the mirror, see a bit greyer hair and some more wrinkles. But image and appearance is irrelevant when you have something to offer.”

    Isn’t it wonderful that we now have about four generations working together in the current national workforce? About 6.4% of Americans 75 or older, slightly more than 1 million were working last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Also, almost 3.4% of Americans 80 or older, are still in the workforce whether paid or on volunteer status. What keeps these folks working with the ‘young on the inside’ view point?

    Our work with folks like this reveal:
    • Getting past 75 took a considerable amount of stress management. When these folks found they were not coping well with life’s situations, they were proactive in seeking professional help.
    • They have a sense of curiosity, about many things. They use libraries, available community services, national support units, volunteer organizations, and now, Internet groups to keep them informed of all technological and medical advancements.
    • When illness occurs, they recruited competent help. They have demon stared that they will learn how to self administrator medications and injections so that they maintain their independence. Many had a true awareness of how to maintain their health and physical vigor.
    • They maintain a social network that spans more than their birth generation; and outside of direct family members. This keeps them involved in current human issues, social needs, and what could be future requirements such as, global warming. Many have said they use strengths from the past to help solve neighborhood dilemmas, much less their own problems.
    • Most importantly, they are not afraid of outside scrutiny. They are unafraid to take the lead on a public project just because they have some arthritis. The older worker may have a different style of working, but brings a wealth of experience and reasoning to any effort.

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  • Are You Anxious About Creating Your Future? (0) August 15, 2020Bradley Ann Morgan

    After all the uncertain events this year, you may be anxious about advancing career opportunities, pending work schedules, or possibly, even feeling boldness in your training routine for a spring marathon. As is customary in any new year’s planning, many of us make personal and professional resolutions for the future without enough resources lined up for fulfillment. In reality, promises to yourself are the action vehicles that create the potential for a different future. About 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8 percent of them actually achieve them, from a study by the University of Scranton. Why?

    Most are made without enough realistic thinking. Any promise or commitment to yourself is not only how you achieve success; but, how you coordinate actions with others. There are components of commitments that make them feasible such as, the following:

    • Having a clear vision of the final outcome you desire; and, the expected steps for achievement. Write your vision on poster board or in a simple Word document so that you see it daily as a reminder, boosting your resolve.

    • Define a specified period for fulfillment; plus, any other sacrifices you may have to make along the way such as, reserving a night for homework from a night college course.

    • Enlist competent individuals for assistance whether it’s in financial planning or a career makeover. Don’t be afraid to have sincere conversations with all involved, setting clear standards of expected goals and when they are due.

    • When you have smaller goals to achieve the outcome, give each a distinct priority. This will assist you in avoiding overwhelmedness in looking at too many goals. And, you will feel more successful with small achievements along the way.

    • Design in some flexibility along the journey to success; and, don’t expect perfection. Placing pressure on yourself to produce something stupendous can make it harder to generate anything at all. “A lot of people sort of secretly feel, ‘I’m not creative,’ but everyone is creative to a certain degree. Just try your best and see what happens.” says Carrie Barron, a board-certified psychiatrist/psychoanalyst of the Columbia College of Physicians. Last in here, be willing to adjust your timeline in case of unexpected events that impact the final success.

    • Discontinue using statements that base your happiness on things or events in the future such as, “When I get that next stereo, I’ll be happy”, or, “When I take that cruise to Greece, I’ll be happy.” Expressions like these negatively impact what you want to achieve by putting off future happiness on tangible objects or purchasable experiences.

    • Use positive psychology and declarative language with yourself and others as you work toward the outcome. Be bold in declaring what you care about and nurture it. Passion is a prerequisite for producing meaningful results. During any tough times, it will be your passion and personal investment that carries you through to completion.

    • When you encounter problems don’t magnify the new difficulties into something larger than it is. Magnification of problems has become a hallmark of TV shows and the news. Remember how much eggs were maligned in previous years? There are no trophies for excessive worry and angst. Identify the skills and strengths you bring to your problem solving, enlist other key people where needed. Then, spend your energies in thoughtful action.

    • Practice ‘critical thinking’ about the challenges or risks that are ahead of you. Gather and assess pertinent information, test the information against relevant criteria and any new standards that may have come into place. And, be humble enough to listen carefully to the experts you have chosen to work with you on your ultimate success.

    “A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.”

    Denis Waitley

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  • Coping with Stress during COVID (0) July 17, 2020Bradley Ann Morgan

    With all the uncertainty of unemployment and virus, it is not uncommon to have anxiety about a new disease. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
    How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your emotional past, your social support, your financial situation, your health, and the community where you reside.
    Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes produce the following areas:
    • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, or your financial situation.
    • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
    • Worsening of chronic health problems.
    • Worsening of mental health conditions.
    • Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.
    Ways to Cope
    Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Listening to the pandemic news repeatedly can be distressing.
    Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy, reading, cooking or even gardening.
    Connect with others online or on the phone. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
    Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting through social media.
    Above all, be safe.
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  • Loss and Time to Renew (0) June 23, 2020Bradley Ann Morgan

    As many of you know, I lost my husband this year to a sudden stroke–hence, my lack of posting. As I return to the working world, thought this might help others that have had a loss too. This is by Henry Scott-Holland:

    Death is nothing at all.
    It does not count.
    I have only slipped away into the next room.
    Nothing has happened.

    Everything remains exactly as it was.
    I am I, and you are you,
    and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
    Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

    Call me by the old familiar name.
    Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
    Put no difference into your tone.
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

    Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
    Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
    Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
    Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It is the same as it ever was.
    There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
    What is this death but a negligible accident?.

    I’ll be joining you again more regularly in July of this year.

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  • Let’s Be Happy Now (0) November 27, 2019Bradley Ann Morgan

    This past January, we both attended a seminar on the components that contribute to happiness. As we listened to the participants’ voice their beliefs, one person said, “I thought I would be happy when I bought my first Mercedes. Then I thought I would be happy when I bought my ideal house. After that, I thought I would be happy when I took that glamorous Chief Editors job traveling the world in first class for the news desk. But after each one of these acquisitions, I was on to the next purchase or thing! I kept saying, I’ll be happy when….” Other attendees commented a similar reaction. Most stated that they thought happiness would occur and last when they received that new big screen TV, that next promotion, or that new office. The overall prominent remark was that none of these acquisitions or profile changes truly lasted in happiness for the individual.
    What does lead to lasting happiness? It can be vastly different for each of us. From a recent study by the assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, Ryan Howell presented his results at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s annual meeting. The study had participants answer questions about a recent purchase, either material or experiential, that they had made in the last three months with the express intent of making themselves happy. While most were generally happy with the purchase, those who wrote about experiences tended to show higher fulfillment after the experience had passed. The experiences led to more happiness than did object purchases. Professor Howell said, “When people spend money on life experiences, whether they take someone with them or buy an extra ticket, most of our life experiences involve other individuals.” Consequently, he found that people were fulfilling their need for social bonding while living through those experiences. During the experience event, they developed a sense of relation to each other. Getting closer to friends and family may be the reason why experiences generate more lasting happiness. Folks can relive the memories of those experiences many times over, in any of chapter of their lives. Let’s be happy now.
    What can you do to release yourself from the endless cycle of I’ll be happy when? Try some of these:
    • Be mindful of the very moment you are in. Try putting down the Blackberry or pager. Release the future to the future, let history be in the past; and, deliberately focus on the present. Change your body posture when necessary so that your breathing can fill your lungs & physical being with a rush of awareness of what is being said, your physical surroundings, even the true appreciation of the loyal love of a pet. Poor breathing robs essential energy and negatively affects your mental alertness. Qigong & Riki exercises both utilize breathing techniques renewing your ‘bio-fields’ for a vital life force.

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