Letting go of ambition in retirement

While visiting my grandson in Brooklyn recently, I had lunch with a childhood friend from Kansas City, a New Yorker since the 1980’s. We are both 61, two weeks apart in age, and have always had a lot in common, despite different professional trajectories over a 40-year stretch. My friend has had a long, exciting and eclectic career, most recently as a writer of books. But, she is winding down, focusing on passion projects that are more personal than profitable. Unsurprisingly, so am I.

After catching up, our talk turned to the subject of ambition and how we are starting to feel a growing freedom from it. That sense that, while there are still things we want to accomplish, there is little left to prove or push toward. And, boy, does it feel good!

Arguably one of the most common drivers of success in the Western world, ambition is a two-edged sword. It can propel us to power, prominence and prosperity. But, it can also blind us to what is truly important, to deeper relationships and the natural course of our life.

As we approach the starting line of retirement – if we’re lucky – we free ourselves from ambition and look at our life’s achievements with satisfaction and contentment, embracing the idea that they were “enough.” More importantly, we can allow better things to come in the future without holding them to old standards. (Does this thing bring me power, prominence or prosperity?)

You might ask, “Isn’t that easier said than done? How is a person, fueled by ambition their entire career, supposed to just turn it off like that?”

Fortunately, our extensive work with clients suggests it rarely has to happen “just like that.”  Most clients experience a waning of ambition over time. They just need help replacing it with more meaningful drivers – philanthropy, mentorship, self-improvement, education and enrichment, intimacy and/or a sense of purpose.

That’s why Fit-To-Retire recognizes Self Identity as one of the five critical areas of retirement success. The transition to retirement from a successful career requires a shift in attitude that doesn’t magically happen overnight.

Our certified coaches are trained to identify areas of concern and work with clients on finding new motivators. By the time they complete our 3-step program, even the most ambitious clients will be more prepared and enthusiastic to pursue, enjoy and reap the intangible rewards of their new lives.

Get started today and take the Fit-To-Retire readiness assessment. 

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