Retiring to Busan from Seoul has guaranteed I would be next to water. Currently I am on Gwangali Beach (actually sipping ice coffee from a nearby coffee shop) enjoying the beach. Though it is hot outside (33 C) I am near the ocean which means there is a slight breeze coming off the water. Having a breeze when it is 33 C outside is nice. Watching people on jet skis and sailboats gliding by is also nice. As I am not working, I don’t have to wear a suit and am instead wearing shorts which is one of the perks when you retire- you don’t need to dress up but can in fact dress down. I hope to wear my tailored suits again someday but am not too concerned. Though I planned this escape to Busan for a while I am still amazed it has come to pass. I reached this retirement goal of living on a beach in Korea because of several reasons. Long term planning, setting goals, and of course having the goddess of fortune smile down upon me. Getting to this place has required planning, taking action, taking chances and moving forward even though I felt like stopping at times. Fortune came my way when I started to take chances and made the effort to change my life.
Looking back, my career (actually several careers) had ups and downs but at the end concluded successfully. Though I’ve constantly reminded my colleagues that what they need is a long term plan, I never really voiced my opinion that taking chances (which means taking action) is just as important. One of the reasons I had a very successful career was the fact I took chances and recognized the potential opportunities that presented themselves as a result of my taking action. All of the people I know who have had successful careers (legal, business, etc.) all took chances and all took action. Look around you. I assume that the people you know that are successful in life all had to take chances and all had to actually take action.
Taking chances and action are just as important as long term planning or goal setting. However, before you set goals you need to think about the direction you want to go in. I know a number of lawyers who burned out and dropped out of the practice of law. Perhaps if they figured out what they liked or were interested in, they may have gone in a different direction or stayed in the legal profession (which is quite large) and gone in a slightly different area of law. That goes for those in other professions or careers. If you do something you like or at least understand the areas you are interested in you can then set goals, plan ahead and then take chances when opportunities come your way. For those who don’t know what to do or feel stuck, a career coach may be advisable. Or simply sitting down with your peers and asking for advice. If you are lucky enough to have a mentor, take advantage of that fact and sit down with your mentor. He or she may point you in a new direction but that maybe what you need.
In retirement, there are few really pressing needs. There is no longer an office to go to or a deadline to meet. In fact, I am at a coffee shop overlooking one of my favorite beaches sipping an ice tea. Time therefore takes on a different meaning than for many people caught up in the daily rat race. But in fact it should serve to remind you that to be successful you need to set goals and take chances. Come up with a plan but don’t be afraid to veer from it if opportunities present themselves. Things tend to unfold gradually not instantly. It may take a while to see where you are going, but you may be able to at least know you are going forward to your dreams. What are your dreams? Have you thought about that?
If you are in business, look down the road. What are the business trends for 5 years from now that you see? What about 10 years from now? To be successful you need to see long term business trends and cycles. If you are practicing law, look down the road. What areas of law will be hot 5 years from now? Are you positioned to take advantage of it? Sure you need to think about tomorrow, but more importantly, you need to think about 5-10 years from now! Have you thought about your long term marketing plan? What are your 5 or 10 year goals? Are you doing what you like? If not, why not? Are you getting the experience you need? If not, why not? What should you do to get the experience you need?
Everyone needs a long term plan. But to get to where you eventually want to be, you need to also take chances and also take action. Don’t just sit at the computer all day wishing you were doing something different. Do something different. So my advice is as follows:
Start thinking about what you want to do or where you want to be in 5 years
Start developing goals to get you where you want to be in 5 years
Start taking action to implement your goals
Start taking chances to meet your goals
Start taking the opportunities that come your way once you start taking action
It all begins when you start taking chances.