The Self-Directed Life

“We encourage you to set the bar high, no matter what you’re aiming for in life.”

Marc Eisenson, Gerri Detweiler
Nancy Castleman
Invest in Yourself:
Six Secrets to a Rich Life

Many of us spend our lives trying to please others or pursuing goals that others have set for us.  In contrast, the authors of Invest in Yourself advocate the self-designed life, “where you invest your time and energy getting what you want and doing what you believe in—not wasting them on things you don’t really want, but think you should have.”

The first step to take, in changing the direction your life, is to clarify your values and priorities.  That is because identifying and articulating what is most important to you will increase your self-understanding and strengthen your sense of autonomy.  An excellent resource to help you in this process is Values Clarification by Sidney Simon, Leland Howe, and Howard Kirschenbaum.  This book is described as “the classic guide to discovering your truest feelings, beliefs, and goals.” (more…)

Retirement: The Bigger Picture

When a person sets goals that are especially meaningful, he or she experiences a sense of mission.  A mission is always in tune with one’s values and interests and gives opportunity for those to be expressed in many ways.  A sense of mission in retirement adds an essence and quality of life, the value of which is beyond measure.

As you take steps to design your life in retirement, you may discover that your thoughts turn to deeper issues.  Many consider retirement to be a time to explore their potential. Though a nebulous concept, for some this may mean “fulfilling my purpose,” “finding and expressing my uniqueness,” “making a difference,” “having a mission,” or “leaving a legacy.”  Individuals often respond to this desire for a higher purpose in the following ways:  creativity, contribution, generativity, and spirituality. (more…)

Money Myths and Messages

It is important to keep in mind that cultural messages have a profound influence on our money beliefs.  Intellectually we can disagree, but subconsciously these messages can affect how we feel about money.  Therefore, true financial freedom is more than having a lot of money; it is being free of money myths and notions that influence our money attitudes and behaviors.

For example, there is a lot of truth to the old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.” However, what money can “buy” is options—more alternatives to choose from as you design the life you want to live—now and in the future. (more…)

Successful Aging

As we grow older, we also have the opportunity to grow as individuals and to develop relationships that are more “grown-up.”  In Creative Aging, author Nancy Bost Millner wrote, “The task of consciously aging people is to stop projecting—to stop demanding that the weather, the children, and the universe do what they want them to do.”  She also noted that the self-aware individual will come to realize that expecting another person to complete them, take care of them, and make them happy is not only unrealistic, but also unfair. (more…)

Balance and Pupose

To balance one’s life is to bring all areas of life into a state of equilibrium or stability. Focusing on only one or two areas of life can work for awhile (and is sometimes necessary), but eventually life will begin to feel out of kilter and then start spinning out of control.

For example, individuals may have this experience when their careers have taken precedence at the expense of other areas of life such as relationships, leisure, or health. Hopefully, this imbalance can be recognized and corrected before important relationships disintegrate, leisure becomes a forgotten art, and health is compromised. (more…)