The Nest Is Empty, What Do I Do Next?

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In the past few weeks, three friends have asked me this, “What am I going to do when the kids leave the nest?” These friends are nothing alike.  They live in different towns, have unique career paths and varied marital status. But what they do have in common is that they are over 50, want to feel valued and do something that makes them happy.

So they posed the question and while I cannot answer it for them, I can provide some guidelines on how you can determine your next path.

When have you been at the top of your game?  What situations bring out the best in you? When do you hear yourself saying, “I GOT THIS!” and really mean it.

Think of a situation when you knew your performance was really good and others recognized you for it.  It could be that you were an amazing editor when your friends came to you for help writing emails to their colleagues. Or maybe you spoke at a meeting and were complimented for expressing your point of view. Have you worked on an auction committee and were successful at soliciting gifts? You could have a career in sales.

Whatever the behavior is that you do well, think about how much you like it. If you enjoy doing the activities you have been recognized for,  go one step further and ask yourself this question:

What values are important to me right now? What was important to you in your 20s is not the same as what is important to you today. Here are some values to think about. Have fun ranking them in order of priority and then pick your top 3. And if there is an important value missing from this list then add it!

-Advancement

-Balance

-Challenge

-Contribution

-Community

-Financial security

-Flexibility

-Making a difference

-Power

-Recognition

-Responsibility

-Wisdom

So now that you have a better sense of what you do well and what you like doing, marry these ideas with the three chosen values from the above list. Still somewhat lost? Get together with friends and brainstorm (Another good way to stay occupied when the nest is empty is to get together with friends.) You will come out of the session with new ideas about volunteer or paid work that reflects both your strengths and values.

Once you find your sweet spot and put your passion into play,  you will be so busy that you may even forget once in awhile that anyone has left the nest.

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About Author

Denise Rosenblum is the President and Founder of Dynamic Development, a training company that specializes in developing employees to become stronger communicators, managers and leaders. Denise works with companies to create an environment where employees feel valued as a result of career development, training, feedback and coaching. Denise has over 30 years of professional development and marketing experience having worked at global companies including McCann Erickson, Young and Rubicam, Hill Holliday and Arnold Worldwide. Denise is a seasoned trainer, speaker, executive coach and an expert in communication skills, customer service and management and leadership development. She has excellent insight into people’s strengths and opportunities for growth. In her current role, as President of Dynamic Development, Denise has an extensive track record of building successful managers and leaders. Her areas of expertise include:

  • Executive leadership and management coaching
  • Identifying communication styles and how/where to flex your style
  • Providing talent assessment evaluations to company leadership
  • Building business through relationships and excellent client service
  • Performance management and giving constructive feedback
  • Developing and delivering successful and engaging presentations
  • Conducting efficient and productive meetings
  • Time management and prioritization

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