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Tool Time: Retooling Your Skills For Your Third Act

You’re on the cusp of retirement, you have a lot of nursing talent, you like to be busy helping others, and you haven’t got a clue as to how you want to spend your next Third Act. Does this resonate with you? Why not reinvent who you are by retooling what you already know and do so well and creating a new direction for yourself?

Here is Lori’s story as an example of a nurse practitioner I have coached on retooling herself.

Lori was a self-described “burned out nurse” ready to retire. “I don’t want to go back to any kind of clinical nursing” she told me. Instead, she started retooling her nursing skills to reflect a more holistic approach to health and got trained as a Wellness Coach, aligned with a nutrition company that provided business training as well as an online store of high quality nutritional products and began her new journey while remaining grounded in her nursing foundation. She is a lot happier now and doesn’t see retirement as stopping, but just transitioning into who she has evolved to be as a nurse.

Her story reminds me of how easily our nursing education and experiences can be retooled into new and interesting directions whenever we need a change. If this resonates with you, here are a few tips to help start the re-tooling process:

1. Do you really want to change once you are retired?

There are times in our lives when we’re forced to reinvent ourselves. For example, when my last job got so stressful and I knew it was killing me, I knew I needed a change. I was also close to retirement but still wanted to work, so I thrust myself into the world of the unknown – trying to reinvent myself without having a clue as to how to do that. I actually had never thought about what retirement would look like for me, but I knew for sure I would never stop being productive doing something.

So, do you really want to change? YES or NO

2. Stop thinking of yourself as being retired.

  • Let’s retire the word retired and focus on being re-tooled.

  • Create a positive mindset about entering Your Third Act and appreciate all the surprises, challenges and joys that will unfold.

  • Make a personal affirmation to convince yourself that you are not done, but are taking another path towards a fulfilling life.

Fill in the blank: In the future I will be joyfully working at _______________________.

3. Assess your work history for skills

  • Evaluate your resume and highlight the skills you already possess

  • Examine your job experiences and make a detailed list of all the things you do well and enjoy

  • List the skills that that were never part of your job description, yet were required for you in order to succeed.

  • List all soft-skills as well as hard skills.

  • List educational presentations you have made that have been persuasive

  • List research skills you have developed

  • How skilled are you at writing and communication

  • Consider all the extra-ordinary experiences you have had on the job that helped you develop creative thinking skills or sharpened organization capabilities.

4. Attach yourself to the right people.

In today’s interconnected world it’s easier than ever to network with people from all over the world. While people have associated social networking with meeting new friends and finding job opportunities, you can also connect with people who can change you for the better. Linkedin is a great business social media site where you can connect with other nursing groups who may have interests that inspire you.

5. Learn.

Whether if it’s reading or attending a workshop or webinar, find ways to enhance your knowledge. It will make you a more well-rounded individual and help you grow both personally and professionally.

  • There are so many FREE Webinar Series with content you can immerse yourself in that you will come away with ideas, connections and motivation.

  • Take a class for inspiration or develop new skills.

  • Many colleges offer free tuition to retirees

  • Find a local program that focuses on entrepreneurship if what you want is to run your own business.

6. Work part time

  • Volunteer

  • Freelance in an area that fits your talents

  • If you have always been a nurse but always dreamed about being a writer, then start writing a blog on your life experiences and ultimately it could be a book that generates some income. (I did that to create my book Too Busy for YOU?)

7. Find a mentor.

Here are types of mentors:

  • Direct. The mentor is in front of you and will guide you.

  • Indirect. These are mentors who aren’t physically with you, like authors.

  • Everything can be a mentor.

If you have mentor that insists that you do things their way, learn it their way and then do it your way. My favorite mentor is someone successfully doing what I want to do

8. Manage your finances.

Reinventing yourself won’t always be free. For example, if you want to change careers, you may have to take workshops or college courses. Because of that, it’s important that you create a realistic budget so you have the funds to complete your transformation. Remember “it takes money to make money”.

9. Take one step at a time.

Reinvention is a process that could take years. Don’t overwhelm yourself by getting consumed on the big picture. Take steps to accomplish your end goals. For example, if you want to get in better shape, than the first step would be going for a walk, the next step would be setting a schedule, then getting a gym membership and finally eating healthier. Take it one step at a time.

10. Believe in yourself.

Once you leave your nursing job it takes a toll on self confidence and self esteem.

But you must remind yourself of all of your personal accomplishments.

You were good at your job, in fact you were great!

You achieved goals, impressed bosses and yourself, had grateful patients and you can do it again.

This blog was inspired by:

How could you retool your nursing skills for a NEW third Act?

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