A Vision, a Map, and A New Life: Anticipating Retirement

Paula Marie Usrey

Dear Friends,

I believe each of us has the power to live our best lives at any age. To do so, we need a clear vision of what we really want our lives to look like and a plan to make the life we want a reality.  I shared how any of us can do this in my July 2017 TEDx Talk.

I currently teach speech communication at a community college. However, in 15 months I will be retiring. I am using a process I call vision mapping to transition from working full-time to an encore career as a self-employed,  speaker,  coach, writer, training material developer, and workshop facilitator. Over the next 15 months, I will be sharing my journey with you. I’d love to hear your experiences too.

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Entry #21: How I’m Transitioning from Teacher to Entrepreneur

Right now I’m in the process of transitioning from being a teacher to becoming an entrepreneur. As some of you know, after I retire in eleven months, I plan to have my own business.

For the past several months, I’ve been reviewing web-based businesses similar to the one I want to develop. I’ve looked at start-up costs, assessed my skill set, and identified what I think are services and products I want to offer.

I’m also developing quite a library of books related to my target audience (Baby Boomers) and related to business.  One I’d highly recommend to others going into business is called Entrepreneurial You by Dorie Clark.  The author suggests developing multiple revenue streams and then provides clear explanations and resources for getting started.

Last week after work, I met with an advisor at the Small Business Development Center to discuss some of the steps I want to take before I officially retire from teaching.  After my meeting, I realized one of the steps I need to take is to survey my target audience to make sure what I’m planning is what my audience really wants and needs.

I will be working on developing my survey this week. I’ll subscribe to the premium version of Survey Monkey so I can generate more useful data. I’ll probably have a prize drawing to encourage participation.

I still love teaching and put a lot of energy into my work each day. I enjoy working with students and am thankful I get to be a part of their life journeys. Even though I know it is time for me to move on, I will miss teaching after I retire. Maybe knowing that retiring means leaving all that I know is what drives me right now to also develop my next steps.

I have to confess, I’m excited about the future but just a bit nervous as well. Yet I do know that change is inevitable for all of us. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to plan for that change. Sometimes we have to adapt without notice.

Entry #20: No One Has to Feel Powerless: We Can Choose to Live Empowered Lives

By the time I was twenty-two, I had two young children. Our family lived below the poverty line. My husband expected me to be obedient and to go along with whatever decisions he made for our lives. I felt powerless and could not speak up for myself.

It wasn’t until I started taking classes at a community college did I realize I could think for myself and had the ability to speak up.I started taking classes when my children started school. I soon realized I just needed support and guidance. In spite of my “then” husband’s objections, I continued my education and went on to graduate school. I am currently an associate professor of speech communication studies at a community college. I want to help others like I was helped when I started college. Education is power. All women need to know that they have power!





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