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Life Planning

Mind your midlife words


Kim Potgieter

Kim Potgieter

April 19, 2022
I love the concept of reframing your life – and midlife is the perfect opportunity to redesign and remix your life exactly the way you want it going forward. With the right mindset and language, this second chapter can be a pinnacle of your life, the coolest place to be, and the place where you can drive change in yourself and those around you and contribute to the world in meaningful ways.

But it starts with how you think and talk – about yourself and about the second half of your life.

Mahatma Gandhi clarified the connection of beliefs to destiny in the following poignant way: ‘Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.’

I have often seen and heard how thoughts create the mindset or worldview of life. Many people nearing or in retirement talk about being old, they feel old, and with this, they share the sentiment of spiralling downwards, losing significance and purpose. I have seen how the burden of ageing, not working and feeling less-than in this phase of life results in language that speaks of money as the enemy. The constant fear of not having enough, of running out, of never earning again and not adding value becomes debilitating, and in the end, you have nothing left to give – or receive.

I spend a lot of time with clients showing them that it’s ok to spend the money they’ve invested their whole lives; that they do have enough to last them. And that they can still earn and add value.

It is time to reframe your midlife words and intentionally use a language that inspires you to design a life that you choose. One that excites you and pulls you towards it.

You are not old. Chip Conley reminds us that we are elders – the keepers of knowledge and the holders of wisdom. In traditional cultures, elders are seen as a vital part of the community. There is an awareness that life experience – mixed with knowledge – becomes wisdom. The word ‘elder’ holds all of that.

Midlife is not all downhill from here. Imagine living the next fifty years on your terms, in your own time. The word ‘retirement’ is old-fashioned. It’s stale and old. The new path is to continue to learn, serve and earn – you can keep working and earning, and add value for as long as you want.

Don’t tell yourself you can only rely on one source of income. In this phase of life, it is possible to turn a passion into work, a hobby into a business and a dream into potential. Or let your money work for you: a diversified portfolio allows you to gather income from different sources.

Retirement is not an ‘all or nothing’ scenario. Many people in the second chapter start to bring in other income streams and look at other ideas of work, like part-time work, charity work, mentoring or consulting. Midlife transitions often require a half-in, half-out approach as you transition from where you are to where you want to be.

Retirement is not the end. What if you could see this as a new beginning? A phase where you get to choose how you want to live your life. This mindset opens up a world of possibilities. Discovering new ways to add value, finding renewed purpose and perhaps most rewarding of all: living a life of courage and authenticity where you get to choose how and where to spend your time. I challenge my clients by asking: What are you retiring TO?

So, when you visualise your coming years after the midpoint, think of all the wonderful possibilities that are in your power to make happen. Support your vision with your words – and your actions.

Always remember, when it comes to your money, be inspired, be brave and be on purpose,


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