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Love to Read

Your Best Third Third

I love to read. And I love to encourage others to read.  

Here is a short excerpt from my book, Which Old Woman Will You Be? from the chapter on Be A Reader.  

Today, my top five novels are:  Jane Eyre, Christy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Kite Runners.  

From these, I discovered that …..

I actually can be a romantic.

    I want my home to be a refuge and place of comfort.

         I can enjoy fantasy, even though I am more naturally a realist.

              There are unbelievable obstacles women can overcome.

                   Cultures are deep and full and very multi-dimensional.

I said five, so I won’t go on to mention Three Cups of Tea, The Lacuna, The Hobbit and George McDonald novels……or Grishom and Patricia Cornwell (Scarpetta) and Maeve Binchy or The President’s Lady and Mr. Audubon’s Lucy.

I have nonfiction favorites, too.  Like any of John Maxwell’s books on leadership, One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni, When Fish Fly by Joseph Michelli and John Yokoyama.   The Purpose Driven Life would be #1 on the non-fiction list if I had to choose.

BIG life-changing books for me have been The Dip by Seth Godin. That book actually was a catalyst for major adjustments for my husband and me. Including (but not limited to) changing jobs and relocating 11 hours away.  

Younger Next Year (and Younger Next Year for Women) by Chris Crowley and Harry S Lodge, M.D. has prompted significant daily alterations for me and my husband. Moving from casual to intentional daily exercise and getting serious about our diet so that we can stay fit and active into our 80’s and beyond came from this book.

These books helped us imagine our lives differently.

One of the few regrets I have is that I have not kept a list of all the books I have read.  

Be discriminate with your time. Read books that teach good lessons that are well-written.  

                 Not to escape, but to explore.  

Reading will keep your mind sharp.  It will give you something to talk with others about.  It can get you thinking about larger issues. It can make you smile and weep and empathize and wonder.

Some studies even show that reading reduces stress and can slow our heartbeat. Take a “reading vacation.” You don’t have to go anywhere or spend anything. Just block out some time to “go somewhere” by reading a book.

So…a short excerpt from Which Old Woman Will You Be?  To encourage you to read!!!

What books are on your summer reading list? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Emily Marie on Unsplash

Change the Way You Think

Saying daily affirmations, out loud, is a very effective way to live on purpose.  Having true, positive statements you say about and to yourself is rewarding, energizing, focusing, and, actually, can change the way you think.

If you google “affirmations” you can find lists of suggested affirmations to tell yourself to make yourself feel better, think more positively, have greater success.   

“My heart is overflowing with joy.”

“All is well right now.”

“I nourish my body with healthy food.”

No doubt, those affirmations can be helpful.  

 

But I have a better way.

Rather than googling for words from someone else to say to yourself daily, instead, take a moment and consider your limiting beliefs.  The most effective affirmations will replace those limiting beliefs with affirming statements.  

I have been doing this for the past ten years and it is a life-changing exercise that just keeps on giving.  Replacing my limiting beliefs has been a practical way to keep growing, keep learning.

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Identifying your limiting beliefs is the first and necessary step.  

For me, as I walked the halls as CEO of the young company I was charged with making profitable, I was challenged by a coach to recognize my limiting beliefs.  I found that I had a number of them! One very limiting belief was, “I really don’t know what I am doing and I hope no one finds out!”

Truth was, I was leading a group of people into a new way of doing things with great help from the franchise, receiving information and training that was beyond adequate. I was absorbing new information easily and readily and we were off to a great start.   By telling myself that I was clueless, even in a fleeting moment, I robbed myself and the investors of this company, of some of the energy and confidence required to succeed.

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Replace the limiting beliefs with true and possible affirmations.

I replaced the above limiting belief with this affirmation, “I am a confident, successful business woman who knows where I am going and who is meeting the people and developing the skills to become outrageously successful.”  Gradually, as I repeated this, I became confident that everything I needed was available and that I was the best person to be at the helm for that time.

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Repeat them, out loud, at least once a day.

I partnered up with a younger man from a different state to do daily affirmations.  One of us would call the other and dive in. “Good morning, Andy! I am a confident, successful business woman who knows where she is going and who is meeting the people and developing the skills to become outrageously successful.”  And so on, for my 5-6 statements. Andy would say, “You rock, Debbie!” Then Andy would say his 5-6 statements, addressing his limiting beliefs. I would say something encouraging to him, we would hang up and go into our day. 2 minutes, average, was our investment.

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You will see positive results.

In those 10 years, Andy stepped out into some risky (yet rewarding) ventures that have brought him a sense of significance. He has increased his productivity and grown his business and improved his relationships. He is making more money and living with purpose. Also, he has lost a significant amount of weight and has made fitness a regular part of his life.  

Me? My affirmations gave me the courage to build that new company with a good foundation, then move to another that needed a turn-around. I have been willing to risk some investments after telling myself that “I am wise with money and have multiple sources of income.” I once recognized an opportunity when I was told they were “creating a role” for me since one of my affirmations said that exact thing…. that I “attracted ethical, successful people who recognized my strengths and created opportunities for me.”

I don’t believe that thinking about them made any of these things happen. I simply see that by changing my thinking from limiting beliefs to possible realities, I was able to see and hear and respond to possibilities when they came along.  

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Keep your affirmations current.

Affirmations need to be current and personal to effective, so adapting them is key.  

I recently revisited my limiting beliefs, since I am doing new things.  And, I wrote new affirmations. One of them that I say daily is, “I am fulfilled and happy, living on purpose and making my ThirdThird my BEST Third”.  Feel free to borrow it!

It really is possible to change the way you think.  Just recognize those limiting beliefs and replace them with truthful affirmations that are possible.  

Say them, out loud, daily, at least once, and begin to notice the positive changes in your life.  

What are your limiting beliefs?  Can you replace them with positive, possible affirmations?  Do you have examples of changing your thinking? Please go to YourBestThirdThird Facebook and share your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Less Stress and More Joy

I’m in my ThirdThird now (ages 60-90) and I find there are things I used to care a lot more about than I do now.  Priorities, experience, wisdom, adapting… whatever the reason, I am much more flexible in my thinking.

The result? Less stress and more joy. A greater appreciation for each day, each opportunity, and each interaction.

Here are five ways that I can be much more relaxed now that I have lived long enough to recognize what is truly important to me:

 

Fashion “rules.”

 

Rules that try to dictate details like you have to wear brown with navy or that you can’t wear white after Labor Day (or before Easter) or that after a certain age you “shouldn’t” wear leggings or high heels.  While I care about my appearance and want to be (relatively) stylish, I am much more inclined to be motivated by comfort and common sense now that I am older.  Put myself together in a way that I feel confident and off I go.

 

Grocery store attire.  

Continuing on with a clothing theme, I care much less what I wear to the grocery store, even though I have lived in our town for a long time and there is a good chance I might run into someone I know.  If I know them, they should not be distracted by my casual attire and we should be able to enjoy an exchange of pleasantries in the aisles, with or without makeup.

 

Other people’s opinions about my family.  

Once, my husband and I made a decision that (evidently) seemed rash to outsiders without much information. We both quit our jobs and headed in separate directions, temporarily, to take opportunities we were excited about. Pretty soon, there were all sorts of rumors. One of us was dying. We were splitting up. There was trouble brewing. None of it was true. We were just taking advantage of the trust we had built over many years that allowed us to each seek our own for a period. Since then, I don’t try to explain.

 

Keeping up with the latest.  

Technology, slang, exercise, diet. Trying new stuff that is going to disappear or be replaced before I fully understand it is an exercise in futility that I no longer am tempted by.  I am dependent on technology, but try to make what works for me last as long as possible. Slang, I just try to avoid so I don’t misuse, much to my grandkids’ amusement. Exercise and diet, I know what works so being consistent is the best approach at this point.

 

Everyone agreeing.

Ha! In the current political climate in the US, there is obviously little hope of everyone agreeing. But even in a family or social or work environments, I am much more willing to adapt to someone else’s idea than I used to be. For years, I have been considering a family vacation that involved passports and planes and trains and mountains and beaches. Our kids, however, asked if I would consider, instead, a week at a Florida beach. 17 people. No passports. No train. Just sand and sun and relaxing. They all agreed, so exchanging my plans was simple.  That they all want to be together AND they want their parents there, too….that was a fine adjustment for my thinking to make.

 

Life is simpler now that I can let go of a lot of the rules and expectations and assumptions I had when I was rushing around and holding things together in my FirstThird (ages 0-30, mainly focused on learning) and in my SecondThird (ages 30-60, mainly focused on earning).  

This is one key to me making my ThirdThird my very BEST Third.

 

 

 

* first published at Sixtyandme.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luca Upper

Six Ways to Prepare for a Great Life After 60

 

If someone asked, here are my top 6 ways to prepare for a great life after 60….

Now that have celebrated my 65th birthday and have my Medicare card, I am enjoying being a gray-haired, older woman who has learned a lot and has arrived at a pretty good place.  

I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned from most of them.  I’ve had my share of successes with business and family and marriage and friendships.  I’ve been through some rough spots with business and family and marriage and friendships.  I have good ways that I can continue to learn and to grow in my ThirdThird (ages 60-90).  

I’m mainly smiling and enjoying life.  I enjoy good health and am blessed to have a long-term husband who “gets” me and who keeps me moving and trying new things.

If someone in their SecondThird (ages 30-60) were to ask me for advice on planning their best ThirdThird, here are a few things that I would tell them.

A few simple life adjustment to prepare you for living well in your ThirdThird (ages 60-90):

 

Think About Living To Be 90

We are the first generation that can plan with confidence to live into our 80’s and beyond. Medical support and knowledge of health makes living longer the norm.  My parents planned to retire at 65, travel a few years, then die around 72 since that was as long as anyone else in their families had lived.  I, however, realistically expect to live into my 90’s (which my mother did, surprising her a lot!).

It can catch you by surprise if you aren’t thinking about a longer life.  An extra 20-30 years brings a lot of opportunity and a lot of responsibility, so it is good to be preparing for it.

Stop Gaining Weight

When I was 40, I realized that I had unwittingly, been gaining about 3 pounds a year. Noticing someone I knew to be 10 years older than me had unwittingly put on about 30 pounds made me pause.  3 pounds a year, 10 years….yikes!  I was going to have that 30 pounds if I didn’t consciously keep those 30 pounds off.  

The older we get, the harder it is to lose extra weight, so it makes more sense to consciously keep it off.  I remember hearing an interview with Jimmy Carter when he was in his 70’s. Asked how he kept so fit, he talked about riding a bicycle and said that he weighed himself daily.  If he was a little heavier that day, he ate a little less.  

Whatever works, halting weight gain in the SecondThird will have benefits in the ThirdThird.

Save Some Money

Decide to put some money aside and let it become a habit.  As you stick with it, watching it grow is pretty encouraging.

However, you can find a way to put some money away for your longer life.  Direct deposits from your paycheck is a pain-free way to save since you don’t really see those dollars.  Taking advantage of matching savings plans if you are so fortunate to have an employer who offers it will pay off in the long run.

If you are planning to live longer, you will need more money, so save some while you are making it.


Eat At Home More

Cooking seems to be a dying skill, but it can be a lot of fun and is satisfying to produce a tasty meal in your own home.  And if you are eating at home more, you can control those things that are not beneficial and that you probably want to avoid. Less fried food, less sugar, fewer empty calories.

How to get started cooking at home? A subscription to a magazine with recipes gives new ideas and inspiration. Taking a risk on a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and having weekly ingredients delivered to you opens new doors.  Joining or creating a “supper club” with friends provides motivation and accountability.

Eating at home more can help you with those first 2 suggestions, too, saving money and keeping the weight off.

Move Every Day

If you are going to live into your 80’s and/or 90’s, you will be glad if you have kept moving in your 40’s and 50’s.  Make it a habit to walk the stairs or to walk around the park at lunch or to walk around the block in the evening.

And after making moving every day a habit, find a way that you will occasionally stretch yourself a bit. Classes at a gym? Kayaking on the town lake? Walking or running in 5K’s? Yoga videos? Tennis or swimming or softball?

It can seem like there isn’t time for exercise, but as it is often said, “Use it or lose it.”  If you move every day, you will help ensure that you will be able to move along well into your 80’s and 90’s.

Clear Up Relationships

Clearing up doesn’t always mean being able to reconcile or to come to an agreement. It might just mean being realistic about the relationships you have had and investing in the ones that are helpful to you.

By the time you are in your 50’s, you have known a lot of people.  Some you have enjoyed, some you haven’t.  Some have enjoyed you.  Some haven’t.  It’s okay.  Life has seasons and seasons bring change.

Learn in your SecondThird to have quality relationships.  Keep a short list of offenses. Apologize when you are wrong. Allow people to come and go in your life but keep clear relations.  Forgive and move on.

Go forward with no regrets.

 

Hindsight being 20-20 vision and all, those are the things I would tell someone younger than me to do in their SecondThird to make their ThirdThird, after age 60, great.  

What would you say if someone in their 40’s and 50’s asked you for advice on living well in your sixties and beyond? What did you do in your SecondThird that you are glad for now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Tools

The DiSC method of understanding is potentially powerful tool.  While there are all sorts of online assessments that will give a basic reading of a person’s behavior style, and plenty of fat personnel files in HR offices, I still prefer to have at least an hour-and-a-half and a paper version to take people through a bit of practical personal discovery.

The paper version I use is self-scoring and has several built-in ways to validate the information.  It is not threatening and can actually be a lot of fun, with people who are open to understanding themselves and are willing to be understood.

 

Understanding Your Wiring – invest in knowing yourself better so that
you can be intentional with your life choices.

 

My goal, when I take a person or a group through a DiSC workshop, is to fill each person’s personal, relational toolbox with new tools.

Here are a few:

  • Understand that you are wired a certain way and you will function best within that style.

    For example, a young woman came up to me at the end of a presentation and began by saying, “I don’t usually seek speakers out…”. Then, she went on to tell me that all her life, she has been told that she always has to be right, as if that were a weakness.  “Now,” she said, “I realize that I am simply wired to be thinking ahead of others and that it is a strength, not a weakness.”

  • Understanding your style can help you identify energy sources and drains.

    When my husband was a pastor, we finally realized that extended people-intense times drained him.  When we moved to the country and he had space and quiet in nature to re-energize, he overcame a long struggle with depression. In an opposite way, there are types who recover with socializing…..hence happy hours, I suspect.

  • Knowing that other people have unique styles, possibly different than my own, gives understanding and a lot of freedom.

    No wonder some people love a meeting and others dread it. No wonder some people actually like to research facts and others prefer to fly by the seat of their pants. No wonder shopping is fun for some and like pulling fingernails off to others. We are wired with different strengths and preferences.

  • Embracing my own preferential pace and focus helps me find my sweet spot for success.

    An “S” needs peace and a predictable environment. An “I” wants interaction and celebration. A “C” has to have quiet and wants to have their work validated. A “D” thrives with independence and a challenge. Just knowing that I shouldn’t expect to enjoy, much less be productive in random environments, allows me to create my own space for better results.

 

Quality tools make your relationships, your work, and running in your strengths easier.

 

Make a Difference

Preparing for a talk on Designing your BEST ThirdThird, I made an icebreaker activity, noting people who made a big difference in their ThirdThird. People like Ronald Reagan (was elected President when he was 70 years old), Lady Bird Johnson (Beautify America), Mother Teresa. They did amazing things in their later years. Impressive.

Reality is that most of us are not going to make some significant difference in a worldwide or even national arena in our ThirdThird.

But, we can make a difference in the world around us, locally and relationally, in our ThirdThird. The differences we will make will most likely be similar to the ways we have been impacting people and situations in our lives so far, so you don’t have to look far or become a difference person to make a difference in someone else’s life.

The real challenge is to figure out what we CAN and SHOULD do to continue to contribute what we know and have experienced, wherever we are.

I am, obviously, interested in people who are making their ThirdThird their BEST Third. My husband has a friend who lives in Mexico City who writes about the great restaurants and food places in her adopted country. She is influencing many to try new foods and to explore new places.

Another friend has begun to create art in her 70’s. She has developed a personal style of expressing her perspective to enjoy life to the fullest in whimsical pieces of art that are selling well. She even offers workshops in her basement studio, encouraging others to express themselves and find an outlet for their creative interests.

I know there are men and women who love to offer their babysitting services to free up their kids to pursue their dreams and careers. An article in the local newspaper highlighted the courtesy car drivers for car dealerships who are mostly retired and make a difference by being interesting and cheerful for their passengers.

The women’s shelter in my community ran into serious financial problems when the State failed to come through with promised funds. When the news was discussed at the dinner table in the dining room of a retirement community, several women decided to get involved. They heard of the plight through another resident, the treasurer for the board of the organization. These 4 women decided to start a “$5000 Club” by each of them giving $5000 to the Shelter. Then, they wrote letters to their friends, inviting them to join their $5000 Club. Before long, their campaign had raised $120,000 and had started a larger awareness that resulted in $350,000 in total revenue raised.

That is making a difference!

So whether it is volunteering to mentor a student or to teach a class or contributing to a cause or reading to a child, you can make a significant difference.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Amanda Creamer via www.creationswap.com

Strategy

Strategy

One of my Mantras is, “Be Intentional”.

Do what you say you will do… but think about it first.

Hmmm.   I can’t remember the moment I decided to live with intention, but most people who know me would probably use the word to describe me.  It might have come from watching people not be intentional.  It might have come from the hard lessons of the frustration that comes from letting others direct my efforts or decide my focus.  Whatever the source, “be intentional” has become an almost daily mantra for me.

I can’t just tell myself to be intentional, I have to have a strategy or a plan to guide my behaviors, thoughts, and actions so that I actually become intentional.

strat·e·gy

[a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.]
 
Here is my intentional strategy: 

Be Intentional-

  • Know what I believe.  I don’t have to tell everyone every thought and/or opinion I have, but I should know what I believe and why if I want to be sure I am doing or not doing what is important to me.
  • Decide for myself how I spend my time.  There are television shows that I might enjoy or benefit from.  There are books and magazines worth reading.  There are people who will add to my life if I spend time with them.  If I choose for myself, I will be less likely to succumb to advertising and marketing ploys for things I really do not want to steal my time away.
  • Don’t say “yes” or “no” too quickly.  Take time to consider how I commit my time and energy.  There will be consequences to any decision and I am wise to be as much in control of my decisions and actions as possible.
  • Don’t blame others for my own choices and results.  Own my own efforts and decisions.  Apologize when necessary.  Reimburse when appropriate.  Accept credit and praise graciously.  Say thank you and “I am sorry.”
  • Live without regrets.  If I consciously, intentionally decide what to say, how to spend time, who to be with, what to do, then the chances of having regrets is slim.

We can’t become intentional on accident. What is your strategy?

 

Your Story

your story

 

What is the story you are telling?

I am at an age where I have told my story a number of times, in a number of places, to a  number of people.  My story has become more and more consistent as I have worked hard to define what is important to me and what I believe deeply. “Worked hard at” means faced fears, listened to criticism, changed behaviors, stood my ground, moved, cried, laughed, stayed, left.  I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.  And that has taken work.

I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.

The most important people in my story are my husband and my kids… though none are “kids” any longer.  And I don’t think of any of them as “kids” at all now, but as adults to be admired and valued and respected, each in their own right.  Their lives, intertwined with mine, are the fabric I wear now.  It surprises me, because “family cohesiveness” has never been a stated goal for me. The theme of my story is responsibility and choices–and personal discovery so that my choices are intentional and so that I am responsibly being the very best human being possible.  My modus operandi?  Grace and truth, always finding the balance.

What story are you telling?

We are all telling a story. To tell it with purpose and with as little regret as possible is a worthy goal.  That isn’t easy… but it is worth the effort… continually.

 

 

Objective & Subjective

 

objective

Designing our best ThirdThird requires that we be able to merge objective information and subjective information.

Subjective information like….

  • What gives me joy?
  • Who do I like to be around?
  • When am I most satisfied?
  • How do I like to be treated?

Objective information like….

  • How have I been successful in the past?
  • When have I been able to accomplish my goals?
  • Who has been there for me?
  • What is my skill set?

 

The DiSC Personality Profile allows me to connect the dots on both subjective and objective information I have about myself, to allow me to design my life for the greatest satisfaction and joy.

Personally, I know about myself that I …..

Am not afraid of hard tasks,

Need to be learning new things,

Function best with some, but not strict, order,

Have stories to share that will inspire others,

Love to make people laugh.

DiSC explanations make me realize why these are true about me…

I enjoy a challenge, 

I bore easily, 

I’m wired to like to sort and organize, 

Meaningful interaction energizes me, 

Adding to others’ lives makes me smile.

 

You can learn a lot about yourself and be designing your own BEST ThirdThird now, no matter what your age, with our Understanding Your Wiring DiSC program.