A while back I read a guest post on someone's blog by Michael Chibuzor, a professional writer who specializes in content and marketing issues. His article listed several requirements for a successful blog. As I thought about each one, it seemed obvious that most of them also apply to building a satisfying retirement. I have taken some of his points and re-worked them to fit our needs:
(1). Support Your Passion. Fellow blogger Dave Bernard has just finished an excellent book on building a life around your passions. I have written about the subject quite a bit, too. Both Dave and I agree that a life without something that excites you and allows you to live fully is an unfulfilled life. Your passions are needed to motivate and stimulate you. You can't produce a lasting blog or have a happy retirement without passion.
(2). Content Is Still King (What You Stand For Matters). Retirement should have no effect on what makes you who you are. Your ethics and morals, how you view the world, your commitment to others, and your compassion are your content. Just like a blogger succeeds or fails based on the quality of his or her writing, your retired life will become something you can be proud of based on the values you adhere to. Your "yes" must mean "yes" and your promise must be dependable.
(3). Stay Relevant. The "good old days" are gone. Refusing to adapt to how the world is evolving will give you nothing but ulcers. This includes much more than accepting on-line bill paying or that many people don't write letters anymore. It means more than learning to text so you can communicate with a grandchild. It means being open enough to question assumptions or "facts" that may no longer work. It means being at least willing to try new technology or not dismissing those who do.
(4). Build A Strong Network of Friends and Contacts. This is what bloggers do all the time. My recent trip to see blogging friends in Oregon is an example. But, even if you never write a word on the Internet or anywhere else for that matter, a strong network of friends is a crucial part of a satisfying retirement. If you have been lax in this area before retirement, now is the time to make it a priority.
(5). Build An Email List (Stay in Touch With Others). After building that network of contacts (friends and acquaintances) take the next step: stay in regular contact. Call on the phone, write a real letter, even send e-mails with attachments of something you believe the other person will enjoy. Pay that person a visit. Solid relationships benefit from "pressing the flesh."
(6). Guest Posting is Mandatory (Share What You Know With Others). A blogger will guest post to expose his writing to a wider audience and to position him or herself as knowledgeable in a certain subject. That post is sharing something with others. In retirement, I am a firm believer in volunteering, mentoring, or somehow giving back to others who can benefit from your knowledge or time. Whatever you have to give, share it.
(7). Explore Your Business (Keep Growing and Improving At What You Do). Whatever you do will cease to satisfy if you are not looking for ways to learn more or improve what you are doing. Playing a guitar, building bookcases, planting vegetables, writing a weekly column for the local paper, running a day care center, being a grandparent.....it really doesn't matter. Like a shark, we must keep moving forward.
(8). Take Action Everyday (Don't Coast Through Life..Be Proactive). Following the point above, study and contemplation are important activities. Rushing about without a plan or goals will usually waste energy and time. But, just is bad is to study and think about something, but never actually do anything about it. It is OK to go back to school...just don't live there.
There are other aspects of blogging that I could have tried to tie to a satisfying retirement like SEO (search engine optimization), freshening content, re-writing older posts, and allowing comments. But, I've made the point. Connections from one part of our life to another are common. We just have to look for them.
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