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“Create a vision.” With Beau Henderson & Ken Druck, Ph.D

1. Begin to ease your way into all the transitional elements of retirement proactively, one step at a time, as you begin to practice turning the page on this chapter of your work life. 2. Create a vision for having some of your best years ever, share it with those you love, and summon newfound […]

1. Begin to ease your way into all the transitional elements of retirement proactively, one step at a time, as you begin to practice turning the page on this chapter of your work life.

2. Create a vision for having some of your best years ever, share it with those you love, and summon newfound courage to make it a reality.

3. Take some time to create a Retirement Plan, share your first draft with a confidant and/or life-partner, and give yourself time to reflect on and refine it into a 2nd draft.

4. Test-drive parts of the plan to see how they actually feel. Be brutally honest with yourself about what feels right and what doesn’t.

5. Do your best to wind down and complete all matters at your job. Allow time for succession planning, giving and receiving gratitude, and forgiveness. Do your best to grieve the losses and face the fears that may be associated with turning the page on your life’s work.


Asa part of my series about the “5 Things You Should Do to Optimize Your Wellness After Retirement” I had the pleasure of interviewing Ken Druck, Ph.D. Dr. Druck is an internationally-known thought leader, best-selling author whose pioneering work on the psychology of resilience, healing after loss and successful aging have contributed significantly to the quality of life for millions of people over the past 45 years.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

“My life has been a string of interesting, life-altering ups and downs. The most significantly joyful and miraculous moments of my life were the births of my daughters and grandsons. The most significantly devastating and heart-shattering moments of my life were those that followed the death of my oldest daughter.”

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

“As a brash young psychologist working at a Community Mental Health Center, I read the wrong file and mixed up background information about two new clients and had to be told ‘You’ve got the wrong guy, Doc!’ by my client. Thankfully, it turned out to be a humorous mistake and humanized me to my client. We would even joke about it for many months to come during our sessions.”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

“I stand on the shoulders of many good and generous teachers, mentors, advisors, and role models. At the top of my list was my physician-turned-mentor, Dr. Godfred Germansky, who took me under his wing, helped me learn to think critically about the things that really matter, and surgically transformed my shredded ankle into one that has afforded me 50 years of athleticism.”

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

“Limit the sense of yourself that comes from things like status, power, wealth, and proving your professional worth. Live modestly and humbly within your means. Work diligently and develop ‘Pro-Grade Self-Care’ practices to balance out your hard work.”

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

“Be an honest, trustworthy, courageous, attentive, and irreverent leader in your own life and in your approach to leadership. Remember you’re a work-in-progress and lead with compassion, including for yourself.”

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In some cases, retirement can reduce health, and in others it can improve health. Can you share with our readers 5 things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.

1. Begin to ease your way into all the transitional elements of retirement proactively, one step at a time, as you begin to practice turning the page on this chapter of your work life.

2. Create a vision for having some of your best years ever, share it with those you love, and summon newfound courage to make it a reality.

3. Take some time to create a Retirement Plan, share your first draft with a confidant and/or life-partner, and give yourself time to reflect on and refine it into a 2nd draft.

4. Test-drive parts of the plan to see how they actually feel. Be brutally honest with yourself about what feels right and what doesn’t.

5. Do your best to wind down and complete all matters at your job. Allow time for succession planning, giving and receiving gratitude, and forgiveness. Do your best to grieve the losses and face the fears that may be associated with turning the page on your life’s work.

In your experience, what are 3 or 4 things that people wish someone told them before they retired?

1. Successful retirement begins with the recognition that it is a lengthy transition and preparation over a period of time.

2. Do not wait until the final day, week, or month of work to begin dealing with all the feelings that come with turning the page on a chapter in life.

3. From dread to the excitement, allow yourself to feel the full array of emotions that are natural and normal for someone who is retiring. Ride the wave of excitement. Roll with the wave of fear. And show yourself patience, compassion, and encouragement.

4. Your life is going to be a little upside-down and inside-out for a while as you adjust to a new normal. Don’t be self-critical, judgmental, or overly fearful. It’s okay that it’s not okay.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

The book that had a significant impact on me was not a book, it was a person. My dear friend, Pat Hyndman, was a living example of living fully with enthusiasm, curiosity, and a hunger for new learning and discovery in each day and hour of his 99 years. His infectious smile, the heart of gold, and love of life will forever bring a smile to my heart.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Having participated in several “movements” during my lifetime that elevated, mobilized, and inspired our collective awareness, compassion, and action on behalf of civil rights, social justice, and violence prevention, and witnessed the power we have to make the world a better place for our children, grandchildren, and future generations, I have devoted my life to bringing good to as many people as possible. The movement I am helping to lead is of Courageous Living and Courageous Aging.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

My favorite quote is “I am both broken and whole.” The paradox is often the highest form of understanding when it comes to overcoming life’s greatest losses. After the death of my 21-year-old daughter, I was choicelessly and irreparably broken. My daughter’s life had been lost to her. And my life (as I knew it) had ended. In my brokenness, I discovered that I was paradoxically more whole than ever before.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would welcome the opportunity to meet privately with our former President, Barack Obama, whom I had a chance to meet only casually several years ago.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

I would love to hear from your readers on my web site, www.kendruck.com, Facebook page, www.facebook.com/drkendruck.com or telephone (858) 863–7825.

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