Network or Die!

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    Welcome to installment #14 of the A to Z for a Rocking Retirement. N = NETWORKING. What does NETWORKING have to do with retirement? Let’s reflect on all the years you worked in nursing to find the connection.

    Network or Die!

    Meeting new patients and colleagues, listening to learn more about who they are, serving them without expecting any payback, checking in on them regularly to see how they are doing, sharing your expertise, providing them with resources for whatever their needs are, and building relationships whether temporary or permanent.

    Guess what! That nursing work is called NETWORKING. And from my standpoint as a wellness business owner, this is how I do my business. It's all about providing great customer service. So back to my original question. NETWORKING has everything to do with retirement. When you finally leave your current job and walk away, you start losing a lot of things that may need to be rebuilt for your wellbeing.

    • Close relationships with co-workers
    • Day-to-day interactions with lots of people
    • Meaningful and productive work
    • Staying current in your field
    • Your title and status as a health professional
    • Your following by others who respect and support you
    • Your busy schedule that puts you in touch with others and experiences regularly
    • Socializing with work mates
    • Attending work events

    I'm sure you can think of other things that come with working as a health professional. I experienced the loss of all of this both physically and emotionally - and it most likely will happen to you too!

    When the door closes for the last time, your life will be different, and if you are like me, I like being with people or I wouldn't have gone into nursing. There is a lot of loss when you retire, especially the loss of regular contact with lots of people. And remember, if we lose touch with human contact, we might die. You know this. It's called failure to thrive. Newborns denied physical contact with other humans can actually die from lack of physical contact, even when provided with proper nutrition and shelter. Older people who lack social contacts may be at increased risk of death if acute symptoms develop, because there is less of a network of confidantes to prompt medical attention.

    So what are you going to do about this? I will admit I wallowed in all that negativity for a few months, but after receiving some life coaching from another nurse, I turned that all around and now have a thriving business as a solo business owner. And what makes that all work? NETWORKING! It's my most important business-building tool. I make time to attend networking groups regularly so I can meet new people, build relationships, share my expertise and attract new customers and team members. And even when I doubt my abilities to be an effective networker, I just put myself back into my nursing shoes and remember I did this all the time in my career.

    Here are some tips from another blog I wrote on networking for business owners. See if any of this can be used in your situation so you don't find yourself being alone and lonely. And if you are already thinking ahead about what you might do in your future (like I did starting my own wellness business) this information may help you as you manifest that dream.

    N - new connections are made with new people who may need your services
    E - enjoyment happens when you learn about people's hopes and dreams
    T - trust develops when you connect with people on a regular basis
    W - wonderful conversations often lead to friendships
    O - opportunities arise to find even more people whom you can meet and serve
    R - rewards come from being able to help someone improve their life
    K - kindred spirits show up the more people you meet
    I - intimate conversations can lead to deeper relationships
    N - notice what happens when you give the gift of listening to another person
    G - great things occur when great people get together

    And finally, from the Harvard Health Blog Harvard Health Blog - Harvard Health Publications Is retirement good for health or bad for it? When researchers asked study participants 80 and older what made retirement enjoyable, healthy, and rewarding, here is the first of the four key elements:

    Forge a new social network. You don't just retire from a job-you retire from daily contact with friends and colleagues. Establishing a new social network is good for both mental and physical health.

    So now is the time to think about the power of NETWORKING as a tool for health in your upcoming retirement. Be well on your journey and please share your thoughts.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jun 14, '18
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  3. by   Eldrad
    Very interesting take on networking! I like it.
  4. by   Josie.Ridad
    As mentioned in your post, what home business did you go into? I am interested.
    I am retiring on March 13 after 43 years in nursing. I was thinking of retiring at age 70 but hubby is sick and my life goal changed instantly to that providing a dedicated care for my sick husband as long as he needs me.
  5. by   maporcrn1
    Staying at home, taking care of your husband can be stressful in itself and is a fulltime job. Look for opportunites that may exist within your knowledge base and expertise that will not require you to be away from home. "On call" nursing advice, working for a reputable organization, could be an option. More organizations are allowing people to work from home. One does not have to physically present to be effective with advice or teaching, "Skype visits" are happening now. We need to use our skills and knowledge to our advantage.