Life After Work: Retirement Vision Group Workshop

How will you spend your most precious asset–your time?
The desire to matter is universal, along with enjoying a life with close connections, stimulation, purpose and fun.

Plan your best life with two retirement coaches who have incorporated a fun and collaborative process that puts your dreams into action!

Life Transition coach Julia Holladay, MA, BCC, is certified with Retirement Options® and The Retirement Coaches Association and runs Reignite Groups. Denis Wuestman’s certifications include Brain Based-Results training with NeuroLeadership Group, as well as Retirement Options®.

What will you anchor your life around, once your time isn’t structured around work?

This workshop is designed to get you started to envision, clarify, and plan this next stage of life and includes
• A Life Planning Assessment + 1:1 session
• Weekly Exercises and create momentum
• Structured facilitated group engagement
• DIY resources to carry your dreams forward

When: Tuesdays, April 11-May 23
Time: 4pm-5pm PST on Zoom

Cost of program $449 pp ($399 if sign up by 2/15)
$350 each if you bring a friend or spouse/partner.

Workshop is limited to 12 participants.

Map your best life with Julia and Denis, two certified retirement coaches who are committed to helping successful people enhance their retirement transition with vision and action.

Call Julia Holladay for more info: 619-992-3372
or email

How Women Gain Insight Before Retirement


Re-Ignite Group is back in October!

The October RE-IGNITE Group unites professional women, 50+, who look to gain insight before retirement. It can be a challenge for those of us who have an identity wrapped around a professional persona, with “career as a centerpiece” dominating how life is organized.

It was a year ago when the idea of the RE-IGNITE Group was born. It happened over coffee with a friend brainstorming how to create a bigger audience for facilitating life transition work. She suggested a group experience for other women, like herself, contemplating retirement and all the unknowns associated with the “R” word.

From that fateful conversation, it felt like fate to be combining my training and talents to launch the RE-IGNITE Group.

Life transitions are a necessary stage. However, if you could collaboratively experience such a transition with like-minded women, as you re-design your life, wouldn’t that be a more joyful and less isolating experience?

This is the heart of the RE-IGNITE Group—to create what’s next that is authentically you.

Themes focus on reflection and action:

  • Shifting roles and identity
  • Comfort zones and bucket lists
  • Re-thinking priorities and your next YES

As a participant you will:

  • Gain personal insights as you design your next chapter
  • Discover new ways to leverage your past to create you future
  • Meet other like-minded women to share in the journey!

Download the RE-IGNITE Fall Flier

The positive feedback from the first group spawned their own spin-off, Potluck + Possibilities Group, as well as a brand new RE-IGNITE Group that begins in early October. The group size is designed to be small, with no more than 9 participants.

There is room for only 3 more women to join this new group that meets monthly for 2 ½ hours in Mission Valley at Hera Hub.

The investment is $425 and includes six sessions, all materials, and a wealth of knowledge—gained and shared.

For more information, or to confirm your spot, email me at


Download my GROW NOW ebook for free
(no need to exchange your email)








Going Downhill, in a Good Way…

non-stop-flowing-in-little-river-canyon-jw-photographyBiking in the Colorado Rockies gave me ah hah that coincides with nature. After my first day out I got winded and fatigued from the altitude, especially after stopping for lunch (the margarita probably didn’t help!) On Day Two, I was a bit more cautious, not wanting to feel so sluggish.

As we headed out on the route, I felt like I was riding mostly downhill. Fun in the moment, but that way back was weighing on me. With each passing mile, I knew I had to save some reserve for the return. I even mentioned to my husband that we could go further, as long as it wasn’t too much more down hill. He said that although our path was rolling, we had mostly been biking up hill. He said he knew by watching the water flow from the river next to our route. I looked at the water and it was a fact, yet how come I felt like I was peddling down and not up??

Nature has a way of showing us truths, even when we think we know otherwise…

We turned around and sure enough, I flowed downhill on the path just like the river, with my gears shifting to take full advantage. It was one of those experiences where I felt like I got a free ride, with the wind at our backs as we rode uphill and now, on the way back, a nice easy ride home.

Life doesn’t usually work that way. Often there is the toil and then the payoff, certainly this applies to bicycling, hiking, or for that matter running a business, getting a project off the ground, raising a family—you name it.

Effortless experiences come around once in a while, especially if you don’t expect them.   And when you dip into a natural flow and rhythm, it’s pretty special. Savoring the experience makes it even better, which I did as I rode back to our hotel, not winded or fatigued, but feeling embraced by nature and all the wonders it holds.

As the summer comes to a close, think about what your moments have been. If you take the time to create an imprint, the recollection has more of a chance of getting filed with other long-term memories.

Ultimately our memories and related stories define us, so keep the good ones!

Everyday Challenges Solved with 5 Quick Questions



When it comes to dealing with life’s challenges, it’s easy to either get overwhelmed and jump the gun, or procrastinate and hope for the best. This is especially true if it’s a new situation that doesn’t seem to have an easy, cookie cutter answer. We want to use our instincts and move through life’s entanglements with ease, but instead end up mired or stuck at some half-way point as the problem lingers, causing further stress.

Let’s face it, on a daily basis we are barraged with choices. In today’s world especially, too many choices becomes part of the problem. In the last week I found this approach to be very helpful with a professional challenge (low summer enrollment), as well as in my home life (summer mom stuff with teens—need I say more?). It is versatile and anyone can do it.

First, put into one sentence the scenario you are struggling with. Once you have something tangible in mind, make it as concrete as possible.

Then ask these five simple questions:

  1. What is the best possible outcome?
  2. What is the worst possible outcome?
  3. What is the most likely outcome?
  4. Keeping #3 in mind, what is a reasonable step-by-step plan *you can do going forward?
  5. Once you begin the plan, what are the lessons learned for future, similar situations?

*Note, I italicized you can do in #4 because Take 5 only works if you take on the responsibility and action and not put it on someone else to solve.

What is especially fruitful about this sequence of questions is it can be applied to almost any problem. And this approach keeps us in a more neutral zone, away from over reaction and made up stories that we find ourselves imagining at 3am, when the reptilian brain is most active, resulting in distorted, worst case scenario thinking.

I also like this because it isn’t overly Pollyanna, yet allows room for positive thinking while also focusing on what’s most likely going to happen. This 5 step Q&A taps into our gut and gets us into a problem-solving mode quickly. Try it out yourself and see let me know if it works for you:

Leaving Nothing on the Field: An Ode to Playing a 12 Year Old Game

140824201116-01-little-league-0824-horizontal-large-galleryI was out to dinner with my family after one of my son’s high school baseball games.  We had a great win and were celebrating when a text came from my son’s coach saying congratulations and how he had played a 12 year old’s game.  That was intriguing to me, so I asked what exactly was that?  I guess it’s a common adage in baseball and means you get to play it all (pitch, hit, field) and leave nothing on the field.  12 year olds in Little League get that feeling on good days, when they get to pitch, catch, play infield, outfield and hit over-the- fence home runs.  It’s a beautiful thing, when the game is simpler and offers more joy on long spring evenings.

And then those 12 year old moments begin to become rarer, as players age and get identified in specific positions, playing out the roles expected of them. Basically real life, “adult stuff.”  High school ball models this kind of hierarchy in many ways, with pecking orders, defined roles and formal/informal leadership. But once in a while you get that old feeling back, when magic happens and roles expand and you hit one out of the park or pitch a shut out game, or both; leaving nothing on the field.

What are our own stories of hitting it out of the park?  What did it take to make that feeling become a reality?  Was it private or public, or a little of both?  There is a lot to learn from the mentality of a 12 year old’s approach, being fearless and loose, with nothing to lose.  It’s expanding rather than contracting, and also a lot of fun.  I would argue that when roles get too narrowly defined and expectations become pre-scripted, the joy begins to dissolve and can begin to feel more like drudgery.

So it’s a conundrum, as we sort out our own inner 12 year old spirit and spunk. My guess is it’s still there, waiting to come out and play.  Try exploring how your own personal narrative helps you to reflect back and look forward.  Ask yourself some questions, for example:

  1. When was the last time you felt you hit it out of the park?  Was it through work, sports, school, or something deeply personal you overcame?
  2. Take yourself back to that moment in time.  Explore your senses to appreciate how it felt to be on top of the world.  Describe these feelings in more detail.
  3. Write a story about this experience, coming from the voice of the age you were when it happened.  Play close attention to not judging this narrative, as you may have been more naive and hopeful back then.
  4. Find something presently you would like to aim for, that feels like you would be playing up, say to a 12 year old level with that swagger and fearlessness.  Set a goal that has a date and approach this priority with joy and fun and tell someone your plan so you have accountability.

I’d love to hear about it.  I will be sharing mine soon, after I finish my own assignment.  Send me your 12 year old story at


“Do the Opposite and See How That Feels…”


I was in a class recently called “Happy Yoga” and before getting on our mats for poses, the instructor had us dancing and holding up our arms to the song “I’m So Excited” by The Pointer Sisters. Not you’re average yoga, I know, and it turns out that song was the five-minute version… at a midway point my arms were tingling and aching for a break. I know I wasn’t alone. It was then when the instructor said something important:

If you are used to quitting, hold on. If you never give yourself a break, take one.  The point is, change your normal pattern and do the opposite and see how that feels.”

Wow, that hit home for me. We often go on autopilot when it comes to our natural inclination to push or to quit. I think most of us are decidedly in one camp or the other.   It has to do with the challenge at hand, our self-efficacy and the wisdom to know which goals are worth accomplishing and which ones aren’t.

True, finishing this disco song with my arms above my head wasn’t even a goal I knew I had before the class, but it did awaken in me my self dialogue about how I push myself, even when the stakes are low. I believe there is power in changing certain patterns, especially ones that get in our way. Learning to adopt a more intentional approach, one that offers more choice and less stress is my takeaway from the class. I’m definitely a work in progress, shifting away from taskmaster to a kinder, gentler inner voice.

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The Tipping Point to Disrupt Aging


Living Boldly at Any Age

I just re-read Malcolm Gladwell’s groundbreaking book, The Tipping Point.  It was on all the bestsellers’ lists a decade ago and for good reason.  Gladwell breaks down how ideas, trends and messages spread like viruses with the help of a very small number of special groups known as Connectors (relationship brokers), Mavens (knowledge brokers) and Salespeople (persuaders with clout.)  It’s takes what he calls the “Law of the Few” for something to become contagious and claims 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people.

Gladwell carries his contagion theory further, stating once an idea is spawned, the formula 80% (work) 20% (people) still applies, needing informal leadership and action from Innovators (Adventurers) and Early Adopters (Opinion Leaders). Then like wildfire, these ideas and trends spread to the masses, or as he calls them the Early and Late Majorities and Laggards.  

“The Tipping Point” makes sense to me, especially with cultural trends, which is where Disrupt Aging comes in.  This new book about living boldly at any age will be available in early April and I can’t wait to read it.  I forecast a groundswell movement to disrupt outdated stereotypes related to aging and I want to be both a Connector/Maven and an Innovator to help make this happen. And considering that 10,000 of us “retire” every day, we certainly have enough numbers and energy to power a movement.  The challenge is, we disown the “R” word and need to come up with another way to describe this next chapter, which has a lot more to do with creative living than retreating.  

So I am writing posts about it, creating and facilitating Re-Ignite groups, and working with clients as they embark on big life transitions, which I like to call The Second Spring of Life.  As we age and begin to consider what these extra 30 years can mean to us potentially, it seems to me that we have a huge opportunity never before seen in history.  AARP is part of this movement, with their campaign to Re-imagine life beyond 50.  Check it out.  We need Innovators and Early Adopters to spread the word and to role model that it’s cool to be older.  You in?

A Metaphor for Living Large: Setting the Bar/Barre

barresoul-196_23In the spirit of the New Year and thinking novelty + fitness, I took my first Barre class today. It was a blast. Lots of core, balance and elegance in the way the class was taught. I didn’t look great doing many of the poses and exercises, but it was a great workout and I will be back next week. I have only taken one other “ballet” class in my life and that was over 50 years ago and remains one of my earliest childhood memories.

Get this: I was four years old and finally convinced my mom to let me try ballet. In my first class I recall looking around at all my peers, you know, three and four year olds, deciding then and there that I was already too old to become a prima ballerina. It seemed all the other girls were much better than me, so in my little mind that meant I couldn’t possibly catch up. I told my mom I didn’t like the class, but deep down I felt too old to start something as serious as ballet! I laugh now, but truth be told, I have felt this “too old” feeling at various times in my life.

Have you ever had this tape or another “too this or too that”? My version has to do with age and experience. Now that I am in my mid-fifties, this tape has the power to become an even stronger voice if I let it. Instead, I am embracing the approach of engaging in novel experiences with a “Beginner’s Mind.” It takes letting go of old stories and opening up to new and different opportunities. January seems like as good a time as any to embrace this more conscious mindset.

Part of the challenge is being open to invitations that take you out of your comfort zone. For me, it’s about being open for more spontaneity while also planning ahead and calendaring in new activities, like the Barre class. I call it my Both/And Approach. Taking the black and white out of the story allows for a whole lot more fun and lightness.

It’s early in the year to give much of a report, but I will say in the last few weeks I have kayaked the caves of La Jolla, stood on an ocean pier to watch the King Tides show their majestic power with 10 foot waves crashing around us and taken a half day off to go play in snow at the mountains —Trust me, snow is a novelty for Southern California and if you miss it, it’s melted and gone. That’s how opportunities are at four or fifty four—you have to take advantage or lose out.

A Sign of the Times

734650_10151430864545795_1701895666_nDriving to a meeting today I was struck by a hand made sign on the road that simply said “Spend Your Time Collecting Memories.”

This sign reminded me of a new habit I am working on establishing called “The Five Moment Memoir.” I saw it in a magazine some time ago, which was the brainchild of (then) unemployed freelance writer Sarah Beauchamp. I loved the idea, clipped it to save, and recently found it in my file so decided to make this a part of my journaling.

Here’s how it works: Instead of writing down five things you are grateful for (which I have done on and off for years), you write snapshots from your day. Simply think of five things that have happened in the last 24 hours—the highlights and the lowlights. The idea is not to sugarcoat, but to identify key moments to recall that represent “A day in the life of…you.”

I love this approach because I tend to not repeat myself as I often do in my gratitude journal (My family, clean sheets, the Great Outdoors, and yummy meals often make that list.) With this Five Moment Memoir I etch in my brain the day, defining for myself what five things make the cut, often savoring something I especially enjoyed.

It’s also good for me because it delineates the day and is really helpful because when I re-read these pages, I can recall with detail these experiences. I highly recommend if you have hit the stage in life (like me) when things start to merge together, i.e., “What film was it we liked so much last month, with that talented actress–you know her name?” An awesome film would make my list and when I write it down and then have it to refer to, it gets to another level of my brain and I seem to remember everyday life better.

This only-takes-a-few-moments-to-do daily memoir can also be therapeutic, as you decompress, ruminate, or appreciate something special. After all, life is rarely neutral, so your subjectivity will show up on these pages and that’s a good thing!

Live a Great Story

635695050015389976-1205142947_letter-to-meIn the car this morning I was struck by four words on a poster along the road that simply said: “Live a Great Story.” It stuck with me as I drove, thinking what an insightful reminder, to own the story and remember that we each have one that unfolds every day.

Our stories have key characters, plot lines and backdrops. Some of us are in the first act, with many unknowns as we are getting launched. While others are in later acts, when more is revealed and some story lines have to be cut or rewrites happen, when we create and refine to build momentum and change the story at some mid-point.

Joseph Campbell calls this A Hero’s Journey and he wrote extensively about what he called the Five Act Structure: Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and finally, the Denouement or Resolution. If we are lucky, we can experience several such journeys in one lifetime, being bold enough to start out in unknown territory, to answer the call to adventure, meeting challenges along the way—all the while learning and growing and becoming stronger and more certain of who we are and what we are made of. That’s part of the beauty of growing wiser in our years here on earth, as we realize how precious this one life is and if we live it fully, it can be enough.

There is this great exercise I have done before that really drills down to the essence of what we each want our lives to look and feel like when we are much older and on the downhill ride:

  1. Spend some time alone, maybe take a long walk or meditate and then think about your life up to now—the ages and stages that have defined you.
  2. Then pull out a piece of paper and begin writing yourself a letter today, but from your 80 year self. What would this wise person say to you? Is there an overriding theme you see emerging? What do you imagine you will know then that you don’t know now? How many new experiences will you have had to live before amassing the wisdom you hope for at 80? (Note: Be mindful not to judge or criticize. This exercise is meant to show loving kindness and compassion to allow you to impart wisdom from a deep place that is always there.)
  3. Tuck this letter away and make it a point to re-read annually, on a day that offers you significance

Life is a series of choices. In essence, these choices present our priorities and if we are honest and live authentically, we will have congruence in our words and deeds. I am feeling my inner 80-year old coming out right now, ready to write that letter!