By Kay Newton
Retirement is often a time of questions, for example, “Is there more to life?” and “What do I want to do with the next 30+ years?” We cannot turn to previous generations for the answers. Our parents and grandparents had different life expectations. Today, women may have more vitality and drive, yet deciding a new direction can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? The HIGH5 assessment may hold the answer.
Latvia-based Arina Volkova loves how the HIGH5 assessment tool started. She says, “It offers something different than other tools and reflects more of what a person ‘is’ rather than ‘how’ they are defined.”
In 2015, Ukrainian Dmitry Golubnichy was on a mission to make his own life happier. He decided to share a daily image on social media, using the hashtag #100happydays. People organically joined in and the ‘100 Happy Days’ project naturally progressed into positive psychology. Today, the non-profit foundation has over 8 million participants from 160 countries, with an estimated 19 percent improvement in happiness levels.
Dmitry and his team found a scientific approach to happiness and launched numerous projects to bring this science to the masses. One of them is a precise strength assessment tool called HIGH5. It can be used worldwide by individuals and businesses to find out what they are naturally good at. The main results of the strengths test are accessible free of charge.
“There has been a lot of test-taking, refining and honing to make the system user-friendly and helpful for every person,” says Arina, who has been working with the team for a year. “The product is well researched, so is the methodology behind the assessment. We wanted individuals to be self-aware, and to have the ability to interpret their results without needing any third-party help.”
Arina even asked her mum to take the test. “I was so surprised at the confidence the test gave my mum. Her newfound focus and happiness made me realise that HIGH5 can help the senior generation too.”
Her mother Natalya adds, “Like many women who have dedicated their lives to others, it is so easy to forget and appreciate who you are. You need an external resource to see the obvious – whether it is to define a new hobby or to offer your skill set and knowledge to charities or the workplace. This tool is a great place to start.”
Jayne Lunn, 59, from Norfolk, UK, recently retired from a career working for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Always busy with work and family, Jayne found her new freedom overwhelming. She started doing research and was astonished by the range of hobbies and careers people had moved onto at retirement.
“I had a sense of being lost. The more I looked for answers, the more options there were. I felt confused and under pressure to quickly identify what my next move would be. I stopped like a rabbit in the headlights. My mindset seemed stuck in doing what I had always done and I could not imagine or see how my skills could lead me towards different avenues,” she shares.
It was very clear to Jayne that she did not want to go back into the NHS. “I looked at volunteering but again struggled to see beyond things that I knew well. I was concerned that I would not be able to turn my nurse head off.”
“For me, the HIGH5 test was more intuitive and not so analytical. It was spookily accurate,” she says. “Some traits mentioned in the report I knew from previous tests and I have used them throughout my nursing career. Others attributes, for example, ‘Philomath’ (someone who likes to teach and learn) are part of me, yet have never been defined. One of my top strengths is ‘Self-Believer’, so innate within me, I would have never pitched it as a strength. The paid version also showed five lower strengths, not as weaknesses, rather strengths you can delegate to others.”
The test made Jayne realise that short-term projects suited her. “I loved the way my strengths were described and it would make it easy to pitch them to an employer or to develop projects in the future,” she says. “The Covid lockdown stopped me pursuing the routine I had imagined for my retirement. Now I can see a new way forward. I now have a focus that feels exciting.”
Kay Newton is an award-winning speaker, writer and midlife strategist. Follow her on KayNewton.com.
First published in eShe’s October 2020 issue