Career Planning Sustainability

How To Use End-of-Career Planning For Personal & Professional Growth

We often focus on the next big promotion, the upcoming project, or the skills we need to acquire. However, there’s an often-overlooked aspect of career planning that can have profound effects on both personal and professional growth: end-of-career planning.

This process, which includes considerations like retirement planning, legacy building, and yes, even will writing, can be a powerful catalyst for growth and self-reflection.

The Power of Long-Term Vision

When we engage in end-of-career planning, we’re forced to adopt a long-term perspective.

In an interview where he talked about his long-term vision, Dana White, the President of the UFC, said: “Anything can be changed. Anything can be fixed. Things that are broken can be fixed. And you don’t have to be some billionaire or millionaire to do it. You just have to be a person with a vision and the passion to do it, and be willing to fight for it every day.”

This shift in viewpoint can dramatically alter how we approach our current work and personal development.

Goal Setting: By envisioning where we want to be at the end of our careers, we can work backwards to set meaningful, long-term goals. This process often reveals gaps in our current skill sets or experiences, providing clear targets for professional development.

Value Alignment: Contemplating our legacy encourages us to reflect on our core values. This introspection can lead to better alignment between our daily work and our deepest held beliefs, resulting in increased job satisfaction and personal fulfilment.

Personal Growth Through Self-Reflection

End-of-career planning isn’t just about financial preparations. It’s a deeply personal journey that can spark significant personal growth.

“Proactive people are not necessarily those who anticipate every change. They are those who create change,” says productivity expert and best-selling author Stephen Covey.

Self-Discovery: The process of planning for the end of our career often brings to light aspects of ourselves we may have overlooked. What do we truly want to be remembered for? What impact do we want to have? These questions can lead to profound self-discovery.

Emotional Intelligence: Facing the reality of our professional mortality can be emotionally challenging. However, this process can greatly enhance our emotional intelligence as we learn to grapple with complex feelings about ageing, legacy, and life transitions.

Professional Development with Purpose

When we engage in end-of-career planning, it often reshapes our approach to professional development in powerful ways.

Skill Prioritisation: Understanding our long-term career goals helps us prioritise which skills to develop. Instead of chasing every new trend, we can focus on the competencies that will truly matter in the long run.

Mentorship and Leadership: As we consider our legacy, many of us are inspired to take on mentorship roles or seek leadership positions where we can have a lasting impact on our organisations and industries.

The Role of Will Writing

According to David Kaplan, Co-founder at online will writing service, “preparing a will may seem morbid at first glance, but coming to the end of your career is a seminal time of life which causes many of our clients to get their affairs in order.”

Though it’s often down towards the bottom of the priority list for many at this stage, there can be surprising benefits for personal and professional growth.

Clarity of Purpose: Writing a will requires us to clearly articulate our values and what we want our legacy to be. This clarity often spills over into our professional lives, helping us make decisions more aligned with our true purpose.

Motivation for Achievement: Defining how we want to be remembered can be a powerful motivator in our careers. It can push us to achieve more and strive for the impact we want to have.

Embracing Change and Continuity

End-of-career planning helps us embrace the inevitability of change while also considering how we want our influence to continue beyond our active working years.

Adaptability: Recognising that our careers will eventually end makes us more adaptable to other changes along the way. This flexibility is a crucial skill in today’s rapidly evolving job market.

Legacy Planning: Thinking about how our work can continue to have an impact even after we’ve retired can lead to innovative thinking about knowledge transfer, succession planning, and creating lasting systems or processes in our organisations.


End-of-career planning, far from being a sombre or purely practical exercise, can be a powerful tool for personal and professional growth.

Think long-term, take time for self-reflection, and purposeful development. Done right, this can be an exercise that leads to more fulfilling lives.


This article was contributed by a guest author.

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