Sir Ernest Shackleton: An Inspiration

Episode 34: The Inspiring Sir Ernest Shackleton

I hope you enjoy episode 34 of my podcast, Sir Ernest Shackleton: An Inspiration. A few weeks ago I was reading the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It is one of my favorite books and I read it over and over. (You can purchase it from Amazon by clicking on the icon, hint hint, wink wink). In chapter 14, The Sixth Sense is about using your creative imagination. Hill created a mastermind group in his imagination. These were people that he admired, some alive and others long gone. They were people like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Abraham Lincoln. This got me thinking about people who inspire us.

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Hill was inspired by his mastermind group and would even have roundtable council meetings in his mind. During these meetings, he would have imaginary conversations with the members. Each one had a different quality that he admired. By doing this, he opened up his creative mind and came up with ideas on things he could accomplish. I began thinking about different people who I admired and who have inspired me throughout my life. So I decided to write about these inspirational people. They are people who overcame obstacles and were great leaders. I have learned great lessons from them. They have set excellent and inspirational examples for me to follow.

An Inspirational Leader

I will begin with an incredible leader, Sir Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton was born in 1874 in Kildare, Ireland. He was an Antarctic explorer who attempted to reach the South Pole. He joined Robert Scott’s expedition in 1901 and took part in the sledge journey across the Ross Ice Shelf. In January 1908, he led an expedition to Antarctica but was prevented from reaching their intended based site by the ice. On that expedition, he later led a sledging party to within 112 miles (180 km) of the South Pole. Due to their success in claiming the Victoria Land plateau for Britain, he was knighted on his return.

I first heard of Ernest Shackleton when I was given a book titled Endurance. You can also get this book by clicking on the icon to the right. (Another wink). The book, written by Alfred Lansing, is well written and inspirational. It entails the 1914 ill-fated expedition to Antarctica led by Shackleton. They proceeded from England aboard the ship, Endurance. The expedition had planned to make the first crossing of Antarctica. They would travel via the South Pole from the Weddell Sea to McMurdo Sound.

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Endurance

Trapped

The Endurance became trapped in the ice and drifted for 10 months. Eventually, the ice crushed the powerful ship. Shackleton and his men then drifted for another five months on ice floes. Running low on food and supplies, they escaped in boats to uninhabited Elephant Island.

Knowing their only hope for survival was a dangerous journey across the sea, Shackleton and five men set out in a whaleboat. Their destination was the tiny island of South Georgia. There was a whaling station where they could find help. South Georgia was 800 miles from Elephant Island. The journey took 16 days across a rough and dangerous ocean. Through expert navigation, they landed on the south side of South Georgia.

An Arduous Journey

Although elated to have reached their destination, Shackleton knew their ordeal was not over. The whaling station was on the north side of the island. They would have to cross rugged terrain to reach it. It had been 16 months since the Endurance had become trapped in the ice. The six men set out and eventually reached the whaling station. The whalers couldn’t believe their eyes when these six ragged men walked into their station.

Shackleton never forgot about the men they left behind on Elephant Island. He worried about them every day. Despite his lack of strength he wanted to set sail and rescue them right away. The weather wouldn’t allow for a return trip at that time. Shackleton never gave up. He made four unsuccessful attempts at rescuing his men.

Rescue!

Four months later Shackleton’s perseverance paid off and they successfully arrived at Elephant Island. Shackleton couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw that all his men were alive. They survived despite the lack of food sources and water on this barren island. All his men were loaded onto the ship and they embarked to Chile.

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You can see why I titled this podcast Sir Ernest Shackleton: An Inspiration. Sir Ernest Shackleton displayed extraordinary leadership in saving all his men. He is an inspirational figure in which I admire greatly. His unmatched perseverance is a lesson that we should all learn. Persevering and overcoming all obstacles is the key to success. Shackleton had a definitive purpose, rescuing his men, and nothing was going to stop him. He was dedicated to his men and put their needs before his. This is the definition of a leader.

I hope you enjoyed Sir Ernest Shackleton: An Inspiration. Do you have any particular person who inspires you? Are there people that you admire and help you on your journey? If so, leave a comment below and let me know. Always enjoy reading your comments.

The Importance Of Retirement Planning

I have been retired for seven years now and I enjoy every minute of it. I retired when I was 53 years old but could have (and should have) retired at the age of 50. There has been a lot to learn in my retirement. I can describe my retirement in one word, options. There are unlimited options for me now that I didn’t have when I worked for the government. I can be or do anything I want now. Today I want to discuss the importance of retirement planning.

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Planning For Retirement

When I was working, I attended a pre-retirement seminar a couple of years before I retired. We were allowed to request attendance five years before our minimum retirement date. At the end of the seminar, I wrote on my evaluation that it was great information. The only problem was we needed the information sooner. It was too late for a lot of people to do what was needed for a comfortable retirement. Here are five things to do for a comfortable retirement.

  1. Begin Planning Early.
  2. Develop Specialized Knowledge and Skills.
  3. Find a Good Financial Planner.
  4. Begin Saving Early.
  5. Pay off Your Mortgage.

Begin Planning For Retirement Early

When I started my career I was 23 years old. Two things that I never thought were going to happen back then were: I would retire; I would get old. When you’re young you never think about getting old but it is inevitable. It happens to all of us. Importance of retirement planning is crucial. Starting your career is when you should start planning for your retirement. Begin thinking about what you want to do and how you want to live when that day finally comes.

Beginning your plan early will allow you to adjust to everything life throws your way. Sometimes life throws you the good things, marriage, children, etc. Other times the bad things death, injury, sickness, etc. Good things and bad will affect your retirement. By planning for the future early in your career you can minimize the impact.

Specialized Skills And Knowledge In Retirement

During my 30 year career, I developed certain skills and knowledge. After I retired I learned that most of my skills and knowledge didn’t transfer to my new life. If you have generalized skills and knowledge, you will learn that everyone is retired with the same skills. There’s a lot of competition. Finding your niche will help you stand out against the competition. I suggest that you research throughout your career skills that are needed in the private sector. Take courses and study those skills to gain the knowledge that you need.

A Financial Planner Is Important

Find a good financial planner. Unless you are an expert on finances you will need a financial planner. They can help you make the right decisions with your money. This will allow you to keep as much money as you can before retirement. It is a big change to go from knowing a check is coming every two weeks to a smaller check once a month. You will need to supplement your retirement with other sources of income if you want to maintain your current lifestyle.

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Save Early And Often

Begin saving as early as you can. The earlier you begin the more money you will have in retirement. I always put money into my Thrift Savings Account, which is the government 401(k). If I had to do it over again I would maximize my contributions. In retirement, you can use your savings to supplement your retirement. I withdraw a certain amount every month. Because the stock market has done so well, my savings have increased.

Saving early is probably the most important thing you can do. I recommend setting a goal for the amount of money you want to save before retirement. For me, the best thing was having it withdrawn from my paycheck and placed into my account. Out of sight, out of mind. Since I never saw the money it was like it never existed. My savings account would grow every two weeks without me doing anything.

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Eliminate That Big Debt

Pay off your mortgage. My mortgage is my biggest expense as it is for most people. Since I transferred a lot during my career I was not able to pay off my last mortgage. I bought houses and sold houses; made and lost money. If I had stayed in one location, in the same house, I wouldn’t have to worry about a mortgage now. I think about what I could do in the places I could go if I didn’t have a mortgage. If at all possible, pay off your mortgage before you retire.

These are just five things I wish I had known before retirement. One can’t overstate the importance of retirement planning. I am not an expert on retirement or financial planning. I hope that you will begin thinking about retirement now that you are young and not wait until it’s too late. Do your research, make a plan, and find a financial planner to help you. Always remember to start saving early.

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