As summer winds to an end, school’s starting, and Fall is right around the corner, we are reminded that seasons – life chapters – come and go.
Something happens to you, and with it something changes. Maybe many things change. At times like that we often default to our innate wiring of either excitement for the coming change, or concern because our status quo has moved. Even when change is good, our personal definition of normal undergoes a dramatic overhaul. Human nature (and our ego) is to believe that if we are alive and surviving today’s circumstances then all is good, and our effort is to keep it that way. But oftentimes because of change, we actually have the opportunity to start again and write a new chapter with intention.
Here are some practical steps for a positive start to your new chapter:
Change happens > carefully plan your first month.
In the face of change your world is shaken up. Some change brings on more of that than others, but no matter its significance, an opportunity arises to shift your routine. Perhaps you’ve lost your job, or your business’s largest client. Suddenly, things are completely different. Time to revise your marketing strategy, expend some prospecting dollars and fill that void.
Do something out of the ordinary.
If you have metaphorically jumped out of the plane into the abyss of the unknown, why not do it literally. You never, ever, imagined yourself skydiving…but why not now! Experiencing a tandem skydive was one of my life’s greatest breakthroughs to realize “the sky’s not the limit”. Now, while that is a pretty drastic move, the idea here is to shake up your routine so that you start to “get” that something is new and different.
Take off your hero cape.
You can’t confront big changes all by yourself. Author Brené Brown says that vulnerability is the key to connecting with others. I think it’s hard for most people to ask for help. Our ego and pride get in the way. Humility and humbleness, along with their cousin Gratitude, are often derivatives of change, and that’s a good thing. When I had my perfect storm a few years ago, I could not have gotten through it without the support of my friends and family. Accepting support is a healthy part of relationships with others. My experience has always been that the situation is just a season in life and that one day it will be you helping them through something.
Rediscover what you enjoy.
I often coach individuals going through some major life transition like a divorce or job loss. Once we acknowledge and talk through the elephant in the room and I determine what they would like as a result of the situation. We then devise a strategy for creating this new life…new you. And, the first thing I ask is, “What do you want?”. Inevitably, it has been awhile since they thought about that. My first homework assignment for them (and you, if this resonates with you) is to do a brain dump of your desires. And, expect that you can’t write fast enough so I recommend you start up your voice memo app and just record it. The idea is to get it all out of your head so that you can truly focus on the important.
Be kind to yourself when you have a low moment.
When starting a new chapter, there will be setbacks and low points when you think, “Can I do this?” or “Will life feel normal again?”, expect them. Allow yourself this reality. Talk to a friend, write in your journal, pray or meditate, and find your own way to learn and regroup.
The adjustment to big changes isn’t linear. It isn’t that each day gets better and better. It’s a wavy line that moves up and down. Accept that one day or hour may just be harder for no obvious reason.
Contribute to something bigger than you.
Contributing to something bigger than you changes your perspective. Also, in those times when you are completely self-focused, you can turn it upside down by contributing to something bigger. Your definition of bigger may be helping those in your community or your extended family or by providing an opportunity for those that work in your business.
Rewrite your story.
This is your chance to do something you have always wanted to do. Rather than look back and miss what has changed, think about what you can do now that you couldn’t before. It’s never too late to start your new business, write your first book, begin a new career, volunteer at the nonprofit you’ve always admired, or get the degree you’ve always wanted. The years will go by regardless, so live them with intention.
Starting a new chapter can be scary, it can be sad, it can be exciting… all rolled into one. Navigating the new and different can bring you to a better place. Perhaps my Living Life with Intention or Create The Life You Want workshops would be of interest.
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