This past week I traveled to Santa Barbara, California for the completion of my Coach Certification Program. It was more than I could have hoped for. We gathered for the third time as a cohort of emerging coaches, and the sense of friendship and joint achievement was palpable. I’m amazed to have been a part of this group of people, and I hope that we remain in contact for a long time to come. Same for the faculty at the Hudson Institute. Brilliant people, master coaches and amazing leaders in the world of adult development.
The program this past week was supremely enriching, and layered quite nicely on top of past sessions, innumerable conference calls, reading, self-guided exploration and writing. I leave Hudson feeling like I am “more” than when I started and with a much broader perspective on who I am and how we humans live, grow and interact. It reawakened the joy of learning in me. So let’s call this 10 month journey a raging success!!
But it is the end. It is over. A friend and classmate, Tracy Nagel, posted on this topic a few weeks back on her blog Templeton Trails. She had a quote from Winnie the Pooh that sums my feelings up exactly:
“How lucky I am having something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
As I took the flight home I spent some time to sit with this feeling of melancholy and became friends with it. What arose for me in this process was a simple truth. When some things end, others are allowed to begin.
The ending of this program now allows me to begin my coaching practice, which also allows me to begin my process of retiring to the next chapter in my life.
The end of the extra demands on my time for the certification program have allowed me to begin next phase in my development plan to become certified in doing emotional intelligence assessments.
The ending of the structures we used in this program allow new structures to form from the same parts. What was our “Small Learning Group” may evolve to become a peer group that will allow us to help each other develop further. A few of us have also started a new alliance to develop business together.
The ending of our class frees the faculty to take on a new class of coaches, beginning the cycle again.
The examples go on and on in nature:
A caterpillar ends and a butterfly begins.
A forest dies in a fire and new growth emerges.
A day ends and the night creatures begin to stir.
Summer ends in Australia and begins in Canada.
Baby robins leave the nest and mother lays eggs anew.
While we can see some sadness in what is lost let’s also celebrate the experience, Pooh style. And then let’s move on to what might come next. What might happen if we focus on the joy in what is emerging? Otherwise don’t we remain stuck in the past and at risk of missing some great new opportunity? Elizabeth who blogs at Almost Spring has taught me a lot about this concept as she writes about the loss associated with divorce and how to look for new beginnings, even in something as difficult as that.
They are there, these beginnings. We just need to look for them and embrace them.
This same principle applies at work. Projects come to an end, but new opportunities emerge. Jobs can be lost, but often even greater opportunities appear. We may lose our expert status as we leave that job, but we gain the opportunity to learn something new. The team we left may miss us and our contribution, but a new team member appears with new energy and ideas. An employee leaves a job, but someone is there to add a new perspective to the role.
Processes, systems, markets, companies all change, leaving behind the old and bringing in the new.
The power is still in the new … in what’s emerging. What does it take for us to let go of the old (it’s gone or going anyway) and enthusiastically embrace the new? How do we look for opportunity instead of loss? What if we assume that we are capable, resourceful people who always seem to thrive once we are settled into a new thing? What if we remember our Kangaroo Tail, that strength we carry with us that always comes through for us, and look instead to what’s possible for us in the new?
Do we, as leaders, project this attitude, this way of thinking to our team members? Do we help them understand that in the work world nothing is ever really lost if we view everything that has gone before simply as our experience we take forward with us? Do we help them discover what opportunities may lie ahead for them as they contemplate the emerging new environment?
In the end, there is a beginning ….
… at least one.
This picture reminded me of a new beginning. A beautiful shot by Wendy Bull of Calgary.