New beginnings: Is there a gaping hole in your life because of a big event that’s now over, practically anyway? Could be a career change, a significant health or mental health diagnosis, the end of a relationship, the end of your masters degree, or your adult children are fully on their own. We all have times like this. The old is not gone; the new is not quite routine yet. You’ve lost a purpose, perhaps a community, a person.
It’s that in between, not-really-limbo-but-kind-of-is-limbo stage. Now what?
You’ve got to let go… at least begin to.
While you work on the “next,” consider how you’ll let go of the past.
Holding on is like clutter.
The longer you hold onto what “was,” the stronger your mind’s resistance to what’s next.
You’ll be blocked by the mental clutter.
Start slowly with what you DO know
You know you need to figure out what’s next. You know this is an opportunity to choose your next path or chapter.
My practical suggestions are below. Psychologically, take a breath first.
Think about dreams. What did you do before [the life event] or before kids if you’re a parent. Older ideas are often a wonderful place to start because sometimes they were put on hold, so bring them back and at least try them. It’s a starting point if you’re feeling lost.
Take a look at positivepsychology.com, where you can read all about strengths, the top personality assessment used in psychology or take action; use the daily Activities for Exploring Character Strengths.
Use mindmapping software or an easel pad and have some colorful fun listing what you know what you want in your next chapter, what questions you have, your skills — everything you can think of. Eventually, you will see a picture and a direction.
One step. Wait. See what unfolds.
Choose, with the best of your abilities, a step. Just one step.
A small step feeds your soul with progress.
A step gives you some momentum.
Progress. Momentum. Combined with what you do know. That’s what helps you begin to move forward and believe that this new chapter is going to happen. It also makes it easier for some people to let go of where they’ve been, when they know they’re making progress going forwards.
More and more, we learn that action feeds our emotions and our belief we can do something. That’s as opposed to waiting until we feel ready.
How do you usually get going on a task? Talk to someone? Brainstorm? Research or read about what others have done? Play music that inspires? Take a walk?
Are you a highly verbal person? Love to talk? Enjoy language, books, socializing? Use that strength. Talk with friends, talk to yourself, talk to a voice recorder, write in your journal or gain insights with a coach; talk it through, getting the thoughts out of your head. Clarity comes for the verbal person when she lets the thoughts out of her head and captures them somewhere to be seen in totality.
Highly visual? Draw it out. Map it out. Use a whiteboard. Create a Post-it note with one small step on each note. Now sort them out. What do you see as a next step? What`s the picture of where you want to get to? What do the steps in between here and there look like? Create at least the first and second steps; not to worry about the whole path. It will unfold. Mind mapping works here.
Kinesthetic: You enjoy movement and speak with words that reflect energy and action. Where do you feel the most energy? What next step would stoke the fires? Rev up the car? Cause you to dance with great energy? Move you along the path most easily? Kinesthetic can also be in how you plan out your chapter; moving post it notes around or creating something as you bike or walk.
Cognitive strength? Do you typically read about something before starting a new project? After a limited period of research, [yes, limit yourself so you get going]…. you’ll want to ask yourself: What one next piece of information would move you forward? What do you need to know ? And then decide if you truly need to know all of that. You can only research so much before you act, because the research is not about you or your specific situation; it’s theoretical, so at some point, it needs to get put into practice in your life. Trust the process and yourself.
Highly intuitive? Create some quiet time to think and reflect. Go on a mini retreat – away for a weekend or simply to a quiet place like a library or outside to your favorite spot. It’ll come to you but you may not be able to rush it. You’ll know the next step when you can feel it arriving. Try on different ideas of next steps or possibilities and see what resonates.
We all have a mixture of strengths and ways we process what’s going on around us. Use your natural strengths to get yourself unstuck so that you can take a step to get you on your new path to your next chapter.
You don’t need to know the big vision or the end result; time moves so fast that things will change as you take another step along your path. Each step helps to draw down the overwhelm and get things into perspective.
And after this time of change you’ve been going through, isn’t it about time something got a little easier and clearer?
Not sure about your approach?
I first learned to think about these modalities here.
The positive psychology site and character strengths information is here.
I offer a 1/2 hour no charge introductory call to explore what you need – goals, results, issues; and for you to ask questions, understand how this works and discuss pricing/timing.
Contact me here: Sue@CoachSueWest.com or textcell 603 765 9267