‘The Cycle of Renewal’ - Navigating transitions in our lives: Cocooning
In my last blog post, I introduced you to the Cycle of Renewal, the transitional process that helps us navigate change in our lives – taking us from where we are in the present to where we want to be in the future.
I’ve already covered Phase 2: The Doldrums – the point where we identify a need for a change in our lives, asking ourselves questions that force us to identify what we need to release in order to move forward.
This blog post is all about Phase 3: Cocooning. And rather than focusing on what we need to release, this is the stage where we identify what we need to hold on to as we make our transition.
As you transition to the new, you’ll bring with you the amazing qualities that have got you this far – the things that make you, you – and in Phase 3, we identify those strengths. It’s a very powerful stage as you ask yourself the following questions:
- Who am I right now?
- Where am I going?
- What is my core, my vision?
- What are my deep-held values?
- What makes me unique?
- What am I good at?
- What do I need to hold on to?
In essence, these lead to the overarching question, “If money was no object, and success was guaranteed, what would I do and why?”
The role of the coach in Cocooning
Working with clients, either one-to-one or within a group, it is always beneficial to probe around these questions. As a coach, I aim to find out ‘the who’ (who is going on the journey with you), the ‘what’ (what this future looks like), ‘the why’ (why this is important to you and those around you, as once you know ‘the why’, ‘the how’ becomes easy!), the ‘when’ (when this change will happen), and ‘the where’ of the future.
This is a highly creative phase; it is a deep, introspective journey where anything is possible and there are no limits on existential thinking. This is the design stage of your life. In fact, if you look at what is going on in your life right now, it will be because you have answered these questions in the past – either by default or design.
The skilful helper’s aim is to be the midwife that births these ideas from the subconscious to reality. I love working with clients and getting them to create this world by using pictures, mood boards, and psychometric mapping designed to ‘get it all out in the open’. Then, like the chief executive officer of your sojourn, I can help you piece it all together to create a plan for your future.
The coachee’s response in Cocooning
In Cocooning, you will begin to find a synergy in the world. In line with that ancient quote, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”, you’ll find that the right people will come into your space; music on the radio will seem to be talking about you; as you go for walks in the park, ideas will pop into your mind; while reading articles, certain words will leap off the page.
Collecting this data is a crucial element for success and it’s important to diarise your thoughts as they emerge. One way of doing so is via the model of the ‘Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge’. If you are unfamiliar with this, a quick Google search will reveal this well-worn model that is used in creative writing, and it is the ‘madman phase’ which is ideal for writing this epistle of life to self.
Eventually, you’ll find that by asking these questions and getting your ideas down, you’ll tap into your core essence to power you forward through the transitional process. I’ll use an example from experience.
Cocooning in practice: From Kezie to Kriss
We encounter many changes throughout our lives, and so undergo this important evaluative process many times. A major point at which I underwent a huge change in my life was when I went into the army, aged 16, after leaving the children’s home where I grew up.
My reason for going into the army was because it was a safe alternative to the prospect of ‘Bedsit Land’, guaranteeing food and shelter in return for the regimen of army life. On the train to the army barracks, I started to ask myself who I was, and what I was going to bring to this new life to make it a success.
Growing up, I’d always been a bit of a people-pleaser – someone who was easily led and would make trouble to fit in with ‘the gang’. In the army, I wasn’t going to let that happen, and in considering this, I also reinvented me. Growing up as Kezie, I gave myself a new name. It had to begin with a ‘K’ as that’s what my passport read, and after the serious consideration of ‘Keith’ (that’s who I nearly became!), I finally settled on ‘Kriss’.
Once at the barracks, ‘Kriss’ came into his own. He was determined to succeed, determined not to be one of the 400 new recruits who wouldn’t make it to the end of their training. I brought with me my determination, my focus – qualities I’d had all along but not employed in this way. One Sergeant McKenzie saw my potential as an athlete, and I responded as I’d never done before. Soon I realised I could be accepted through positive actions, not negative actions. My athletic ability was then what led me towards a whole new transition.
So Cocooning is all about tapping into your Inner Self – awakening something that lies inside and helps you realise your potential. It could take months or even years as you begin to reflect, develop your ideas, bring them to the fore and plan how they will become actions. As you’ve seen, coaches can help you in this process, helping you come to your conclusions more quickly, and if you’re working with me, I’ll dare you to look at different aspects of yourself and help you get them out there!
Only then can we move to Phase 4 – Getting Ready.