‘The Cycle of Renewal’ – Navigating transitions in our lives: Getting Ready
My last two blog posts have been dedicated to explaining the Cycle of Renewal (as identified by the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara) that we all undertake every time we undergo change in our lives. So far, we’ve looked at:
Phase 2: The Doldrums – the stage where we identify a need for a change and consider what we need to let go of in order to make that change. This piece can be found here.
Phase 3: Cocooning – the stage where we identify the strengths and qualities we’ll take with us on our transition by tapping into our inner selves. This piece can be found here.
In this post, I’m going to explain Phase 4: Getting Ready, a really exciting stage of every transition.
By this point, you will have developed an idea of how you want to move forward and you’ll be ready to start turning those thoughts into actions, taking on the new. That’s what Getting Ready is all about, where The Passionate Self emerges to enjoy new beginnings in this energetic and enlightening phase!
I’ll use the example of someone who is transitioning to a new career. In Phase 2, this person will have identified what they needed to let go of something from their old career to be happy, and in Phase 3, they will have identified their strengths and how they want to progress forward. In Phase 4, they start laying the plans and foundations for their new career move, maybe going on training courses, practising new skills – all the time knowing that this added knowledge or skill set will help qualify them in their new career. At this stage, a coach like me can help you identify those actions you need to take to get yourself ready.
In Phase 4, you’ll be throwing yourself into everything, oozing enthusiasm that is infectious to those around you. The word ‘enthusiasm’ has its roots in the Greek ‘entheos’, meaning ‘powered by a God’, and that’s exactly how you’ll feel! A man or woman on a mission, a person on fire who can change the world.
Be mindful, however, that as a coachee, you will have just come out of a deep period of reflection, and although keen to get on, you may do so with some trepidation. This is quite normal as, by definition you are moving into unchartered territory. You will be clearly confident of your gifts and talents for this brave new world, but will also need to craft new tools and imbibe new ideas and methodologies.
Getting Ready: my own experience
Between 2012 and 2014, I embarked on an MBA at Ashridge Business School to Get Ready for a new stage of my career. After 20 years of speaking professionally to the business community, and developing my coaching and facilitator practice in order to ‘brand out from the crowd’, I found myself in The Doldrums. A good number of sportsmen from the last two Olympic games and a myriad of those from 2012 were adding fervour to the competing rivalry from existing motivational speakers, and I realised I needed to develop myself to offer something more for the future.
An inventory compiled during Phase 3 (Cocooning) informed me that my experience and insights as a business speaking professional would be enhanced if backed up by an academic qualification. Additionally, the insights I would gain from working as a student alongside Heads of Departments and business owners would prepare me for a consulting role or to work with business executives in the future.
There were parts of the program in which I excelled, and other areas that really stretched me, which is typical during Phase 4. In order to get the best out of this phase, I asked myself:
- What new information do I need to take on?
- How can I best prepare for the idealised future?
- Where are the gaps in my knowledge/experience?
- Who or which institution is currently the expert in the field, and how can I meet them and emulate them?
- What are my development needs?
As a result, I was able to fully utilise the skills and knowledge I developed in my MBA to prepare me for my career beyond.
Be mindful for Phase 4 success
Phase 4 is an energetic and passionate phase as you identify and act on those things you need to jettison you on. However, for all the energy and passion you’ll be emanating, there are a couple of things to keep in mind if your transition is to be successful.
1. Prepare to fail
At this stage, nobody expects you to be an expert, so you shouldn’t either. You’re trying things out for the first time, refining your skills and learning from experience. When I made the transition from the 400m flat to the 400m hurdles, I couldn’t expect to win immediately. In my first race in May, I fell flat on my face over the fifth hurdle. In June, having won the British Championships smashing three hurdles in the process, I was described as a “wallowing rhino”. However, by August, I made the World Championships final and was number one in the country!
I just had to learn that, even when on the right path, it was going to take time and practice to get there. So with due respect to positive mental attitude (PMA), it is important that you are prepared to fail. Those who are not prepared to fail do so each and every time, as they never take on anything beyond their comfort zone for fear of a return to The Doldrums once they meet the first hurdle (a metaphorical one this time!).
Remember, failure is a great teacher! Failure isn’t final, it’s feedback – and the feedback of champions. Once you lose, you can learn how to win.
2. Don’t forget to move on
As you become more practiced and more successful in Phase 4, you can be hoodwinked into thinking you’ve made it without completing the journey. The athlete who competes against his peers, knowing he’ll win, but is too afraid to take that final step into the arena against those he can’t guarantee he’ll beat. The newly-qualified therapist who wants to take ‘just one more course’ before she takes on paying clients.
Getting Ready is not the end of the cycle; it is the stage that prepares you for full flight. So don’t be scared to take off!
My next post will complete this series and explain the most exciting part of your transition – Phase 1: Go for it!
The Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara is leader in the field of coaching, and has been providing knowledge- and skill-based coach training for over 25 years. For more information please visit: http://www.hudsoninstitute.com