‘The Cycle of Renewal’ – Navigating transitions in our lives: Go For It
This post completes my series explaining the amazing Cycle of Renewal (as identified by The Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara) – the process we all undergo every time we make transitions 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 (Read post here: Linked to Article 1)
- Phase 3: Cocooning – the stage where we identify the strengths and qualities we’ll take with us on our transition by tapping into our core values and our inner selves (Read post here: Linked to Article 2)
- Phase 4: Getting Ready – the stage where we take on new skills and knowledge to equip and prepare us for our transition (Read post here: Linked to Article 3)
And now we complete the cycle with Phase 1: Go For It – the stage where we can finally put all those thoughts, plans and preparations into action as we embark upon a new change in our lives.
As I explained in my last post, some people can get stuck in Phase 4 of this cycle, focusing on the preparation without taking that final leap into practice. Entering Phase 1 can take courage, but with faith in all you’ve done to get this far, you can take that leap to show yourself you can be the person you want to be.
Go For It is about planning, strategy and action. We put a stake in the ground and say, “Geronimo!”, jumping into our future. Fresh from the Getting Ready phase, we will hopefully have found new friends, mentors and buddies who will be important for this step of the journey. The networking we have done allows us to collaborate with those who are most in tune with where we are going; they may be suppliers, clients, co-workers or customers, but we are clear about who we are and how we contribute to the success of our team – virtual or otherwise.
At this stage, we see the Heroic Self emerge – you’ve been on a hero’s journey and you’re launching out! You may not be the finished article, and you may still have much to learn, but this is the difference between learning in the classroom and learning in the real world, the difference between training on the track and competing in the arena.
In this phase, the act of having a strategy is more important than the actual nature of that strategy. Whatever it entails, you need ‘buy-in’ from those around you, and you need to make sure you implement it. Strategies often fail because, despite remaining great on paper, they don’t get implemented.
And let me be clear that by ‘implementing’, I don’t mean starting with the right intentions and carrying on regardless, even when the strategy isn’t working; sometimes we have to stop and restart again after a strategic review. I love Mike Tyson’s famous words on strategy: “Strategy, strategy, everyone has a strategy until they get a smack in the mouth!” Crude, I know, but right on point! The inexperienced amongst us think that success is a straight line from A-Z, but those with the scars of success know that it’s more like ‘A-D-C-M-B’ and so eventfully to Z.
Phase 1 also re-starts the cycle of transition. As I’ve explained already, we undergo many transitions in our lives (whether we’re aware of them or not), so every time we complete one, so we also start the cycle of our next one.
It could well be that you remain in Phase 1 for years before you hit the plateau that takes you into Phase 2. Maybe you’re someone who’s started their own business, seen it grow, seen it develop, then after time…BOOM! There are new entrants to the market, there’s disruption from technology, pressure from the customer – it’s a changing landscape so you feel the need for a new direction. At this point, you might re-enter The Doldrums as you evaluate how to move forward, and so the process begins again.
Mini-transitions: From The Doldrums to Go For It
You’ll notice the black arrows running across the cycle from right to left, taking you straight from The Doldrums to Go For It. This is what we call a ‘mini-transition’, where you only need to undertake minor changes to return back to Phase 1, without undergoing Phases 3 and 4. This happens when there’s not much wrong; you only need a small bit of realisation to get you back on track to where you’ve always been, but doing it better.
An example from the business world is the savvy executive who will have a trusted advisor they use as an accounting board, reflection post and performance coach. This advisor helps keep the boss’ feet to the fire and encourages them to continually raise the bar. The peak performance individual knows there is a thin line between confidence (which we all need) and complacency (which is a real no-no), and so constantly re-evaluates their performance to push it ever up.
This was exactly the backdrop for the World Championship-winning relay team that I was part of in 1991. We British underdogs were prepared to take a risk and do something different, while the mighty American team were complacent in their undoubted athletic superiority, man-for-man. However, our small change of putting our best man first followed by our only other quarter-miler second, disturbed the order of things. It was this that put us in contention on the last leg, which was new territory for us and our rivals, and the rest is history. Well said the preacher, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall!”
The Cycle of Renewal in summary
Thus concludes this series of posts on the Cycle of Renewal. As I said in the first one, there are only two certainties in life – that we are born, and that we die – and everything else in between is subject to change. We undergo transition after transition in our careers, our relationships and our perceptions of ourselves, and whether we know it or not, we all undergo the Cycle of Renewal each time.
Being conscious of the Cycle of Renewal, however, helps us make the most of those transitions, helping us to become the very best we can be. Through your own awareness and the guidance of a Career/Life Transitions Coach, you can navigate each phase efficiently and effectively, showing yourself that you really do have the power to become that person you’ve always wanted to be.
My next blogging series will cover motivation and the nine different motivational drivers that may reside within us according to James Sale – each of which may have more relevance to us at different stages of the Cycle of Renewal.
For the word ‘motivation’, I like to think of the words, ‘Motive for Action’. In particular, motivational drivers propel your ambition and security in the Go For It phase, and so it’s important to understand which ones apply to you, as we all have different motivations. Until then, I’ll leave you with this picture to sum up the concept of differing motivational drivers; both animals are undoubtedly motivated, but for very different reasons!
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