A year ago I dreamt of qualifying as a coach and building my own coaching business. Today, I attended my online graduation and am now a qualified Life Coach and NLP Practitioner. I've started my own coaching business and begin a new chapter in my life and career. I've achieved this during a year that has no doubt changed our world forever (I'm looking at you COVID to name but one) and feel immensely proud of the determination and resilience I've drawn on to turn my dreams into a reality. And, I'm just getting started.
I've been reflecting on the importance of closing out chapters of my life and acknowledging the feelings that come up with doing so. Sometimes when one thing ends, we're not quite ready to start the new one and may feel like we're in a holding state or neutral zone, waiting for the next thing to begin. It can feel like we're in no man's land. That's how I've felt over the last few weeks and it has encouraged me to be curious about the feelings that have come up. The joy of completing my course, the excitement of starting my own business, the sadness of losing the structure and connection that my course provided (especially during the last six months), the fear of venturing out on my own (what if I fail?) and the curiosity about where my passion and vision will take me over the next few days, weeks, months.
I've taken the time to feel all of this, to choose to be aware of each emotion and acknowledge its presence. I'll admit that in the past I haven't always done that. I've rushed from one thing to next, not celebrating my successes, driven by moving on to the next thing, the next to do list, the next milestone. By doing so I missed out on a key part of the chapter, how to say goodbye. Goodbyes have never been my forte (a topic for another time) so, it doesn't surprise me that in the past I've struggled to acknowledge when something has ended and simply sit with that before starting the next thing. No time like the present to change that behaviour and I'm really feeling the benefits of doing so.
Be Present: For me, being present is at the heart of saying goodbye to an experience, emotion, behaviour. If I'm worrying about the future, or clinging on to the past I'm not being present and I'm certainly not acknowledging the emotions coming up in that moment.
Sharing: I find that talking to others and sharing what my experience is like or how I'm feeling really supports and validates what's coming up for me. I also love to journal and it's a great resource if I'm not quite ready to share with others. I'm not asking others to provide answers or reassure me it's all going to be OK. I simply ask them to listen and to hold space for me. I find this supports me in knowing that I'm not experiencing all of this on my own.
Kindness: At the centre of all of this, I need (and I do mean need) to be kind to myself. To let things come up, to thank and acknowledge them and to not judge myself. Feelings will come and go, and just know they won't last forever.
Curiosity: If I'm curious about what's coming up, how I feel, how I can ask for support then I won't sit in a place of judgment - of myself or others. Where there is curiosity, judgment simply cannot exist.
Celebrate: When I've achieved something, it's so important to celebrate. To share the joy with others, to carve out time to reflect on the experience and of course celebrate. To gather up all the resources I've developed and anchor them to the experience of celebration. Because when times get tough, I may need to draw on those moments and resources to navigate through tricky times. It's also important to celebrate those who have supported me along the way. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and that's true of anything we accomplish. We always have support from those around us.
This is not an exhaustive list, but definitely includes key practises that ensure I start a new chapter with a clear head and heart. I'm excited and eager to see what happens next and I feel so much more grounded having said goodbye properly to the last chapter before I begin this new one.
I'd love to hear if this resonated with you and what are your practises/rituals for starting a new chapter in your life?