My new beginning began when I left the Regional HR Manager position at Capers in 2008 after the merger with Whole Foods Markets. I began doing some HR consulting for small businesses shortly afterward. It was a big change.
Finding the new beginning
After several years of experience as an HR Consultant and a lot of thinking, I decided to “retire” from HR. HR best practices remain part of my tool kit. I am still a CHRP, but now my focus is on writing, consulting, facilitation, and developing programs.
Here’s my learning from my transition; may it help you find a way to realizing your dream!
10 Steps to Prepare a New Beginning
1. Realize transition is a process and not an event.
I thought the transition happened when I left my old position, but I discovered that the process started before I left and continued for a long time afterwards. Trying new things and reflecting on what I enjoyed and did well was helpful. What do you want to continue to do? When do you feel great? What are you doing when you have your most enjoyable, most stimulating interactions with others?
2. Celebrate What You Achieved and Mourn What Is Passing Away
Appreciate where you have been and reflect on what it provides for your new beginning. What knowledge, skills, experience, insights, and connections did you find? What will you be sad to leave? What is unlikely to come again? Acknowledging what I lived helped me move forward.
3. Discover and resolve unfinished business
If you have any regrets, or have left something undone, whether communication or work, do what you can to finish. If you are unable to finish with someone in person or by phone, try writing a letter, even if you don’t send it. If it’s work that isn’t done, sometimes the other party doesn’t actually want you to complete it as funds, time, or interest has run out. This may not affect your own need to finish the work. If so, inquire more deeply. What is important to you about completing? What are the consequences if you don’t complete? Look for ways you can finish and respect your own feelings and needs.
4. Offer appreciation and gratitude for what you have received from others and through your own efforts
The previous steps bring to mind those who have helped us, cheered us, taught us, been companions, and those who made us confront the error of our ways. We remember the times when we persevered, floundered in confusion, and relished accomplishment. Often, we weren’t alone. As you feel the gifts others have given you, take time to thank them. Remember to appreciate the work you did and effort you made as well. Sometimes offering yourself genuine appreciation can be much harder than offering appreciation to others.
5. Take time to experience this space, clear of past obligations and what has been; be patient with not knowing
After clearing the past, a rare silence grows. The space between the out-breath and in-breath; it can be short or much longer than you anticipated. It can be hard to be there if you are anxious about the future and worried about what comes next. If you can be patient with not knowing what the future holds, and confident that the work of the past has planted seeds for the future, you can begin to get a sense of your new beginning. This step is essential, often uncomfortable, often avoided, and yet it offers a rich harvest of insight and new understanding if you stick with it. What comes up for you in this space between what was and what could be?
6. Clear what you no longer need
At each stage of our journey we acquire information, ideas and things that go with that part of our life. As you move away from the past, let go of what you no longer need; move it on to those who can use it now. As you release the things that no longer provide support it frees both space and energy for what’s coming next. Here’s a link to get you started from Zen Habits
7. Pay attention to when you are happy and to what people appreciate about you
Once you shed the habits of your old life, other sources of happiness and new ways of appreciating what you bring start to appear. Log or note when you are happy and what was going on. When someone thanks you or appreciates something that you’ve said or done, make a note, and find out more specific information if you can. When you feel happy and strong you are probably using your strengths. When someone else offers thanks or appreciation, they are likely responding to one of your strengths. When we spend 20% or more of our time using our strengths, doing what we do best, we’re much more likely to be happy. Learn more about the importance of operating from your strengths at Marcus Buckingham’s website . You’ll want to have as many options as you can for using your strengths in your new beginning.
8. Think about who you want to work with; acknowledge what you bring
As long as you are heading toward a new beginning, think about who you’d like to work with, and then think about what you have to offer. Dream! If you could work with anyone, who would it be? Why? What would that situation offer you? What might they need? What can you offer? In this TED talk Charlie Hoehn, a young graduate now working with Tim Ferris, delivers a funny and relevant rant about going after what you want, and not settling; inspiring whether you are 17 or 70. Charlie Hoehn at Carnegie Mellon TEDx
9. Preview your new adventure
Find a tour guide for your new life, someone who’s been there, done that, who inspires you, and find out what it’s been like for them. Even if there’s no one around doing just what you think you’ll be doing, you can usually find people who do similar things, or parts of what you are interested in doing. Don’t forget to ask what they wished they knew when they were beginning. Sometimes you really can learn from others experience.
10. Discover where your life is calling you to step up
When one stage ends and another begins we discover our “edges” are new. Areas of challenge in the past have become mastery and faded from attention, and previously unsuspected challenges pop-up. Are you called to engage more fully in an area of your life that’s been neglected? Are skills that haven’t been used much, even though you’ve enjoyed them, now in demand? Are you ready to do something you’ve been longing to do? Is it time to tackle something you’ve put off?
Here’s to your new adventure!
Join the conversation and share what you’ve done to get ready for a new beginning. What’s worked? What hasn’t? Share any questions too.