September is a big month! Back to school for my kids, back to my school job and time to start a new chapter in my new office with some of my veteran (not old) colleagues . It is all things I have done before, yet each time there is a new beginning, I can’t help but feel those butterflies in my stomach, some racing thoughts, some tightness in my chest and just the right amount of insecurity. I am reminded again that I am a living being having a human experience.
It is times like this that I remember one of my favorite phrases, from Tara Brach, called the "Sacred Pause". These are the times to stop, pause and just for a moment, recognize the wants, fears and desires that are driving us. As we then proceed forward we can move ahead with certain thoughts in mind…
§ Practice Positivity. A new chapter can be terrifying, which brings in negative self-talk. It is common to have doubts and hesitation; however, you cannot let these thoughts win the battle and defeat you. Keep your focus what is going right, as opposed to what may be wrong. You may want to think of a positive slogan to get you through the tough transition. For instance, “I’ve got this!”, “It’s all good” or “We just have to do today” to provide you with an additional boost of confidence and encouragement.
§ Stay open. In a transitional time, it is important to be open to new people and new experiences. To adjust to a new job, new partner, new expeience, etc., it takes an open mind. You cannot compare your past to your future. For instance, if you are starting a new chapter of your life, you cannot constantly compare your old experiences. When we do this our expectations from our past may prevent us from enjoying a new experience before us. Your present and future offers you the opportunity to see things in a new light or try things out in a different way. The hard part about this task is that it takes a certain level of vulnerability. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open, you will learn more about yourself and grow in new ways that will strengthen your character.
§ Be realistic. Many of us have lofty goals for the future, which is great as long as they are also realistic. When you enter a new chapter, it is important to have measurable and realistic stepping stones to get you to where you want to go. For instance, if you are starting a new job, you may have the goal of getting an “outstanding” evaluation. Now that you have established that goal, it is important to break down how you are going to achieve this through your everyday actions. By setting obtainable, realistic and measurable goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
§ Stay persistent. Sometimes it just takes time (which can be tough if you’re impatient). New beginnings are a test of willpower, patience and character. A new chapter may have a few bad openings that you may stumble through at first. You need to give yourself the freedom to fall, stand up, brush yourself off and try again. It is only through these mistakes that you can learn how to do things differently and more effectively. Persistence pays off because it creates dedication and sweat equity. Author Gary John Bishop calls it being "relentless". Where is your effort going? Do you believe it is possible? Can we just do today? Through awareness and persistence, you can tackle the challenges of a new beginning.
§ Seek support. Whether you just graduated from college, you are a new divorcee, or you made a career change, everyone needs support from loved ones when moving forward to a new chapter. Sometimes you may shy away from support because you feel like a failure; however, this is often the time you need support the most. I have found so much support from my family, friends and colleagues over the years and especially in times of change or challenge. These people are important in your life and want to help. Through talking to others you can gain companionship and “stay safe in your herd”. If you feel like you need additional support because your support system “just doesn’t understand” then seek out counseling as a resource to add to your support system.
§ Do Your best. One of the my favorite “4 Agreements” is “Always Do Your Best”. Our best may change from day to day depending on our health, mood, hormones, hunger, weather, traffic, difficult people/situations or a million other factors. Some days we are stronger than others, some days we are more ambitious than others, all we have to do is our best each day. Today we can give it our best by putting one foot in from of the other!