*If you have an impatient clicking finger, please do read down to Chapter Four. That’s where the magic happens!!
If you haven’t heard from me in a while, it’s because I have been having a blast helping clients who are in major transitions go from where they are to where they would rather be. Some are retiring and others are hitting the pause button to shape-shift into a new career/role. In both cases we are co-creating a plan and process for them to make their next chapter their best chapter.
You can hear from three of them here.
Major change is hard—there is no doubt about it. We’re not talking about a new haircut here. When you are contemplating leaving a long and successful career or taking a sabbatical to re-tool who you are and what you’ll do next, there is a lot to consider. It requires clarity about where you’ve been and what you have now, as well as a clear vision for the future. It is akin to letting go of one trapeze, being suspended in mid-air and successfully catching the trapeze that has hopefully magically appeared at the perfect time and place to swing you to your desired destination. This is when most ordinary mortals get sweaty palms.
I would like to share with you the five chapters that will give you the confidence and wherewithal to literally rewrite your future. This is the introduction to give you an overview and a little about each chapter in the process. There will be five other posts in this series that will give you the down low on the elements of a successful manuscript and offer some provocative self-coaching questions to get you started.
Chapter One—Mine the Past
“I am a firm believer that every few years one needs to shake one's life through a sieve, like a miner in the Yukon. The gold nuggets remain. The rest falls through like the soft earth it is.”
The past is something most of us just glimpse at in the rear-view mirror, and because we were busy living it, we may take for granted key areas that can offer golden nuggets of wisdom for us. So, the first chapter of this masterpiece is “shaking one’s life through a sieve, mining the wisdom that can offer us key learnings from the past, essential first steps for a successful journey. The key elements of Mining the Past are identifying your definition of success, significant accomplishments, perceived failures, identity, and sources of meaning and purpose.
Chapter 2 - Assess the Present
“I’m not sure what fish talk about, but I’m pretty sure it’s not water
Like Mining the Past, Assessing the Present is all about awareness. And when we’re in it day in and day out, it’s just darn hard to see. Are you the fish in the photo, blithely gliding through your days without accurately assessing what’s really working for you—and what’s not? In this chapter we conduct a thorough assessment of current reality. As you will see in Chapter 3, knowing your exact starting point is crucial to creating a useful map for the future. An accurate assessment of current reality includes an honest and thorough assessment of the level of satisfaction with all areas of your life as well as identifying enlivening activities, areas of struggle/suffering, your zone of genius, your core values, and your purpose.
Chapter 3 - Chart the Course
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
All navigators know that having an accurate view of the exact starting point is essential to charting the best course. And with Chapter 2 successfully completed, we’re cooking with gas!! We know all we need to know about where you’ve been and exactly where you are now! The next essential and arguably most difficult step is having a clear picture of where you want to be three years, five years, even ten years from now. Most people have a hard time seeing into the murky future of next year—much less further out than that. There are a million what-ifs and blind curves that can paralyze the most intrepid traveler. So much is at risk!! So, here’s where a good coach can help you envision your ideal future, discarding outworn mental models, past conditioning, and help you refresh/reframe your identity. The first step is getting clear about your heart’s desires.
With the advent of GPS, I hope you, like me, have gotten lost WAY less than in the past. Certainly, a good GPS system can chart the best route to get you where you want to go. And now with crowd sourcing, WAZE can even help you re-route immediately when unexpected traffic snarls occur as well as warn you of obstacles and police ahead. My new WAZE voice is Arianna Grande, who gently but clearly encourages me and guides my trip—WOW! What an upgrade! Well, that’s what you experience when you chart the most direct route and work with a great coach!
*Chapter 4 - Neutralize the Barriers (This is where Re-wirement begins)
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get different results.”
The first three chapters may sound pretty obvious to you, and you may be wondering what’s so special/different about this process? This is where the “Rewirement” comes in. In past attempts at making a major change, you may have experienced what my clients did in the early days before the advancements in neuroscience were discovered and the coaching world tuned in. I helped my clients create a Vision and Goals and they set out on the path to their desired future with a backpack full of hope and good intentions… only to hit a wall after about three months that required Herculean effort for most to scale and simply stopped others dead in their tracks—game over. This wall was solidly built from past negative experiences and memories, limiting beliefs, fears, and ingrained behavior patterns that seemed cast in concrete. And there didn’t seem to be any way to blast through it or go over or around it. Talk about frustrating!!
Here’s the great news! Neural reprogramming is the game changer for this process, enabling anyone to neutralize fears, re-frame limiting beliefs, and create new neural pathways, enabling rapid change that is permanent. If it sounds like “too good to be true” science fiction, that’s because it was ten years ago! This step is undoubtedly the secret sauce based in findings from behavioral and neuroscience. Again, more about that in a later post.
Chapter 5 - Live Your Best Chapter
“Structure drives behavior.”
Maintaining forward momentum and sustaining the “new normal” is the trickiest part of making change permanent, as I am sure you have experienced time and time again—especially once you’ve eaten wisely and exercised regularly for long enough to achieve a desired healthy body weight. It’s so easy to slip back into eating too many carbs and skipping days at the gym. Why is that? In my experience it’s because we don’t wait to declare victory until the “cement is dry” and the new neural pathways we’ve formed are not yet expressways. What’s missing? You guessed it—structure! In this chapter we ensure the structures are in place to support desired change and minimize slipping.
My clients have great success stories of being able to let go of the old trapeze, tolerate the fear (terror) of being in mid-air, catching the new trapeze, and making it safely to the landing platform with a smile on their faces and a huge fist pump. What’s more they report that they are then able to move forward into a future of their own design with confidence that they can create a new life of fulfillment, joy, and purpose. You can hear three of them here.
As you have guessed, there’s an alternative to being stuck, unable to pull the trigger on retirement or changing your career role (or your life!). And it doesn’t have to be difficult or scary. With the right approach and someone to guide you, there’s a faster, easier way. Here's to making your next chapter, your best chapter!!
If you are interested in learning more, please contact me.
Rebecca Bradley is a Master Certified ICF Coach and founder of Partnership Coaching, Inc. She began coaching individuals and teams to be successful in business over thirty-two years ago.