The Reality of New Beginnings

As many of you know, I recently left full-time employment (the J.O.B.) to return to my coaching practice full-time. After only 5 short (fast!) months, I am beginning to wrap my arms around the entrepreneur tools so essential for success in our current environment – SEO, social media, creating content and speaking to groups. I’m feeling grounded in my new life and settled into a “new normal.”

What I didn’t expect though, was the enormity of the things I flat out don’t know. Holy moly! What a challenge! To me, it’s a beautiful thing – this unknowing.  Learning is a huge value for me and I thrive on challenge.   New beginnings are typically a sweet spot … and heaven knows, I’ve had plenty!

For many others, though, a new beginning is a pretty freaky place.

Take Suzanne. She’s a banker with a long history of helping business owners get the financing they need to grow. We were at a social gathering recently where she confessed how bored she has become with her job.   On top of that, her youngest graduated from high school last week and now the empty nest is staring her down.

“I have it all,” she said, “a great relationship with my husband, a beautiful home, and any possession I could possibly want. We travel where and when we want, and the kids are moving on toward their new lives.” Then she paused, “It feels like I’ve finished. I’m at the end of the striving years, and I’ve been so blessed.” Then she sighed, “But I’m not done.”

She has arrived at what William Bridges called “the empty space.” Here is where you have an ending, and the new beginning has not yet begun. Along the Unmarked Path, we call this the Lake of Unknowing.

In the Lake of Unknowing, you learn to water your own roots and find the grain in your own wood. You swim around in the lake reading self-help books and joining groups looking for direction. You wander aimlessly wondering how everyone else could be so “normal” when your world is so unsettled.

It can feel really yucky in there.

So here’s the big news: to move forward, you don’t have to know your end point. Not just yet.

I had a client describe this place as being at the top of a tornado in the clouds. The wind and rain spin around and it’s murky and hard to see. But as the explorations continue and momentum builds, the spinning tightens and the funnel starts to drop down. Only at that time is it possible to see the new beginning.

When you’re in the Lake of Unknowing, your job is to stay with the questions. To dig deep into your own answers, and to take care of yourself through the process.   The reality of a new beginning is that you often can’t see it yet.

Hang in. It’s there. It’s just on the other side of the Lake.


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