Celebrating Endings… and New Beginnings

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree and Rising.

Tonight, I’m celebrating the ending of old things and the beginning of new things. I believe that’s called a transition, and transitions—however hard at times—are worth celebrating, especially when you’re a little more on the side of the beginnings than the endings.

The celebration is a simple something-fun-to-do, just a quick dinner and whatever movie is playing that has time travel, suspense, and romance in it. It’s a quiet celebration, a personal one, without fireworks or trumpets. Just a reminder to myself to celebrate good things more often.

A few nights ago, I officially graduated from the career transition program I’ve been working on since last July. Yoda asked me yesterday how I planned to celebrate, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t even thought about celebrating. In fact, when I left her office on Wednesday night, I was a little sad that Phase I of my program was over, though I couldn’t pinpoint why.

See, last summer, I decided that I’d been in a career that no longer gave me joy and hadn’t in quite a while. Even so, I was still making a difference but I really haven’t made much of a difference in my career field since 2004. My colleagues disagree, but in my opinion, the bureaucracy has caved in on me and I’m no longer blazing trails there—and no longer making a difference. I’d wanted to leave my job during my marriage, all the way back to 1990 to write full-time, but that never happened. After my divorce, I certainly couldn’t afford to leave my career because I suddenly had debt again, plus two kids to feed and ensure had a stable home. I hated feeling trapped.

So last summer, I decided to do something about it. I wasn’t going to go marry some rich guy just so he could retire me. I certainly didn’t expect my parents to rush in and save me. No, this was something I had to establish all on my own. A new career. One that would pay me what I’m worth. One that would be portable so I can do it while traveling or on the road giving seminars or perhaps eventually moving to a town that’s a little more open-minded than where I live now. Something that would give me the financial resources I need as well as freedom, joy, and the sense of making a difference.

For years, I thought of myself as trapped in my current career field because there just aren’t that many Federal entities around here that offer careers in weapons acquisitions, you know? And even if there were, it’s the last thing I want to do with the next few decades of my life. Yet, during my stint with the Federal Government, two of my best skills have been brainstorming ideas and coaching my colleagues to be successful. Regardless of the position or the job, those two skills have emerged behind every desk I’ve occupied in my tenure as a contract negotiator. The other skills at the top? Writing, analyzing, and motivating.

I’d found what I wanted to do back in 2000, but it wasn’t supportable then. When I began trying to attract a new career field to me last spring, I was reminded of a former colleague who had made the jump into an interesting new field. When I returned last May from the conference workshops I taught in Daytona Beach, I came to a decision to take action and make some changes in my life. I knew it wouldn’t be right away, that it would take a little time to train and find my footing, but that I needed to start then to make things happen in my future.

I investigated and signed up for the first phase of a training program which will provide certification in this new field as well as a huge network and many resources. I’ve graduated now, and I’m finishing up the paperwork so that I can begin taking clients of my own in late May. I have some work to do on my website, classes to offer, books to offer, personality reports to sell, and motivational programs of varying lengths.Life Coaching Tips

I’m not quitting my day job right away but transitioning into my new career a few clients at a time, with the goal of having a portable business where I can work less than half the hours I do now and have a life outside of a career.

As soon as I complete my paperwork to start Phase II of my certification program, I’ll be beginning my new career in personal coaching. I joke about being a “Mid-Life-Coach” but my specialty does seem to be with men and women between 35 and 45. An advisor told me recently that I “help women adjust and men succeed.” I like that.

So these are new steps, happy new steps into the future. It’ll be at odd hours at first, via phone and laptop, and then later it may be more of the same or I might even have a little office in the Healing Center I still want to start.

What I know for me is that going through the coaching program myself was a great experience with a nice spiritual edge to it, and one where this classic overachiever learned to let go a little, enjoy more, and still get about as much done. Most people do it to stay on track and keep up the high personal motivation, but for me, it was about different lessons than most people need (not surprised, I guess!). I hope that as a life coach, I can make the experience as special for others as it has been for me.

Oops! Time to go have some fun now!