I found it very hard to say goodbye to 2017. I loved this past year. It wasn’t that there weren’t a few bumps in the road, but it was a year that had me looking forward to one Canadian adventure after another. I brought my love affair with Canada out in the open this past year and I loved every minute of exploring her beauty. From coast to coast, from tiny villages proudly displaying their fame (like Elliston: Root Cellar Capital of Canada), to the Capital City proudly showing off her parliament buildings, to forested mountains and cascading waterfalls, to dancing with my beloved Chinook Country Dancers on Canada Day; I loved it all.
Far beyond simply seeing the sights though, my love of this year also stemmed from simply being on an adventure with Jim. The Canada 150 theme kept us moving forward and kept us watching for something new to do and figuring out how we could do as much as possible. It was as if we had a north star to guide us. I’ve always found that when I have such a star in clear focus, my world feels more in balance.
So here I am, only a few days into 2018, already feeling untethered, and a bit off balance, figuring out how to leave behind a year that I loved so much.
It has been this leaving behind feeling that has me thinking about how to approach this New Year. While I was driving home this morning, I thought that surely a life coach who has so many tools in her tool box could find a tool to help with this. What questions would I ask a client, I wondered?
Since I was trained to, as often as possible, ask questions using the client’s own vocabulary, I thought that the two questions that were begging for me to ask myself are, ‘What are you looking forward to leaving behind?’ and ‘What are you ready to explore this year?’
In terms of things I am willing to leave behind, I can think of a few things that I could travel more lightly without. One would be for me to leave self-doubt behind. Without this in my backpack, I will be able to challenge myself, both professionally and personally, without listening to, and worse yet, believing, that little voice that chimes in whenever I dare to make a brave step in a new or different direction. When I silence this voice, I can picture my updated website with a brand new professional photo of me, I can picture the successful webinars that I have planned, reaching people across this land, I can picture myself crossing finish lines at several races, both running and cycling, that I have on my radar and I can picture using my voice to do some good in this world.
I also feel I am ready to leave judgement behind. I have noticed that I can tend toward having strong opinions at times; especially when there is some kind of value involved. I also know that if I offer my judgement early in the conversation, the conversation will not continue as it might have. What I find interesting is that I do not do this with clients, I do not do this when facilitating workshops and I did not do this as a professional educator. I know that by not doing this, I give others the opportunity to explain their thinking and feel safe doing so. I often even learn something. Conversely, when I speak too soon, or too strongly, I notice that I stifle this same feeling of safety. And I very rarely learn anything new when I am busy listening to myself.
Finally, I would like to leave some of my old stories behind this year. These are the stories I have made up to keep my life nice and tidy and safe. These are stories that convince me of why things are how they are and why they will likely never change. I have told myself these stories so often that they begin to sound like truth. It is time for some new stories in my life. These will be stories of success, of new talents, of new skills, of risk-taking and of embracing opportunity.
I am very lucky to have had a year I loved so much that it is hard to leave. I am also very lucky to have a completely blank year stretching out before me, waiting for my embrace. Bring on 2018!
What are you willing to leave behind as you begin this new year, and what are you brave enough to embrace?
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What serves me best; holding tight or leaping?’
Elizabeth creates and facilitates custom workshops for corporate, public and private groups. She provides leadership coaching for individuals and groups. Book a session with Elizabeth to learn how to create the opportunities you are craving.
Watch for Elizabeth’s upcoming workshop series online!