When our daughter, Kaitlyn, was living in the UK she came to a time when she was ready to make a significant life change. The choices that she had given herself were to either enter a Master’s program at a university in the UK, or to travel to Australia for a year. She called me to talk about it. The best advice that I could think of to give was something that I have since used with coaching clients. I explained that when we look back at our life, often we sum things up with a single sentence. For example we might say things like, “I taught school for 30 years”. Or “We lived in Europe for three years”. Or “I studied for four years at the U of Waterloo”. These huge time periods and significant milestones can often be reduced to a single sentence. I explained that in 10 years Kaitlyn would either be saying, “Then I got my Masters degree” or “Then I lived in Australia for a year”. I went on to say that our lives can be pictured like a timeline that is formed by a series of pins that have coloured heads. The important thing to keep in mind is to understand that we are in control of the colour of pins that we choose. I mentioned to Kaitlyn that it was my hope that her timeline would be filled with beautiful pins and that in this case she should simply make the choice that gave her the chance to add the pin that she wanted most. She chose Australia.
I use my ‘box of pins’ in my mind to keep perspective about things in my life. Kaitlyn’s wedding last weekend was one such milestone where perspective was valuable. The wedding was perfect. As we prepared and prepared for months, we never lost sight of the idea that this event was much bigger than any of the small details. (The whole is greater than the sum of the parts is aptly used here!) We each kept our eyes firmly fixed on what colour of pin we would be proud to use in our timeline to signify this wedding season. We recognized that the little things that were out of our control would, in the end, not make it on to the timeline. They would not be what everyone remembered. That made it easy to let them to let them go.
The pin I would choose for this wedding would have a head made of the most beautiful blue/green colour. This is my favourite colour and this past week is a new favourite memory. We celebrated a perfect wedding day with Kaitlyn and Matt. We were surrounded with family, with old friends and with new friends. Everyone who partook came to provide love and support for this couple. It could not have been better.
Kaitlyn would choose a different colour; perhaps a pearly white. Jim, Greg and Cara would each have their own colours too. The key is not in the colour itself, rather it is in the significance of the colour and it is in the power of choice that comes with the choosing of the colour.
My challenge for you this week is to think of something that is current or upcoming in your life. It may be as simple as this summer season. It may be raising your family. It may be a new job. It may be a new academic adventure. It may be a planned holiday. Choose what colour of pin you want to use to mark this event or time and then decide what you need to do to be able to place that pin on your timeline when the event is complete. My hope is that you create for yourself a timeline that is filled with pins that are colours that you love.
Don’t wait for a great moment to make change; take this moment and make great change.
Finding the tools you learn in these blogs to be helpful? Contact me today to learn more about how we can work together to facilitate the change you want.