February heralds a shift in our outer environment. For those in the northern hemisphere there is a sigh of relief as the days lengthen. We are coming out of darkness. We feel the light. We begin to see signs of Spring on the way. We can sense new beginnings.
The cycle of nature is busy creating them right now as we go about our day. If we are in a city we might miss the early markers. But pay attention and they are there. Whilst January brings in a new year, February brings in a new season. New beginnings are happening all the time in some shape or form.
In this month’s article I offer a framework to help YOU create a new beginning in your life or work. A new beginning which is in flow with your natural rhythm and where you are in your life. A new beginning aligned to those things that matter to you. A new beginning which builds a foundation capable of withstanding the unpredictability of life and work.
The following creating new beginnings framework provides a container within which something new can begin to grow in a healthy resonant way. It comprises five key interdependent and non linear elements.
Key Element One: Tune In
What is it that you want to create and that wants to be created by you? What are you or your team uniquely placed to bring into being? What will give you life and inspire you? Can you hear its call? Do you know how to listen and tune in?
The ‘Tune In’ element can be particularly challenging if you are a fast-paced, externally oriented, driven action-taker because it asks you to slow down and listen to the under-currents of your life or your organisation.
Core skills: inner stillness and centering, inner and outer listening.
Key Element Two: Articulate What You Want And Why You Want It…AND Feel It
What happens when you say out-loud what you want and why you want it? How does your voice sound? Do the words you speak feel like the right level of challenge and growth for you/your team or is it too easy/difficult? Do you believe it’s possible? Do you recoil inside and shrink a little or do you stand up tall and strong? Does your physical response depend who you are talking to?
In business or personal development language you might call the ‘what you want to create’ your vision, aim or aspiration. Underneath the ‘why’ of what you want is your purpose. Articulating these things out-loud and feeling what happens in your body is a powerful approach to integrate aspects of you which operate at different speeds and/or shape what it is you want. When your body feels resonant with your words you’re in a strong position to take impactful and aligned action.
Core skills: aligned expression, resonant declarations, embodiment, speaking up.
Key Element Three: Transform Inner Blocks And Resistance
What within you isn’t yet facing the direction of the new beginning? What needs some attention to allow it to transform and feel comfortable with the change?
If you are a team leader these questions can be asked personally of yourself and of the ‘team personification’ as if it were a character. You can also encourage team members to self enquire in this way.
Core skills: awareness, inner listening, compassion, creating safety, patience, persistence, raising permission levels to receive, mindset and emotional agility.
Key Element Four: Build A Foundation For Your Ways Of Being And Acting In The New
What aspects of you are the bedrock from which this new beginning will be born? What principles and values will consistently guide you as the new emerges? What absolutely has to be in place for it to work?
Your foundation is there for you to stand on and support you through the growing pains of your creation. It can hold you steady. It’s uniquely you. It’s essential.
Core skills: awareness, intention, acting in line with your values, congruence, rhythm.
Key Element Five: Make It Happen
How is all this going to come into being in a healthy way? What inner resources do you need to bring the co-creation into reality? What outer resources…people support, funding, clients etc… are essential to its success? What’s the right timing for this to happen?
Here’s where willpower and determination can come into their own. It’s great having the vision, purpose, alignment, resonance, foundation etc but you still need a strategic plan of action and dedicated focus of attention to bring your new beginning to fruition, whether it’s personal or a team effort. You also need continued tuning in skills and the ability to notice what’s happening externally as you begin to make things happen. Creating new beginnings isn’t about railroading things into place. It’s about an unfolding and an evolution. It’s about feeling ok with the uncertainty of a new landscape.
Core skills: taking purposeful action, commitment, building helpful habits, self-care, managing boundaries, staying grounded, centred and focused, building healthy community, playing to your strengths, emotional agility, listening and responsiveness. And cultivating a sense of playfulness and fun too!
My own experience of creating new beginnings is that if I skip aspects of these key elements, life asks me to circle back. There is no failure. Only an invitation to revisit and experiment with another way. Being a naturally fast paced and make-it-happen person I’ve had to learn to take my time with elements 1-4 in particular. I wasn’t taught the necessary skills for these at school, university or in my professional education. Were you?