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All Transitions Begin With An Ending

Jun 14, 2008
It's a simple concept, but one we rarely dwell on: All transitions begin with an ending. Think about the transitions in your life. Something ended before something new began. Being single ended before marriage began. Childhood ended before we became adults. An old job ended prior to starting a new one.

Sometimes endings are initiated by us and sometimes they are initiated by something outside of us. The transition process is certainly easier when we're the ones initiating it, but either way, endings can be uncomfortable.

How we handle endings colors how we enter into the new beginning. Incomplete endings leave behind baggage we carry with us into the new beginning. This occurs most often in relationships, but can also happen with jobs, time management, goals, and so on.

All too often, we don't pay enough attention to the endings in our lives. We think it's easier to forget about them or move on as quickly as possible. Usually, however, it's better to sit with the ending, so to speak, and the feelings that come along with it.

For example, "John" recently quit his job because he was tired of working for a boss who was always giving him extra work at the end of the day, which required him to work longer hours without pay. On top of that, his boss would often yell and point out the slightest mistakes he made during meetings in front of the entire department. Meanwhile, his boss played golf three times a week and called it "networking." John found a new job within two days but never took the time to acknowledge the ending of his old job. He just wanted out quickly and was glad he found a new job so soon. Happy ending? Maybe, but it's possible that John might start the new job carrying baggage from his old job. He may be sensitive to feedback from his boss and judge it as criticism. Or he may miss out on promotions due to his strict adherence to leaving on time whether or not the work is done.

Acknowledging an ending can be as simple as saying goodbye and as complicated as grieving. Here are some constructive ways to deal with endings:

Don't ignore your feelings (i.e., feel them and act responsibly)
Write or talk to someone about your loss - there's always a loss (i.e., what could have been)
Spend time with supportive people
Examine what led to the ending with someone who can be objective
Forgive yourself for any mistakes you made
Treat yourself to something special

Don't let baggage from a previous experience keep you from taking full advantage and enjoyment of your new experience.
About the Author
I have been helping people reach their personal and professional goals for the past 14 years. There's nothing more satisfying than helping someone reach their potential for success. I would like the opportunity to help you reach your goals. I am a Professional Coach with a Ph.D. in Psychology and a specialty in Goal Achievement and Transitions. Check out my websitehref> to learn more about me then call me for a free consultation.
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