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Managing Change -- Endings Are Just Doorways to New Beginnings

Every May we celebrate Mother's Day-a time to tell mothers everywhere how much we love and honor them. In the midst of all the holiday revelry we should take some time to reflect on just what this day represents-the end of nine months of waiting and the passage through birth's doorway to a new beginning.

When I became a mother, this holiday took on a whole new meaning-especially when my daughter graduated from college. Graduation ceremonies at her university were always held on Mother's Day as a special tribute to the mothers who labored hard right along with each student and who rejoiced to see the ending and new beginnings. I was one of those mothers and 27 years prior to that day, my mother rejoiced on Mother's Day to see me graduate from the same university.

Yes, Mother's Day creates happy endings and memories; but endings in and of themselves are not always happy occasions. We live in a world of new things. Endings almost always produce longing and melancholy, and new beginnings engender a powerful combination of joy and trepidation.

What We Don't Like About Endings

  • They are so final. When something ends, a door closes. Things are never the same way they were before the ending.
  • They can be heartbreaking. There's a nostalgia and bitter sweetness associated with endings-a sense of regret for what we have lost even when the ending is a happy one.
  • They force us out of our ruts. Endings are so insensitive. They don't care whether or not we are ready to transition into other things. When something ends, we are forced out of our paradigms, habits and routines.

What We Like About Beginnings

  • They are fresh and new. Everyone loves to be refreshed. Each new day welcomes in a host of blessings and new beginnings-at work, home or play.
  • They provide new opportunities. If we remain open and alert to them, beginnings can supply brand new and innovative prospects to pursue as well as challenges to overcome.
  • They are great Do-Overs. Beginnings give us a chance to correct mistakes, to start over believing that this time we will get it right and succeed.

Endings Are Doorways to New Beginnings

Stop looking at your endings as negative things that happen to you even when they bring pain and stress. Instead, see them as doorways to new beginnings full of blessing, new possibilities and fruitfulness.

The bridge between our endings and new beginnings is like a growth spurt. Every human on the planet experiences a growth spurt every now and then. They don't stop just because we're all grown up!

What is a growth spurt and how do you know you're going through one?

  • Growth spurts happen. For adults, they can be short (a matter of days) or last for years (when this happens you think they are going to last forever).
  • Some people protest more about them and others seem to sail through them with the greatest of ease.
  • The pattern of growth is different for everyone. Some people grow in big spurts followed by periods of little or no growth. A person's environment can help as well as hinder his or her growth.
  • The problem with growth spurts is anticipating their arrival. You never know exactly when they will occur.
  • When they occur, you must have patience, understanding and spend a little more time in skill-building, learning and exploring any new opportunities that surface.

Identifying Your Endings, Growth Spurts & New Beginnings

What's happening in your life right now? Are you going through a growth spurt, and if so, what's ending for you? Have you identified any new beginnings yet?

All these questions can be answered with a little soul-searching and some effort. Use this simple tool to help in your search:

  • First, list what's ending for you right now.
  • Next, identify the small to large growth spurts that seem to be hovering around the endings.
  • List any new beginnings you have discovered and put a plan into place to capture additional ones as you continue to evaluate your endings.
  • A Final Word of Advice

    Don't allow growth spurts to rob you of your confidence. Remember, they bridge your endings and new beginnings. Without them, you become stale, lose ground and fail. With them you grow, develop and succeed.

    Althea DeBrule, entrepreneur and seasoned human resources executive, has focused for more than 30 years on helping people achieve their career goals. Creator of The Extreme-Career-Makeover? and a founding partner of RADSGroup Organizational Consultants, she is recognized for her bottom line and practical application of career development and management strategies in a way that penetrates hearts and compels action. She speaks and teaches with inspired talent, humor and contagious zeal at management conferences and leadership retreats nationwide, and has been featured in CFO Magazine, Strategy@Work, Human Resource Executive Magazine. Althea is the author of Bosses & Orchards, a compelling and candid book about how to make your work relationship with your boss succeed. To discover how you can take your career to a new level, visit http://www.extreme-career-makeover.com/

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