This morning I received an email from a potential new client.  She details the past few years of her life and compares them to her present life.  She expresses concerns about how differently she is feeling about her life and herself and wonders how to ‘go back’ to what was.   Can we ‘go back’ on this naturally forward journey of life?  Her email prompted me to find a post I wrote a few years ago about the natural cycles of life.  Take a read.  Where are you?

One of my clients, a bright and ambitious young leader is going through hard times. A classic high-achiever, he has aced every test, task and challenge that has come his way—until now. For the first time since he remembers, and faced with the biggest challenge of his career, he’s failing.  And more, not only is he failing at the task but he’s despondent, stressed, stuck and largely disenchanted.  He’s convinced  himself that this is the end of his career and that there is no light at the end of this tunnel.  He tells me this while sketching a line to represent his career-path and pointing out that the end of the upward line is abrupt—it’s the precipice to his fall.

Perhaps through the wisdom of age, or the knowledge of my own up’s and down’s and failings, and thanks to Frederic Hudson (The Handbook of Coaching), I’m comfortable with the notion that life isn’t a linear process, it’s a cycle.  Look at the Hudson’s Life Cycles diagram. Here’s an interpretation of the four phases that almost all of us cycle through.  Sometimes we spend as little as one month in a phase, sometimes years.  We tend to move through the phases in consecutive order.  Read the words that describe each phase to identify the most prominent phase of your journey right now.  There’s a comforting relief in knowing that things change. If we ride out our storm and do some necessary soul-searching, our dark days do end.

Here are some activities that can help you to get the most from the important phase that you’re currently experiencing;

The Doldrums

Successful departure for mini-transition │Successful departure for life transition

Create an exit plan │Look for a new job │Spend time with friends │Take up hobbies │ Join the gym │Take evening courses │Travel │Sabbatical │Seek Therapy and/or Coaching

Cocooning

Define a new you │ Create a new sense of purpose │ Spiritual renewal │ Find inner peace │ Sabbatical

New training │ Journaling │ Meditating │Transition job │ Hobbies │ Time management │ Travel │ Art Classes