Six Phases of Starting Over
1. Understanding what happened.
If moving on to something new is at all a troubling idea, it’s likely that something before wasn’t working. Be it a relationship, a job, a project, a task, or our entire lives, it’s best to take a look at which pieces worked and which ones didn’t. This knowledge and learned experience is one thing we get to take with us, so that we don’t have to start over from scratch the next time. A feeling of “failure” can weigh heavy here for many, so please do take it easy on yourself in this phase. Recall that in most cases we have to be bad at something before we are good at it, and that that faily feeling never lasts. When it’s over, we’re all just worthy humans experimenting and trying to figure out how to do life.
2. Letting go.
Once we’ve had time to mull it over and think about what we’d do differently the next go-round, it’s time to get over what happened, the old way. This part can be so hard! Especially if we’ve invested a lot of time, money, or energy into it. But logistically, there’s just not enough room for the new way and the old way. We have to let it go, make space.
3. Taking a leap of faith.
We may not always know where to start, and we can stall indefinitely while waiting for a more perfect opportunity. Starting somewhere, anywhere, is better than starting nowhere. At some point we have to take a leap of faith. But not all leaps of faith are created equal. At some point we have to make a choice about our best course of action and do something about it.
4. Showing up.
It’s easy to get stuck in this obvious phase. It can be scary to actually do what we know is best for us. The excuses can flood in here. If the first step seems really daunting, I like to break it into baby steps. I try to set an easy pace for myself so I have a better shot at showing up. Team Baby Steps for the win!
Day one is hard, but not the hardest. Day one is novel and full of anticipation. It’s day two and day three and day forty-six that are really tough. When you make it this far, you may as well trust yourself and keep on going.
All this comes about as the end of 2016 marks the end of the first year of ParticipAid’s Community-Led Rebuilding program with our partner organization, Share Nepal. Year one was training-intensive and orchestrated by our core team, who set the agenda and led the workshops. We ended up with an organized and skilled group of individuals serving 700 families, a Baseline Survey, and a 5-Year Rebuilding Plan. Pretty awesome, I think! We didn’t have any of that a year ago. So in the last few months we’ve begun to more intentionally pass the baton, and now local people are independently leading workshops, setting priorities, and managing all project activities using the participatory methods we’ve been practicing in the last year. In 2017, the second year of the program, ParticipAid will begin to shift its role from trainer to mentor.
Speaking of mentors, mine advised me years ago that I’d be doing the world a service to always be “working myself out of a job”. You do a job because there’s a need for you, and if you work in a particular way, you can eliminate the need for you. A bit counter-intuitive at first, but it applies to a lot of jobs, including doctoring. If I were the BEST doctor to my patients, at some point they wouldn’t need me anymore. They’d be either totally healthy or managing their issues just fine on their own. This is kinda what’s happening with my role in ParticipAid. And until we land a grant to replicate the program in another community, I find myself with a big life change - a lot more time on my hands in the United States! I’ll continue to blog here about what ties together my life on either side of the globe, and am excited to share with you all the new things that 2017 brings. Thanks so much for reading, I hope you have a happy and safe new year!