I watched this movie once that was largely unremarkable. The title was, I believe, Finnegan Begin Again and the lead character would repeat that to himself like a mantra each time he failed or had a misstep. “Finnegan, begin again.” Although I have forgotten the movie I’ve always remembered the phrase.
If you coach long enough you realize that we each hit a point where we simply need to begin again.
Recently I wrote about the concept of being liminal; where you stand in the threshold between two states.
Here and There
One of my old assistant coaches used a phrase once as he was simultaneously working for us but searching for his next thing. He said he “had a foot on both shores,” and that it was a bit disconcerting. It felt hard to do anything well.
In that case he had little choice. He needed to do one job and simultaneously to look to move forward and on to something bigger. He found the job he needed and wanted very quickly, but it was an uncomfortable time for him and for us.
I recognize better now when a player or staff member is stuck, considering whether to commit, whether to stay or to go in order to grow or pursue another interest. Moods change, focus fades, detachment occurs, small things may become big things.
Recently Tiffany Weimer wrote at her blog a post about a more positive liminal experience. As she starts her coaching career after a very successful professional playing career, she continues to embrace her identity as a player. In her case she describes a very positive experience in which she attempts to integrate the two, and allow them to inform one another, as she begins her journey as a coach.
I think this idea of duality could possibly create the very best coaches in the world. Pushing boundaries and forcing ourselves to contradict ourselves.
Things Come to an End
Still others may be experiencing bigger transitions at this point.
They may be leaving their jobs by choice or due to circumstances beyond their own control. It might be time to move on, or go to a new or bigger job, to transition to entirely different career, or simply to take a break from this one, only to begin again.
Change may be required, imposed upon us by the decision of another.
Change is almost always hard, even if by choice. Things reorganize quickly behind you when you leave your job and the place you held evaporates. Someone does not take your place, they just take your job, but they make it their own. It becomes their place. Things just shift.
William Bridges writes in his excellent book The Way of Transition that each new beginning we make naturally contains an ending.
As I said earlier, one of the best ways to approach any transition is to ask, “What was it time to let go of at that point in my life?”
I learned for myself that we must shift too. Let go in order to make a new place and create what we want in our lives. This is an internal journey as much as it is about any job or place.
The first thing I did when I left coaching was to take a break from a regular job and schedule. I took on projects as opportunities emerged, but I also spent time hiking, reading, visiting friends and family and generally reflecting and restoring.
Then I started to create and define where I wanted to go next.
I am living with some ambiguity now as I transition my career to a different kind of coaching. One in which the quality of the questions will be as significant as knowing the answers. New skills are required, processes shift and others’ expectations have to shift as well. This takes time.
Again Bridges writes of this,
You have to let go, to make an ending. To find the new you must first relinquish the old. The great French scientist Claude Bernard made the same point when he said, “It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.
This part of my journey has created an opening and allowed me to step into a new role with different organizations and leaders that draws from elements of the old, builds on it and has permitted me to grow. Ironically in this new role I am also recovering my love for coaching.
I want, and I imagine others want, to know how the journey will turn out. That it will lead somewhere. Instead it works out exactly as it works out. And, that’s okay.
Finnegan, begin again.
I work with coaches and leaders in sports. Reach out if we can be of help with your team or career.