I started a new job this week. It was terrifying. It was exciting. It was awkward. It was like riding a bike.
It was all of those things and so many more.
New beginnings are such an interesting part of our lives, unlike anything else we journey into in this human experience. Rarely do we experience such a broad array of emotions and thoughts in such a short period of time and brought about by a singular source. New beginnings are so unique and bring along with them opportunities and challenges that you rarely see outside of that special ecosystem of events.
Remembering and knowing this I have entered this new beginning trying to not only make the most of this unique opportunity but also being grateful for the changes it affords me at this stage of my journey. Here are a few of these opportunities that I am focusing on in this new beginning:
Blank Relational Slates- The majority of people we meet when we begin a new adventure, job, relationship are uncharted territory. Those people are usually unknown at the beginning. Their likes, dislikes and quirks are foreign to us. It is also true that our likes, dislikes and quirks are unknown to them. We have and others have the opportunity to enter into the relationship without, or at least at a lesser degree, preconceived ideas, notions and histories from which to make snap judgements and assumptions. Each relationship will have a first conversation in which to make a good first impression.
New Story Arcs- I remember when I left from High School to go to college making a distinct decision that my personal story was going to take a different trajectory. It was not that my story was bad or something that I was ashamed of, rather I recognized it as an opportunity to do some fine tuning and readjustment of its flight path. These adjustments would point me more specifically to where I wanted to go and where I was growing to go. I could leave behind some pieces that were not telling the story that I wanted to tell with my life and pick up some new ones that were more in line with the person I was becoming. Even now as I enter into this new journey I am leaving behind the old and taking on some new.
Better Rhythms- I remember when I had my last vocational new beginning 11 years ago. I wanted to dive headfirst into the new job, giving myself fully to the work and the people. This was good but unfortunately I overcommitted myself, my resources and my energy. While, in many ways, it helped me in my career, it hurt some aspects of my family life. I spend years 3-5 at that position correcting this miscalculation of the pace and focus of my rhythms. When we have a new beginning it is our natural tendency to completely swing the pendulum to the other side and over compensate and over correct our previous move. This can result in a drunken swerving back and forth throughout our lives. For me a better rhythm is looking at the aspects of my former rhythm, both the positive and the negative, and creating a better flow based on those observations. For instance, I am making sure to create really healthy boundaries, for myself and my new job, at the beginning rather than having to make some major adjustments a couple of years in . Another adjustment is putting priority on sabbath in this new venture.
These are three aspects of new beginnings that I am focusing on, assessing and making intentional adjustments to over the course of the next couple of months. What I have found is that each time I do this sort of intensive retrospection and adjusting at these new beginning junctures, the dividends both socially and personally pay out for years and years to come. I hope you will take your next new beginning and ask these three helpful questions:
How can I know these people and be better and more truly known?
What stories do I want to tell and for others to tell about me?
How and in what ways do I want to intentionally exist and walk through this next chapter that will align with my personal philosophy of life and the values I want to elevate through it?