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Posts Tagged ‘Life Choices’

Life in Transition

Posted on: April 5th, 2017 by mobiusleadership No Comments

Transitions are all around at the moment – of course, they are ever present.

Maybe it’s the ease or challenge of them that makes them more or less noticeable. Transitions in business, health, personal self-awareness, relationships and also the ultimate transition – the ending of a life.

One of the books that keeps its spot on my bookshelf to be pulled down at regular intervals is by William Bridges (an appropriate name given the topic of his book). It is titled ‘Transitions- Making Sense of Life’s Changes’. The cover describes it as a book with ‘Strategies for coping with the difficult, painful and confusing times in your life’. I would also add that joyful and very positive transitions can still benefit from a little careful, considered navigation.

As familiar foundations and relied upon experience start to shift and slip away – we are often left scrabbling for a new normality. And therein lies the challenge – we often try to grasp what appears to be a new normal before it’s fully formed only for the ground to shift again, further destabilising us and leading to more confusion.

Transitions don’t follow a pre-determined path no matter how much we might wish that were so. However, Bridges does offer a useful road-map that can be borne in mind. He suggests there are three stages:

Endings. Recognise them as opportunities as well as losses, and even celebrate them with rituals designed to open new doors.

The Neutral Zone. A seemingly unproductive ‘time-out’, we feel disconnected from the past and emotionally unconnected to the present. It can be the most frightening stage of transition, however, it is a really important time for reorientation.

The New Beginning. A successful transition requires more than perseverance; it means launching new priorities. Understand the external and internal signs that point the way to your future.

In our culture of speed, have we lost respect for the importance and significance of rituals, which mark endings and new beginnings. Have they become simply a tick in the box?

I believe we are particularly challenged to stand in The Neutral Zone for whatever time is necessary believing that we have to ‘get on’ often forcing the new to emerge before it’s fully formed – sometimes with negative consequences. Like peeling back the petals on a rose bud trying to bring it into flower – it’s not going to end well.

Like all of us – I’ve navigated a few transitions over the years. Bridges 3 stages have been helpful to me and I’ve also collected few of my own thoughts:

  1. Transitions demand courage; courage to face the loss, courage to stay the course and courage to ask for what you need when you need it.
  2. Give yourself full permission to stay in The Neutral Zone; many well-intentioned people will have plenty to offer by way of advice and suggestions. Listen respectfully, and make your own choices. Use the time to explore and experiment.
  3. Embrace the opportunity for change – it might not feel like it at the time but this could just be what you need in your life at this point.
  4. Transitions come in all sizes and timeframes. Life changing transitions to simply shifting from work mode into family/spouse mode at the end of the day– that walk in the park or journey home is your Neutral Zone.
  5. Lean in! Having a strong sense of self gives you something to lean into when your very identity gets rocked
  6. Be willing to share the load – my transitions wouldn’t have been as successful if I hadn’t been willing to seek and accept help, support and many hugs along the way.

However stable life feels at the moment – there is change just around the corner – it is a given nowadays. How well prepared are you for your next transition? What might you need to do to be ready?

Sarah Matthews is a Director of Mobius Leadership and owner of the Mobius Retreat Centre on Heir Island, West Cork, Ireland.


Seasons of Change

Posted on: December 12th, 2016 by mobiusleadership No Comments
As we settle into Winter, I find myself thinking about the seasons and the natural rhythm of life, how it all seems perfectly formed and happens with ease.

On Heir Island, the seasons are really noticeable – each brings out a different characteristic, a different perspective of island life.

At this time of year, in Winter, a quietness descends. The boats have left their moorings, animals are in from the fields, mowers and strimmers are silenced as nature heads into hibernation, walkers are wrapped up and brace against the wind as they enjoy the invigorating fresh sea air and the smell of freshly lit fires.

In Spring – a sense of anticipation as once more nature wakes up, days start to lengthen and boats are being painted ready for the season ahead. We eagerly await the first sign of new born chicks on the lake and the shags start building their precariously perched nests on the cliffs. Houses come back to life as the early visitors arrive.

There is a buzz about Summer – there’s lots going on – sailing, fishing (nothing like the taste of the first mackerel of the year), regattas, collecting treasures from the beach or skimming stones. Like the swallows, familiar faces return along with some new ones; vibrant colours of montbretia and fuchsia dance in the sun; wonderful long days and huge skies.

In Autumn, the island relaxes – like a deep exhale after you’ve held a breath. The blackberries ripen, boats start to come in and the visitors return to winter elsewhere. The glow of the sunsets never ceases to cause wonder. Then the first storm leaving behind the roaring swell of the waves crashing in the distance reminding us winter is around the corner.

And then it all starts again. I find a comfort in the predictability of the seasons – as they come and go every year it’s a reminder that everything has a beginning, middle and end – only the arc of time differs.

Sometimes the seasons are helpful in understanding times of change – changing relationships, changing business fortunes, changing interests.  Even though we may resist it quite strongly at the time (how long do we resist putting away those summer clothes?), and struggle to rationalise the reason something is happening – there is an inevitable constant in life and that’s change. Everything has a season.

Each season in nature has its purpose and its place in the continuum is vital – without Winter there would be no Spring. It is essential that nature has its rest period, its time for hibernation, rejuvenation – ready to come to life again when the warmth returns and the days start to length.

How do you want to be this Winter? When all the partying is done, how to you replenish and restore? What do you need to do to be ready for Spring?

Sarah Matthews is a Director of Mobius Leadership and owner of the Mobius Retreat Centre on Heir Island, West Cork, Ireland.


Busy or Balanced – Which do you Choose?

Posted on: November 14th, 2016 by mobiusleadership No Comments
When did speed become so important in our lives? When did the measure of a successful day become about how much we got done or how busy we were? It seems that sometimes, being busy gets worn like a badge of honour.

Since having made a conscious decision to create more space in my days, I still stumble when someone asks me the question – “How are you? Are you busy?” – as if how I am is intimately connected with how busy I am. If I’m not busy – does this mean I’m not well or not happy?

It turns out it takes quite a bit of courage to take the less busy option, to take life at a pace that’s anything less than the fast lane because, generally, that’s where we’re expected to be  – by society, by friends and colleagues, and perhaps most of all, by ourselves.

It’s easy to look externally, to blame the culture we live in or the company we where we work for how much we run from one thing to another. However, we need to look internally, to ourselves, for the real answers. How much of our need to be busy – filling the diary with back to back meetings, calls or appointments, needing to be physically or even just mentally in 4 different places at once – is created out of an unconscious (or maybe conscious) belief that this is how you feel or look indispensable, of value, or worthy?

Of course, some of this behaviour comes from our ‘always on’ digital age where gadgets are accessible 24/7 and working across time zones has become the norm. And the point is still a similar one – how are we allowing our circumstances to dictate our behaviour patterns and how often do we make a conscious choice to create some boundaries – to switch the phone off, not to check email, to keep some time free for family, friends and most important of all – us.

Making choices that put us first might challenge ingrained belief and behaviour patterns, however ,to do so can be very rewarding. When was the last time you said ‘no’ to that request to do something and ‘yes’ to some ‘me’ time? How often does your mental saboteur get its way and convince you of being too selfish, or that you would be judged poorly?

To be still and quiet, even for one minute, is so nurturing to our minds. Like our physical body, our mind needs to rest – to settle now and then. The groundswell of popularity in mindfulness, meditation, yoga, etc., indicates just how much people are drawn to finding ways that they can relax and restore their weary minds.

Maybe meditation is not for you, or you are not ready to get on a yoga mat, however I encourage you to find ways in which to slow down – to give yourself the gift of allowing some spaciousness and downtime and bring some balance to your day.  Your mind (and your body) will thank you for it.

Mobius Centre

Sarah Matthews is a Director of Mobius Coaching and Development and owner of the Mobius Retreat Centre on Heir Island, West Cork.

Creating a Life from Choice

Posted on: May 24th, 2016 by mobiusleadership No Comments

Choice sometimes seems overwhelming in today’s world.  There is so much to choose from.  And yet, in some circumstances we feel that we have no choice, we are stuck, backed into a corner.

How often do we hear ourselves say – ‘I didn’t have a choice’ when what we are really saying is ‘I didn’t make the choice I wanted to’.  This may have been for a number of reasons – sometimes, decisions are made subconsciously, sometimes out of habit, often out of fear.  Sometimes we rush, not giving ourselves permission to check in with what we really need. (more…)