stairs and track

Going backwards…but not really.

Today I got an opportunity from an old employer to come back and work as a contractor for six weeks. This means stepping back into a slightly-awkward liminal space where I’m not quite a coach and not quite a preparator. When I finished my last job this spring, I fully intended to walk away from the museum world and focus all my attention on coaching.

Sometimes going back to an old situation can feel a little painful, as if I’ve regressed somehow or nullified everything that happened in the meantime. I’m remembering coming back after my first semester at college and having to readjust to my parents’ rules and structures at home.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case in this instance, and I was curious as to why that was.

This is what I came up with: 

  • I’m not telling myself a story about how going back means I’ve failed.
  • I’m fully aware of how now is different than then. Sometimes making a list of why Now is Not Then can help with this. (Credit to Havi Brooks for this exercise). 
  • I’m making the decision from a place of calm and strength, not fear and scarcity.
  • This is a temporary situation with clearly defined boundaries and expectations.
  • I’m not letting the decision define me or say anything about who I am.
  • I feel fairly secure in my identity as a proto-coach and I’m comfortable talking about it with my former coworkers (knowing full well some of them may think it sounds silly).

Maybe the most important thing is that I asked my body, “Hey body, what do you think about this?” and listened to the answer. If had felt icky somehow, I would have said no.

I want to be able to remember that I have the option of making all decisions like this. I always have the opportunity to exercise personal power instead of feeling trapped or defeated. And even if there only appears to be one option available, I can still choose it with ease and grace.

The one fear (if you can call it that) is that this job will take time away from building my coaching tools and practice. But even that might not be such a bad thing. It’s a convenient way to give myself permission to slow down and go deeper with the resources I already have. Time constrictions mean I won’t be able to take on many new clients, but that also means I can dispense with the feelings that I “should” be looking for new clients. Slowing my roll might be just what I need right now.

When I end up at the same place I did two years ago, it can feel like I’ve circled back on myself. I’m back in my old town, back in my old workplace. There are so many other things that I do that with, though – habits, interests, friendships. This pattern is a natural part of my life, and I would guess for many other peoples’ as well. It feels better to think of it as a natural phenomenon; a spiral rather than a circle, moving through an old situation with all the new resources and experiences I’ve gained since the last time I was there.

stairs and track

I’m moving up, not just going in circles.

Photo credit: stock.xchng


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One thought on “Going backwards…but not really.

  1. Simone Seol

    This is so beautiful and nourishing for me to read today. Spiral rather than a circle! thank you.

    Reply

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