Life lessons in 2023
Where have you hurried through significant transitions in life, bypassing the opportunity for reflection?
Ivy House coach, Robert, shares his experiences and learnings from hurrying through an important moment in his life.
In this busy world of social media, emails and instant messages, it’s easy to overlook the importance of allowing ourselves the space to truly move on from our past experiences. We often find ourselves jumping from one endeavour to another, chasing the next goal or contract, in a whirlwind of activity.
Sometimes, this relentless pace feels necessary to keep forging ahead, growing and building the business. Yet, there comes a moment in time where we must stop, pause and reflect.
Without this introspection, we risk plunging into a chaotic state of just doing, doing, doing, until we reach that destination called ‘burn out.’
My recent journey, where reflection was a missed stop, began several years ago when I led a leadership team. I loved what I did and did it with passion, while revelling in the power that came with the role.
However, a shift in the organisation signalled a change. As I faced the unsettling news of my departure, the initial numbness gave way to a profound realisation. Letting go of this role, of this organisation and its limitations on being fully myself, presented an opportunity to allow the other elements of self to blossom. Embracing this mindset, I leapt into new ventures, including firewalking, my coaching practice flourished, plus new exciting projects beckoned.
Amidst the exhilarating whirlwind of the new and shiny, I failed to give myself the time to pause and reflect, to notice my journey and pay attention to the transitions. Submerged in a sea of commitments, I stretched, I grew, and I learned. Yet there was a sense of unease just beneath the surface.
And then came another challenge; the final straw. My landlady was moving back into our flat, so it was time to move, something pretty tricky in London at the best of times. And while I packed my desk, preparing to move, forgotten treasures of the past surfaced. Old notebooks, registers, handouts and pictures stowed away in a neglected box confronted me with a past I had too quickly put behind me. Opening this box, both physically and metaphorically, unveiled a flood of emotions: pain, hurt, and sadness that had been swept aside in my relentless pursuit of the next chapter. And perhaps an unconscious act of protection.
Facing these emotions head on was challenging to say the least. At times, the weight threatened to engulf me in despair, but within this storm, with the support of my coach, I found the strength to confront my demons. I revisited those old notebooks, feedback sheets, and cherished memories, reconnecting with colleagues from whom I had unintentionally distanced myself.
The process of pausing and reflecting unveiled a truth I had long overlooked — transitions take time and are happy to wait until you’re ready to face them!
Over the two years, from being let go, to facing my neglected treasure box, I not only rekindled forgotten passions, I also delved into new ones like firewalking and arrow breaking, as well as reigniting my spiritual practice. Opening the treasure box allowed me to rediscover the fragmented pieces of my identity that I hadn’t noticed being scattered to the winds, and this somewhat forced process of introspection and reflection seamlessly wove together the threads of my selves, culminating in a newfound sense of wholeness, calmness and empowerment.
While this journey hasn’t been without its challenges, it has taught me the value of taking the time to reflect. I’ve come to understand that transitions are not finite events, but rather an ongoing journey, a continuous ebb and flow. It is vital to acknowledge the necessity of pausing, of allowing the integration of experiences before leaping into the next chapter.
We created a book of life lessons, a collection of honest shares from the Ivy House team’s learning 2023. It gives you an insight into some of the incredible people that make this business and your programmes possible, and hopefully give you some food for thought as we head into 2024.
So grab a cuppa, enjoy, and — if you’re willing — we’d love you to share some of your reflections and learnings from this year too. This amazing, courageous community really matters to us, as does creating a space to learn and grow, together.