I spent some time recently catching up with a colleague. She announced that she was leaving her job and the industry in which she’d built a thirty year career. I was so happy for her, as I knew this was a big change that would likely yield a chapter of new experiences for her. While we excitedly discussed what was to come, she admitted to having some mild feelings of concern or worry.
Mixed emotions are to be expected when you are embracing a new chapter. While this example references a career change, it can really apply to any big change. Turning the page can bring excitement, but these feelings can co-exist with nervousness, fear, anxiety, and even sadness. It’s okay to mourn the ending of a chapter. In my colleague’s case, she spent 30 years building hers! These feelings are normal and should not be taken as a sign to stop moving forward.
During my years as a Human Resources professional, I have seen this phenomenon more times than I can count. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I offer you the same advice that I offered my colleague: shift your perception of this ending.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I want?
- How else can the previous chapter serve me?
- What does the new chapter offer me?
Dig deep and answer these questions for yourself. If the new chapter leads to what you envisioned after asking yourself “What do I want?”. Go for it.
If you determine that there are limits to your current chapter, or you’ve exhausted what your current chapter can do to serve you, move on.
If the new chapter offers growth and experiences that are aligned with who you are and what you want, just do it!
If you’ve confirmed that this is, in fact, the right thing to do, embrace it. Consider the last chapter complete. While accepting completion may carry a little sadness, I believe it will offer a lot of satisfaction. I shared with my colleague that she should celebrate the completion of her work in that space. I encouraged her to take a moment and consider all of the people she has helped. Consider their families, too. The ripple effect on that is huge. Honor and celebrate that contribution.
When it is done, it is done. It is complete. And so we begin again.
Dr. Lisa Toppin
PS: Theme song for happy endings is “I Like Happy Endings” by Ashford & Simpson.