The beginning of a new year is time for a fresh start with new opportunities and a new focus. One common approach to capitalize on a new year is to simply design what to begin or restart. Little thought, however, is given to what must be ended. “Great is the art of the beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Endings are a natural part of professional and personal life. As an Army dependent, I grew up with endings as part of my family’s lifestyle. We would begin life in one physical location and then end what we knew to relocate and begin and move toward another ending. The longest we lived in one place was 35 months.
Someone has said that life is lived in chapters. Lessons I learned in those “growing up chapters” have often served as a reference for my personal and professional growth. One of those lessons learned was the advantage of endings. Had we stayed in one location, the adventure of many different experiences would have been missed. Although so many endings were not my choice, they proved to be enriching.
Endings may not be easy but they are critical for growth. My early life experiences helped shape my perspective on the necessity of endings for living4ward. Dr. Henry Cloud writes: “Good cannot begin until bad ends. Without the ability to do endings well, we flounder, stay stuck, and fail to reach our goals and dreams.” As the new year begins, consider answering these questions as one approach to a fresh start:
- Why do you avoid endings?
- What must be ended to move forward this year?
- What incredible result(s) are you missing by not implementing an ending?
Experience the good you when you act on your answers!