Last week I had the great opportunity to celebrate one year of Albany Lane (give or take) with clients, friends and supporters of the company. It was a good time to reflect on what has been achieved, to thank and acknowledge everyone’s contribution, and to set out the programs for the year ahead.
It was also a chance to let others celebrate alongside me. As a solo entrepreneur it can feel that I am out there on my own a lot of the time. So to take stock and look at all those that inspire and support me has me realise that I am not alone. It is just a matter of reaching out and reminding me who is there.
I had wanted to have such an event for a while, but always hesitated that I had not done enough to warrant such a celebration. Who was I to say “look at me” when everyone else was doing so much more? What would people say who only knew me from my “old world” working world? How would I sound when I spoke in public of my passion, commitment and ideas?
In standing up and saying ‘let’s celebrate’ there was no longer anywhere to hide. However, despite all these doubts and fears, I still felt it was important to publicly acknowledge how far I had come in my commitment to change my working life: to stand up and be seen in my new world.
In my past I worked in policy development in government and cultural agencies. This is long haul work, with projects taking months or years to complete or progress. It was easy to feel powerless when no matter how much passion and effort, an issue would remain ‘stuck’ somewhere in the bureaucratic and political process.
And yet we always seemed to be working in a state of emergency, with urgent deadlines and quick turnaround demands on a daily basis. The stress from these demands was only augmented when there was a lack of progress on the major projects in which everyone had put their heart and soul.
As a leader of a team in this environment, I saw my role was to acknowledge and celebrate every milestone we did make – even if it seemed like such a small step. I am sure that sometimes I looked a bid mad congratulating someone for getting a brief completed, a meeting organised or even a phone call returned – but acknowledging these little wins kept us motivated.
Today, it feels that I am a long way from the policy process. Instead of developing options for government leaders, I have the great privilege of working with women as they create their authentic way of life. However that time was not wasted as I learnt how to listen to what these leaders and communities wanted to create, plus how to be patient, resilient and stay focused.
In creating any change in our lives, there are steps to take, but sometimes we need to wait a while to find the next way forward. In these times it can seem that nothing is happening, and it is easy and understandable to become uncertain, frustrated or afraid.
My role as a coach is not so far from my policy life after all. I help my clients define what they want to create and change, and uncover the steps they want to take. I champion my clients’ commitment and cheer them all the way. I acknowledge their forward steps, and “hold the space” with them in the quiet times when all seems still.
Personal (and professional) change does not always work to a predictable timeframe. However with intention and commitment, you will move forwards, perhaps slowly. In looking back we will see how far you have come.
When you do look back and see the change from your new point of view, take a little time to pat yourself on the back, give thanks, and acknowledge how far you have come. Even if it is just a few feet from the starting point, you have moved forward, and that is reason to celebrate.