What whispers of wisdom and courage can we hear in our endings?
Let gratitude lead your ending
Ending well asks us to begin again.
This time of year – its pace, frenzy, beauty and emotion – is remarkable. The conversations I had this past week inspired both reflection on all of the happenings of this past year and anticipation for what awaits us in the year ahead. Sitting with it all, I became acutely aware of our tendency to bypass the endings.
In each of those conversations, there were distinct endings. My dearest and closest friend is starting an exciting new role in January. She’s ending a run with a company she has loved and thought she’d be with “forever.” Another friend ends one chapter to begin a whole new phase of his life and role with his company. One of my clients has reluctantly realized that he has to end his tenure at his organization in order to make the kind of impact that matters most to him.
These conversations got me thinking, what does it mean to end well? Can endings be as sweet as beginnings, even when they are hard?
As 2018 draws to a close, this is my roadmap for endings:
Find the stillness amidst the drive to move to the next thing. So often we are off to the next thing before we’ve said our good-byes to our current thing. The thing that is happening right now. Endings are particularly hard this way. We are already immersed in the next thing. We can’t wait to get away from our present thing. What if we slowed down and took in the ending? What is it like to be here, now, in this moment? What whispers of wisdom and courage can we hear in our endings?
Slow down and give this moment a moment.
Tell yourself the whole truth and know you do not have to DO one thing about it. The endings can offer us new perspective. I think there are times when we avoid the truth because we equate telling ourselves the truth with our having to know what to do about it. Yet, just the act of acknowledging it frees us from it. What is your truth about your ending? What was truly extraordinary about this chapter? Maybe there was something you couldn’t see before that you can see now that you’ve arrived at the ending? What will you miss? What are you ready to let go of? What was hard? Do you have any regrets? What do you believe in the stillness of your heart about the future you are creating?
Tell yourself the truth and let it be.
Let gratitude lead your ending. Gratitude asks us to pause in reverence to the things that matter. So now that you are here, in this moment of ending, what has been meaningful to you? What and who are you grateful for? How will you let them know you appreciate them? Take the time to tell the people who made a difference to you what their contributions have meant.
And remember, one of the people to be grateful for and to is you. After all, you have been here all along. You brought yourself to this moment.
Honor your contributions and show yourself the grace you’ve shown others.
Ending well also asks us to begin. After you know where you’ve been, set your sights on the next chapter. What will you carry forward? What will you do differently? What is important to you about the impact you will make? Who are you taking with you? How do you want to make people feel? What will you give yourself to?
Begin again with the end in mind.
You have my best wishes for an inspiring, peaceful end to 2018 and a joyful, resilient 2019!