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Leadership Thought #205 – The Importance of New Beginnings


Another school year starts for my kids today. It’s hard to believe that the summer has passed and we are easing into another Fall.  Time moves by so quickly.  I hope they had a nice summer break. I still have many fond memories of my own summers as a child. As a parent, I believe one of our primary jobs is to create the conditions for positive experiences that lead to long term happy memories for our children.  It is also to help our kids prepare for and embrace change and new beginnings as a fact of life.

 A new school year is a new beginning.  The first day it is literally a blank slate.  The upcoming year is rife with opportunities to learn new things, make new friends, experience physical changes, have new experiences and learn new things about yourself.  School years are the perfect laboratories for change.  There will be ups and there will be downs but there is also a natural conclusion which ultimately leads to the next series of changes – it is a cycle.  I’m glad someone created the yearbook concept so that kids can have a record of what happened.

As an adult our changes are less structured and usually more self-imposed except the inevitable physical changes that come with aging. We also tend to have much longer periods of time between what would qualify as new beginnings. Sometimes we do have major changes forced upon us by external events or the actions of others, however, thankfully these experiences are usually few and far between.  For all intensive purposes we are all the masters of our own destiny.

I’ve always like the idea of new beginnings.  My mom used to say that every person has 4 seasons to their lives and each one is an opportunity to reinvent yourself and use the wisdom gained up until that point to make better decisions. As I age, I understand more of what she meant.  I also believe that within these seasons there are natural changes such as completing your schooling, getting married (maybe more than once), having kids, becoming a homeowner, embarking on a career, being at the peak of your career and having responsibility for other people, caring for aging parents, having your own kids move out and start their own lives, becoming a grandparent, retirement from work and navigating our “golden years” that just seem to happen and lead to new beginnings. I do respect the fact that not everyone opts for all these changes but for the most part they are common experiences shared by most of us.

Instead of resisting change or passively letting it happen to you, I encourage you to proactively embrace it as the natural cycle of life – just as school is for our kids.  New beginnings are a critical part of existence and key component of happiness.  When you approach them with the right spirit and attitude good things tend to happen. In addition, you broaden rather than narrow the definition of who you are as a person which can only ever be a good thing.  The yearbook we get at the end of our life is the sum total of our experiences, the quality of our relationships and how we changed and hopefully grew as a person along the way.   It is supposed to be a thick book with many sections full of pictures and happy memories.  It is a record of who we are and how we lived.

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