Make Room For the New

Make-Room-For-the-New-by-Shi-Chen A couple of years ago, I was chatting on the phone with my mentor, asking her about what it takes to become a certified coach.

Actually, I think my exact question was: “What was something you wish you knew before starting your coach journey?”

I like to learn from other people’s first-hand experiences and benefit from their hind-sight 20/20 vision. Whatever her answer was, I wanted to prepare myself with insight and knowledge for the long journey ahead.

She paused and thought for a moment. She replied, “I wish I stopped doing things to make room and space for the things I wanted to start doing.” In other words, she knew that adding on a new work load meant she needed to first take away a work load. Piling on new education upon new work responsibilities with no room to rest is a quick recipe for burnout.

Fast forward a few years, I am still grateful for this piece of wisdom. Whenever I embark on a new adventure, I take inventory of my resources (time, energy, and responsibilities) to make room for what’s to come.

For anyone who is considering going back to school to get a Master’s, changing careers, or pursuing a full-time dream, here are some tips for creating room for the new.

1. Pass the baton to an emerging leader.

In Christine Caine’s book, “Unstoppable,” she compares our life’s passion, purpose and potential to runners in a relay race. We all have certain responsibilities in each season and are equipped to lead wholeheartedly. If it’s time to step down or move on from a leadership role, we can “the pass the baton” to a rising leader to be entrusted with these responsibilities. Look for people who are already involved in some way and “running the race,” and train them to ultimately take over your role. Give them ample time to learn, ask questions, and grow in confidence. You will benefit knowing that your role is in good hands and can move on to the next phase.

2. Delegate or outsource tasks you don’t need to do yourself.

A leader is someone who plays to their strengths and knows when to ask for help. Take a look at your current tasks and responsibilities. What are some things that you don’t need to do yourself? Who can help you with it? You can delegate tasks to other team members or household chores to a spouse, or pay a virtual assistant to do business administrative tasks. When you let go of things we don’t need to do ourselves, you give yourself more time and energy to devote to doing the things that you must do.

3. Create a stop doing list and stick to it.

I first heard this concept from Danielle LaPorte. We often make to-do lists to keep track of our tasks, but creating a “stop doing list” is just as important. There are some things that are frustrating, time-consuming, and don’t align to our values. Instead of tolerating them, another option is to just stop doing them. For example, you can decide to stop offering one-on-one coaching sessions and opt for coach workshops or programs. Or, you can choose to stop photographing newborns and just stick to weddings. On a personal note, you can vow to stop taking red-eye flights (like Danielle) or stop eating junk food.

4. Build your “no" muscle.

Sometimes it’s hard to say “no” to people and opportunities. We are afraid of missing out or letting someone down. However, building your “no” muscle is a must-have skill to make room for the new. I think of it as a muscle because it’s something that develops over time with use. We will learn what matters to us and what doesn’t really matter. Saying no to things that do not align with your values will help you set boundaries and devote time and energy to the things you wholeheartedly say “yes” to.

Incorporating these tips into your life or career transition will open up new opportunities if you let go of old ones. The rhythm of life requires us to prune back responsibilities before we can grow into a new season. It’s up to us to be intentional about making room and space for what’s to come.

It’s your turn to share! What’s something you want to stop doing? Leave your comment below or share it on social media. I would love to hear your thoughts and progress.

Take care & take action,