There Isn’t a Signal When the Cycle Changes!

Many months ago I wrote in this space about a concept that I had learned of in my Institute for Professional Excellence (IPEC) coaching studies known as the cycle of change. The piece focused on how the various activities we go through in our life are like a card game. While each activity stands on its own merits, at any time in our life we are in one of four stages with that activity. Either we are in shuffle, where we are beginning the activity and reflecting how we want to move it forward, deal, where we outwardly take action, select those with whom we want to play and establish expectations, play the game, where we are fully engrossed in the activity and it is a part of our regular life and toss in, where the activity has ended and it is time to move on. I was reflecting on this the cycle of change recently with my own coach since I had been fully emerged in it, and had not realized the stage of where I was in the cycle had changed in my own life.

As we were moving out of November and into December I was beginning to feel very overwhelmed. While I enjoy what I do completely, it appeared to all be coming to a head for me at the same time. The day to day operations of my business, the leadership of the coaching association which I oversee, the networking group of which I am a part and my own personal life were all making demands on my time. While I was meeting all my obligations, some questions were beginning to crop into my mind. Had I overextended myself? What had happened to that nice career I had set up for myself where I made my own schedule and set up my days the way I wanted them to be? Was I falling back into styles I had exhibited previously, particularly when I worked in a corporate based position for 30 years of my life?

Upon exploration my coach made me aware of a few things. One is that I tend to be a very competent person in both addressing things and getting them accomplished. Secondly from her experience over the years, new entrepreneurs actually tend to work themselves harder than if they actually work for someone else. Additionally she reviewed with me all the positive steps I had taken in moving into this current career path and the steps I had been taking to make it what I wanted it to be as part of my life.

It was at that point that the “cycle of change” model popped into my mind. For a long time in developing what I had been building I had indeed been in “shuffle” mode. That it had been a long shuffle period was not surprising. I tend to be a very deliberate person when it comes to decision making. However, the last 2 to 3 months of my life I definitely had moved into the “deal” portion of the cycle. And, while at times it may even feel like I’m actually in the “play the game” portion of the cycle, I know I have not yet established a rhythm for what I do that would characterize it as being fully engrossed where things tend to happen as a regular happenstance. I’ll settle for being in “deal” at this moment.

However, although the cycle had changed, I had been blind to it occurring. No one held up a big card that said “DEAL”, to let me know I was in a new part of my adventure with building a coaching practice and all that entailed. And, I’m sure when it is time that I’m moving from “deal” to “play the game”, that there won’t be a signal to let me know I have reached that point. However, I sense I’ll be more alert to recognizing when it does indeed happen. As I indicated when the original post was published, we all deal with the Cycle of Change in the activities of our life. In fact we’re in different parts of the cycle for different activities. And, while we’re human and it is often not easy to separate one activity from another, and realize we may be in “shuffle” for one part of our life, while we’re in “play the game” for another, we all experience that sense of overwhelm. If something which is a regular part of your life is currently overwhelming you, take a step back and examine it. What may have changed about it? Have you moved from contemplating how you choose to handle it, to actually dealing with it on a day to day basis? Is it possible something you have enjoyed doing for a long time is obviously winding down for you and it may be ready to “toss in”, and move to a next activity? And, while we all like to hold onto that which we love for as long as we can, most everything comes to an end in our life sometime or another.

So, as you can see, even a coach can learn from that which he has been taught. However, unlike his text books which are very clear and distinct in terms of moving from point to point, when it happens at real life, it doesn’t always come with an obvious signal.

Tony Calabrese of Absolute Transitions provides suggestions, approaches and information on how you can find a new job, move up to a new position, or change your career. To get his free report, “Overcoming Obstacles to Change Your Life” visit

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