This is actually a quote from the president of Oxford University, spoken to the entering freshman in 1944, in the midst of a world war. This is a concept that we have seen confirmed throughout history. In working with people going through change, I am often struck by the discouragement, frustration, and frequent anger and resentment they share.
I have come to recognize however, that those feelings always tell me that the person is looking backward, at something that has already occurred. As soon as we are able to create a clear plan for the future, those feelings quickly begin to dissipate and are replaced by hope, optimism and enthusiasm. In all my years of coaching, I have never seen a person who has a clear plan and goals who is also depressed. They just don’t go together.
We are now in a new “season” as a country and in starting a New Year. While there are lots of opinions on the political and economic fronts, it seems to me that people are in general more optimistic and hopeful than they were a couple of months ago. Saturday Joanne and I stopped to pick up a video cord at Best Buy, and the crowds were heavier than right before Christmas. I am being overwhelmed with people who want to launch new businesses – releasing ideas they’ve had for years and they are excited that now is the time. And the anticipation is not just an American phenomenon. My alanytics show that in this time period — Jan 19, 2009 – Jan 25, 2009 — our www.48Days.com website was visited by people from 76 countries. It seems people everywhere are looking for new beginnings.
Viktor Frankl, in his wonderful little book, “Man’s Search for Meaning“, relates his observations of people in the German concentration camps. Age, health, education or ability could not predict those who survived the atrocities there. No, rather it was only those who believed that there was something better coming tomorrow who were able to survive and ultimately walk away from those camps.
Feeling discouraged? Miserable in your job? Just lost your business? Draw that proverbial line in the sand. Welcome the new beginning tomorrow! “All beginnings are hopeful.”