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Tips for Going on a New Track
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, December 2013

At some point in our lives we may find ourselves in a deep, dark hole, unsure of what's next for us...or even whether we want to become engaged in a "next chapter." Maybe we've been out of the workforce for five years, or a decade, or even longer. Or, we're newly divorced, having been a couple for decades, wondering whether we will ever be able to meet someone and trust again. Well-intentioned friends encourage us to "get back on track," but we spin our wheels.

How about re-framing the entire issue to one of "Going on a New Track?"

Even though we feel derailed it can be helpful to see where we want to go and examine ways to get there. We look at the future based on where we are now, with our life experiences, our friends and family, and what we love to do or are passionate about. Armed with this, we begin to see that we can start a new chapter in our life.

Consider the following:

Begin Where We Are. - It's all about creating the next phase of our life. We don't need to get back on the track we were on- because that track is no longer available to us. We can find a new track where we bring with us what was helpful on that previous track IN ADDITION TO lessons we have learned; wisdom we have gained; skills, passions and interests we have developed; and friends we have made (important for networking) since being off that old track. We are not beginning it all over again. We are beginning from where we are now.

Acknowledge Our Fears and Concerns. - Just acknowledging that feeling of despair is a good thing. We can recognize that sometimes we will feel it's just too much. When we feel lost, without direction, the voice in our head says we have "nothing to offer." We can say to ourselves, "I know who I am;" "I know what I do well;" " I know how I have handled crises in the past;" "This is what I am good at."

List Our Strengths and Skills. - Sometimes if we don't feel so great where we are, we don't recognize our strengths. We can ask friends, our children, those who know and respect us for feedback.

List Our Passions. - Identify our passions, which may not necessarily be the ones we used to have. They can be different and can be explored and when engaged with them, help us to be our authentic selves, ready for the next chapter.

And Finally -- Find Where Your Strengths and Passions Meet.

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