I watched this movie once that was largely unremarkable. The title was, I believe, Finnegan Begin Again and the lead character would repeat that to himself like a mantra each time he failed or had a misstep. “Finnegan, begin again.” Although I have forgotten the movie I’ve always remembered the phrase.
If you coach long enough you realize that we each hit a point where we simply need to begin again.
Recently I wrote about the concept of being liminal; where you stand in the threshold between two states.
Here and There
One of my old assistant coaches used a phrase once as he was simultaneously working for us but searching for his next thing. He said he “had a foot on both shores,” and that it was a bit disconcerting. It felt hard to do anything well.
In that case he had little choice. He needed to do one job and simultaneously to look to move forward and on to something bigger. He found the job he needed and wanted very quickly, but it was an uncomfortable time for him and for us.
I recognize better now when a player or staff member is stuck, considering whether to commit, whether to stay or to go in order to grow or pursue another interest. Moods change, focus fades, detachment occurs, small things may become big things.
Recently Tiffany Weimer wrote at her blog a post about a more positive liminal experience. As she starts her coaching career after a very successful professional playing career, she continues to embrace her identity as a player. In her case she describes a very positive experience in which she attempts to integrate the two, and allow them to inform one another, as she begins her journey as a coach.
I think this idea of duality could possibly create the very best coaches in the world. Pushing boundaries and forcing ourselves to contradict ourselves.
Things Come to an End
Still others may be experiencing bigger transitions.
They may be leaving their jobs by choice or due to circumstances beyond their own control. It might be time to move on, or go to a new or bigger job, to transition to entirely different career, or simply to take a break from this one, only to begin again.
Change may be required, imposed upon us by the decision of another.
Change is almost always hard, even if by choice. Things reorganize quickly behind you when you leave and the place you held evaporates. Someone does not take your place, they just take your job, but they make it their own. It becomes their place. Things just shift.
I learned for myself that we must shift too. Make a new place. Create what you want.
Some people move forward with you, others fade away, but still others reemerge and step into the picture after we have created something new.
I am living with this ambiguity now as I transition my career to a different kind of coaching. One in which the quality of the questions will be more significant than knowing the answers. New skills are required, processes shift and others expectations have to shift as well. This takes time.
It is easy to stick with what we have known; what is comfortable, even if it is not the future we ultimately see for ourselves.
I think of myself as comfortable with change. But, letting go of the safety net of a coaching and leadership career centered around the field, has been hard. Yet I know that I cannot fully create a coaching career off the field until I do. Parts of the sports world will come with me and other parts will catch up later, but there needs to be a time when the focus shifts.
I know this, but, it still takes a minute.
I want, and I imagine others want, to know how the journey will turn out. That it will lead somewhere. Instead it works out exactly as it works out. And, that’s okay.
Finnegan, begin again.