Life is a Cycle – where are you?

This morning I received an email from a potential new client.  She details the past few years of her life and compares them to her present life.  She expresses concerns about how differently she is feeling about her life and herself and wonders how to ‘go back’ to what was.   Can we ‘go back’ on this naturally forward journey of life?  Her email prompted me to find a post I wrote a few years ago about the natural cycles of life.  Take a read.  Where are you?

One of my clients, a bright and ambitious young leader is going through hard times. A classic high-achiever, he has aced every test, task and challenge that has come his way—until now. For the first time since he remembers, and faced with the biggest challenge of his career, he’s failing.  And more, not only is he failing at the task but he’s despondent, stressed, stuck and largely disenchanted.  He’s convinced  himself that this is the end of his career and that there is no light at the end of this tunnel.  He tells me this while sketching a line to represent his career-path and pointing out that the end of the upward line is abrupt—it’s the precipice to his fall.

Perhaps through the wisdom of age, or the knowledge of my own up’s and down’s and failings, and thanks to Frederic Hudson (The Handbook of Coaching), I’m comfortable with the notion that life isn’t a linear process, it’s a cycle.  Look at the Hudson’s Life Cycles diagram. Here’s an interpretation of the four phases that almost all of us cycle through.  Sometimes we spend as little as one month in a phase, sometimes years.  We tend to move through the phases in consecutive order.  Read the words that describe each phase to identify the most prominent phase of your journey right now.  There’s a comforting relief in knowing that things change. If we ride out our storm and do some necessary soul-searching, our dark days do end.

Here are some activities that can help you to get the most from the important phase that you’re currently experiencing;

The Doldrums

Successful departure for mini-transition │Successful departure for life transition

Create an exit plan │Look for a new job │Spend time with friends │Take up hobbies │ Join the gym │Take evening courses │Travel │Sabbatical │Seek Therapy and/or Coaching


Define a new you │ Create a new sense of purpose │ Spiritual renewal │ Find inner peace │ Sabbatical

New training │ Journaling │ Meditating │Transition job │ Hobbies │ Time management │ Travel │ Art Classes

Getting Ready

Get a fix on what’s important │Become more creative │ Improve your humor

Explore options │ Find friends │ Advance studies │ Travel │ Fall in love │Read with abandon │ Simplify lifestyle

Go for It

Reach your goals │Celebrate your success │ Take new risks │ Receive financial rewards │ Follow your sense of purpose

New training │ Journaling │ Meditating │ Hobbies │ Time management │ Travel │ Art Classes

And in everything you do, go gentle with you. 


ImageMichelle Clarke is an Executive Coach based in Cape Town. She works locally and internationally with Leaders, Executives and Executive Coaches, helping them to navigate the complexity of 21st century leadership.  To learn more about her work please visit her website, and be sure also to subscribe to this blog for future updates.  If you enjoy Facebook, please join Michelle’s Business Page

Do you know someone who might benefit from this information?  Please share this email in the spirit of coaching abundance.  Thank You!


2 responses to “Life is a Cycle – where are you?

  1. Dear Michelle thank you so much for your deep insights which you readily share .. this one in particular I find inspiring as it speaks to me personally – transmitting between the doldrums and the cocooning phase
    Keep it up
    Gratefully and sincerely

  2. I’m in-between getting ready and going for it!

    Great post and tool to have in sight as we navigate the different cycles of life.

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