Two years ago I was invited to contribute to the book Inspirational, Fabulous and Over 40. Along with 11 incredibly courageous and inspirational women, I crafted my piece and concluded my chapter (“With Love, Fun and Gratitude”) with advice to ‘my younger self’. I reflected that my R & D Department was still hard at work and you could expect the new and updated me model anytime soon.

Well, soon is here and this last week saw my full transition into the world of retirement. After fifty years in one workplace or another and the last eleven working happily as an executive coach, leadership mentor, Certified NLP Trainer and Coach Supervisor, I am here and what a time to choose!

In the last few days, the world as we have known it has turned upside down. Employees furloughed, families living separate and isolated lives, well-known brand names collapsing under the weight of debt and a sudden drop in revenue, the self-employed in desperation and the freedom to roam whipped out from under our feet.

For many years I have been happily supporting others with important life transitions; asking skilful questions to aid decision making, both business and personal; encouraging challenges to self-limiting beliefs in addition to developing new skills and confidence.

In turn, I have had wonderful support in my own transition from Robbie Steinhouse and Caroline Morgan at NLP School, from my own coach supervisor as well as from family and friends. I’ve had time to consider retirement, plan for it and develop my colourful mental image of what it will be like. I’ve had a special place in my heart and mind to allow space for all things possible. The planning became a journey in its own right.

Not so for many. The distress many thousands of people are now experiencing is tangible. Confusion, the sudden loss of direction, grieving for what was a normal day where the children went to school, students prepared to sit their important transitional exams and shops and offices hummed with energy and conversation. We all knew where we were going. Or did we?

In his book The Natural Navigator, Tristan Gooley writes “a compass contains no information about the landscape its owner is moving through.” He goes on to describe “a long cultural development” relating to the creation and design of maps. As a reader I take away his view that many great and successful developments can lead “to a strangely limited perspective of the world and the journey itself”.

In NLP training we encourage each other to explore and be curious. To become aware of our own assumptions, beliefs and values as a route to effective communication. When considering one of the NLP Presuppositions “The Map is Not the Territory”we are provided with a lens that invites our awareness to expand. We begin to understand that different view points, opinions and decisions of others form their their map and in turn their landscape, their territory,

Our individual map of the world isn’t any better than any one else’s. It’s just different. Perhaps now as the world has paused, we have an opportunity to to reflect on our map and with it the territory we have previously mapped out for ourselves. Has freedom been freedom or did it come shackled with conditions, guilt, debt and limiting beliefs?

I have been so fortunate to learn my craft from the masters. Forever grateful to Robbie for my first three days NLP training all those years ago which led me to study Practitioner, then Master Practitioner qualifications with him and for his trust in me to work alongside the many hundreds of students he has introduced to the world of NLP. To Judith de Lozier and Robert Dilts for their NLP Trainer training and also Robert Dilts and Stephen Gilligan for their amazing Generative Change work. Embracing the concept of gathering resources and transforming obstacles has become a daily practice in this Coronavirus world (to find out more see NLP School’s Generative Coaching Course).

Upon reflection, the world hasn’t come to a standstill, my plans for retirement are not on hold. I am just pausing for thought and waiting for my compass to stop spinning. Along with thousands of others, I can look around, to see, hear and feel what is in the landscape around me and to engage in a positive way in designing my new map of the world. I am excited about discovering the territory and the hidden gifts within.

My purpose now is to stay healthy and to use all my resources to support others in whichever way I can. Although no longer in work mode, I can certainly offer volunteer mode. I am using my NLP skills to build a beautiful, colourful image of our post-virus world, full of laughter and music. I am planning my long imagined 200 hundred mile trek (I love walking) from home to visit my grandsons on the South Coast in 2021 and I am being technically creative with my virtual coffee breaks.

To all those fabulous and inspirational people who have accompanied me on my journey so far and for whom I have the utmost respect and gratitude, I am a sum of you all, a legacy if you will, to pass on.

With love, fun and gratitude.

Janet xx

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