Lindsay White

Tips For Graduating At Any Age

We just had our third child graduate from High School in the last couple weeks (three down, one more to go!). It was wonderful to see all their lovely, fresh faces, in their caps and gowns, as they walked across that stage. As I looked at these young adults I could see an interesting mix of enthusiasm and a little fear in each of them. It occurred to me, grad really is the very first milestone where we begin to create our own life and chart our course. But we all know it’s not the last.

It also occurred to me that I’ve felt that same mix of enthusiasm and fear as I “graduated” from one phase of my life to the next. The first day of university, moving from one job to another, signing the mortgage documents for my first house, and preparing to walk down the aisle and marry my husband. Each one of these milestones brought with it the same level of energy and anxiety. More recently, I left a 10-year career in HR to start my own business coaching clients who want more for their lives. Making that change felt a lot like graduating. I experience the same excitement laced with fear almost daily. It’s exhilarating, in an Evil Knievel kinda way.
Here’s what I’ve discovered about this “graduation” process that might help you take your next leap forward:

Everyone Gets Scared
Feeling afraid of whatever you’re graduation to (or graduating from) in your life is completely normal! So when you wake up in a cold sweat just take a couple deep breaths – it’ll be ok. You’re clearly moving in the right direction if it feels a little crazy. That reaction means that you’re onto something big, harry and audacious. That’s precisely the direction you need to go.

It’s not too late and you’re not too old!
Frankly, those are pretty lame excuses. Yuichiro Miura climb Mount Everest at nearly 81 years old, and Doroth Bruder finished the IronMan at 82. So if you’re anything short of being on life support you’re perfectly capable of graduating to something better in your life. The only person standing in your way is you. So why don’t you get out of your own way?

You’re going to have to leave something behind
Whether you like it or not, graduating to more likely means that you’re going to have to leave something behind. For the kids in grade 12, it means leaving behind the familiar – their school, teacher, and likely some relationships as they all move on to new and interesting things. For you it might mean the same. Maybe it’s a comfortable but uninspiring job or a toxic relationship you need to walk (or run) away from. Or it could be some bad habits, outdated beliefs or old perspectives that you need to leave behind. It’s likely going to be a bit painful, but in order to graduate and move onward you’ll need to let it go. Maybe you should just get it over with?

You need a cheering section
I’m not a genius, and neither am I particularly brave. What I have been able to do is surround myself with people that are unfailing in their belief that I can do whatever I set my mind too. These cheerleaders are exceptionally important. They make me believe that I can do it even when my inner critic is busy trying to convince me I’m an idiot. They talk me off the ledge, pump my tires, and make me feel like I’m totally not losing my mind. So figure out who you need on you cheer team and get them working for you.

The bottom line here is, a graduation can happen at any time in our lives, and it’s not just about that walk across the stage at the end of Grade 12. We always have the opportunity to graduate to bigger and better in our life. So whether you’re ready to graduate to that new job, that new business, that new relationship, or even to a new hobby, just do it. Take a deep breath, walk boldly across that stage, and then get ready for more.

If you feel like you’re ready to graduate in your life, sign up for one of our Inspiration Sessions and let’s discover what’s next for you.