Endings are Just New Beginnings

I’m stuck.

Stuck between endings and beginnings. Stuck between leaving five years of the most intense and meaningful work I’ve ever done and an emerging sense of new possibilities.

But, I am struggling.

After all, how does one create a perfect ending? Is it even possible to find a way to finish up five years of all-consuming work and exit with grace?

Ultimately, it seems to be a delicate dance between needing to leave what is over, while making sure it’s importance isn’t lost. It also means finding a balance between believing that endings are just another starting point, and having a vision for the future.  Or, as Ellen Goodman once put it, “It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”

But the truth is that as the funding for ACE Communities—the initiative I’ve been directing—comes to an end, and I finally come up for air, unclench, and breath, the new vision is still a bit blurry around the edges. 

It is however slowly coming into focus because, as I’m learning, good things don’t really end, they just begin again in a new way.

As a former thoughtful and kind employee put it in an email she sent this week, “What made ACE Communities sing was the approach to community and the people. The ‘Soul of ACE’ may take a different form, but that it lives beyond the boundaries of the program can’t be denied. What was accomplished in a few short years is going to continue to influence professionals and communities for generations.”

Another incredible act of kindness has been the decision of an ACE contractor, and now good friend, who took it upon herself to host a book launch party for me.

Yes, I wrote a book.

I wrote a book called, Leadership for Active, Creative, Engaged Communities. 

I wrote the book—and believe me it was a laborious and painful endeavor that involved a lot of evenings and weekends—because my work with ACE Communities motivated me to collect and share the inspiring stories and practical strategies learned from the grassroots of our communities.

Much of the focus of the book is based on a simple yet profound premise—communities get better when their leaders do.

I wrote the book for the many caring and concerned individuals who, like me, want to make a difference in their communities and are looking for practical advice and direction on how to do it. Even if one doesn’t consider themselves to be a leader, it is my hope that after reading the book they will have a better understanding of their own leadership abilities, how they can be enhanced, and why they themselves might just be more of what the world needs.

So ultimately it is perhaps the book that provides me with a jumping off point for a new beginning. 

I’m also now clearer that endings are not necessarily bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. Stay tuned.

Posted on 06-04-12

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