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Transition – a blessing or a curse?

Change is the law of life and the new normal. Change happens and is both situational and external. The real growth is in transition – a psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Here’s an honest survival guide to ensure you come out on top.

What does transition mean?
The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. This could apply to a multitude of career scenarios:

  • Seeking promotion or a role change  
  • Moving to part-time hours or taking retirement
  • Evaluating what’s next for you and your career
  • Maternity/paternity career breaks
  • Travelling/gap years/sabbaticals

And life transitions include accidents, relocation to a new city or country, marriage, divorce, buying your first house, having a baby, starting university to name a few.

Some situations are chosen. Some take you by surprise. Like redundancy. And suddenly, you can find yourself writing a CV for the first time in 25 years or attending a job interview after a decade. And feeling scared. Forced to rewrite your story. Navigating the unknown and questioning your values, beliefs and identity.

What does transition really mean?
A spontaneous brainstorm among trusted advisors in my network gave me a mixed bag of results:

‘Anxiety and fear’
‘Out of balance and uncertainty’
‘A learning experience outside my comfort zone’
‘Finding strength/inspiration in something new’
‘Courage to explore new territory with unexpected high rewards’
‘A rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs’
‘A gift.’

Abraham Maslow sums up the experience nicely:
‘One can choose to go back towards safety or forward towards growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.’

My personal survival guide for success during transition:

·      Be curious while you patiently navigate opportunities in unexpected places.

·      Stay connected to people. They come in a variety of packaging and will share wise words, inspiring quotes, honest feedback (which sometimes sucks), make you smile / laugh and remind you when you failed in the past AND got back on the horse.

I recommend ‘recruiting’ a group of professional mentors (Yes! you may have to pay serious money as well as invite someone for a coffee). This could be in the form of marketing support, a coaching supervisor, and other experienced entrepreneurs. They have all been there and done that are wearing the T-shirt you aspire to own.

And one day, you will be at the receiving end. Giving, supporting and encouraging someone else. You might already be doing what someone else is still dreaming of doing.

·      Learn a new language. And not the lingua franca kind. When you start talking to new people in different industries, you find yourself having to explain former everyday terminology to bridge gaps. These dialogues make you aware of your transferrable skills.

·      Create daily routines which support you physically, mentally and emotionally. Exercise, fresh air, reflection time, reading, writing, meditation. Whatever fills YOUR tank.

·      Persevere. Keep sewing those seeds. Crops grow in unexpected places. In all seasons and in the dark too. Your new normal is on its way.

·      Self-awareness is non-negotiable. You are on a deep personal journey. Adopt a growth mindset to support yourself. Ask yourself what you are learning from your current now. Check in with your long-term goal(s) often and remind yourself of your ‘why’ every day. This will be your beacon of hope on the grey days.

What’s your experience of transition? Anything to add to the list above?

Photo by Ashley Rich on Unsplash

Karin Weiser

Karin Weiser

International Business Coach (ICF-ACC) and Writer

Transition Specialist who supports ambitious professionals in transition in their career and life with conversations that matter. I help ambitious professionals to write the next chapter of their career story. To own it, walk it and talk it. I have rewritten my story many times - moved countries, climbed the corporate ladder, zigzagged in my career. I stand for diversity, well-being and lifelong learning. In 2019 I took a life leap to self-employment. Proud to be a Psychologies Ambassador and ICF Barefoot certified coach (ACC). My WHY is to have a positive impact on people - in person, virtually and through words. British by birth, global by choice - I'm based in Copenhagen and work globally. My personal recipe for a balanced life includes a splash of optimism, yoga and dark chocolate.

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