Finding the Truth of Your Transitions-with your first breath, you begin a life of change. You go to school, move to another town, make and lose friends, marry, and perhaps experience divorce or the death of a spouse. You age and redefine what you want in life and work. Major changes come with all kinds of emotions, depending on whether you see it as positive, negative, or a mix of both.
For over twenty years, I have helped individuals and groups navigate transitions, and I know that the feelings and reactions you experience (the transition) can lead to personal growth and increased creativity. This is true even in the most difficult transitions.
The first part of a transition is to name the change with your own words. You might call your career change, “Charting a New Path.” Maybe you name your divorce “Going Solo.” It all depends on how you see it. Initially, you feel a kind of letting go, as the old role or situation begins to fade. This can be difficult for some people, and the letting go comes in bits and pieces over time.
Once you are in the middle of the change, you will likely feel ungrounded and anxious. You are neither in the old way nor the new way of living. You feel out of sync; you can be excited one minute and anxious the next. These are perfectly normal feelings because you are taking apart the old situation like pieces of a puzzle. Eventually, the pieces will come together in a new picture. Many people want to run through this middle part, particularly in a difficult transition. But, as great legends, myths, and world religions show, this can be a time of transformation. You open yourself to new possibilities. You take stock of your life.
You may have heard the expression, “the new normal.” When you have finally accepted the new way of doing things—much like finally knowing where things are in a new home. This is a great time to plan some short-term goals for yourself like starting an exercise class, joining a club, or exploring career options.
The most important thing is to understand that you are the only one who determines how and when you will move through transitions. The emotions of a transition are not driven by an external clock. Be patient and take care of your body and spirit. It is normal to feel some fear about a big change. And to find the truth of your transition, try writing your thoughts, dreams and feeling in a journal. In time, you will see the deeper truth about what this transition means to you.
Leia Francisco is a CCE Board Certified Coach specializing in transitions. The second edition of her book Writing through Transitions will be available in 2015.