Life is full of them, isn’t it?
High school to college or work.
Single to married.
New boss or position.
Old town to a new town.
Children being born or leaving home.
No matter what stage of life you are in, transitions surround you. Maybe you just finished navigating one. Maybe you’re in the middle of one (or several!) right now.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to survive a transition. They can be uncomfortable, even painful.
But there are a few things you can do to help you survive and even flourish in a transition.
Identify everything that is changing.
The strongest fear is the fear of the unknown (H.P. Lovecraft). In a transition, the scariest part can be not knowing what to expect through the changes that are happening. While change is a situational process, transition is a psychological process. In order to prepare, accept, and embrace a transition, you need to identify what will be changing for you. Is your child about to graduate from high school? Their schedule will change, your schedule will change, you may need to change the amount of food you shop for, your budget may be allocated differently now. Think through all of the areas that will be affected by this change – and you will be able to transition more smoothly.
Maybe you are transitioning your team to a new system of communication. Get together with them and brainstorm every single detail that you can imagine may be affected. You’re not trying to hammer out the new process, you are trying to discern all of the implications of that new process. Not only will you handle the transition better, your team will as well.
Allow yourself to grieve.
Yes. Grieve. Allow yourself to grieve what you are losing. Several years ago, our staff was facing a period of transition, and we collectively read the book Managing Transitions. While I don’t remember the bulk of the deep, business-minded content, this concept of grieving attached itself to me. Allowing myself to grieve means I am honoring the past. It gives credibility to what has been. And it allows me to open up toward what is next. I’ve taken this idea and applied it to many areas of my own life. I’ve grieved a change in a relationship. I’ve grieved when a new system was introduced at work. I recently had to grieve leaving one position and starting a new position within my church. Grieving frees me to start anew.
Find the fun.
Did you know you can change your life simply by looking for the fun in life? Finding the fun gives you permission to smile, to laugh, to relieve tension (even if only temporarily).
I recently met a group of consultants who I will be working with. We are all new, and had never met in person before. We sat in a conference room, strangers, all of us on the brink of a transition. The first thing we did together?
We watched a silly video and suddenly we were friends. We created funny bumper stickers to illustrate Proverbs 14:4 (send me a message if you’d like to know what ours said!). We had so much fun. And together, we promised to find the fun for people around us. Our job as consultants will be to lead people through change. But more than that, we choose to help them transition in a healthy way.
Because fun produces hope.
And hope brings healing and health.
Transitions will never be easy. But they can be easier.
What transitions are you facing right now? I’d love to hear about them. And I believe you will survive them!