Transitions Sometimes Mean Falling Back to Spring Forward

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

~ Anne Bradstreet ~

I can’t help but smile at the complaining and grousing that goes on when Daylight Saving Time begins and ends. It offers a great example of how people react when they face a transition.

People Don’t Like Transitions. Not Even Small Ones

Big or small, transitions take you out of your comfort zone – at least temporarily. You see how people avoid dealing with transitions all the time, like those who leap out of one relationship and immediately jump into another. They don’t “fall back” to process what exactly went wrong and what they could do differently next time.

Or like those who get fired from one job after another because they can’t get along with their coworkers or boss. And they blame their coworkers or boss rather than “falling back” to take a good hard look at how they contribute to their inability to play nice with others.

Distractions and complaining are easy ways to avoid feelings of discomfort. It takes courage to stay with your discomfort long enough to get the lesson your transition has to teach you.

Give Yourself Permission to Fall Back

Regardless of whether you are experiencing a personal or professional transition, your first instinct might be to spring forward full speed ahead. You might think you have to hurry up and figure out what’s next, even before you’ve had a chance to process and complete the situation that just ended.

I get it. I’ve been there. Being let go from my job after 30-plus years was downright scary. I hadn’t written a resume. Ever. I hadn’t networked. Ever. I hadn’t conducted a full-scale job search. Ever.

Panic set in. I hopped around like a cat on a hot griddle, attending this networking event and that job fair hoping I would figure out something that would get me my next job.

In 2002. During the hiring freeze that followed September 11th.

Falling Back Sounded Like a Good Idea . . . After I Found a Job

All that running around paid off. I finally got a job. It took me about two weeks to realize I hated it. And three months to leave it – by mutual consent.

Friends and associates who cared about me advised me to slow down and breathe, take a step back, and take a good, solid look at what I wanted to do now. They saw my transition as an opportunity. I saw it as a nightmare I needed to escape from.

Luckily, my panic about being jobless had subsided to a point where I realized I wasn’t going to end up living under a bridge any time soon. I decided to take their advice and “fall back” to think about what I really wanted to do with the next stage of my life. I didn’t want to make another big mistake by springing forward too soon.

Am I going to tell you it was easy? Oh hellz no! Am I going to tell you it was worth it? Abso-dang-lutely!

It’s never easy to give up a lifetime of who you “know” yourself to be. I’d spent a lifetime being “wired” to be an employee. How in the world was I “supposed” to become someone else?

The lesson from my career transition was that entering a new life stage is not about becoming someone else. It’s about becoming who you are now – at this stage of your life.

To Spring Forward, You’ve Gotta Identify Your “Why”

Falling back to get acquainted with who you are at any given stage of your life is a valuable exercise. For me, it was a bit like embarking on a treasure hunt. The treasure is where you bring three essential components together that will lead to a fulfilling life:

  • Something to love
  • Something to do
  • Possibility

Something to love is associated with your heart. What would you do if you could spend all your time doing it? Be willing to play with everything you love, even if it sounds crazy, or even if your brain wants to pooh-pooh it by saying there’s no way you could make a living at it.

Now is the time for dreaming. Culling comes later.

Something to do is associated with your mind. What skills, talents and abilities do you have? You might love basketball but have no ability or talent for the game. Putting yourself in a place where you feel awkward and incapable isn’t going to keep you happy for long. But, what if you love basketball and have a talent for photography? What opportunities for a Sexy Second Act could that open up?

Possibility is associated with your spirit and the belief that you came here to serve a purpose. How many ways could someone who loves basketball and is skilled in photography come up with to be of service? Just for fun, do some brainstorming with friends and associates. See if you can come up with at least ten. And remember, being of service doesn’t have to take the form of non-profit work. It’s okay to have a “for-profit” business or career.

Your “Why” Will Lead to Your Paycheck

As you start to identify the sweet spot where what you love, your talents, and possibility come together, ways to generate a paycheck are likely to occur to you. Your paycheck might be monetary, but if money isn’t an issue for you, then fulfillment might be your paycheck.

Now, you can develop strategy and a plan. And voila! You are ready to spring forward and design an exciting Sexy Second Act that inspires you!

Are you nearing retirement and feeling lost about what’s next for you? Schedule your complimentary “get acquainted” coaching session and I’ll help you brainstorm possible ways you can design your Sexy Second Act.