Make the Most of Change: Part 1

Make the Most of Change: Part 1

Life is one big transition.
— Willie Stargell

We all go through them. Graduation, starting a career, losing a job, being promoted, moving to a new home, becoming a mother, retiring, to name just a few.

When it comes to career development, transitions are the rich grounds for reaching new heights in your professional and personal life. But they can also be pretty challenging while you’re in the thick of it.

This five part blog series will cover my top seven tips for women to help get the most out of the next change life throws your way, based on my experience coaching over 200 individuals through their career transitions. Use these tips to take small steps and before you know it you’ll be on your way to a new balance that’s just right for you.

Today I'm sharing Tips One and Two. Follow the series every Tuesday and Thursday when I'll continue to share my top tips along with some free printable worksheets to help you make the most of changes in your career and life.

Tip One: Let go.

Easier said than done, but so essential. When you let go of the old you make room for the new. Recognize that a chapter in your life has ended. If it feels like a loss, mourn it, but ultimately make peace and let go. If you’re having trouble doing so you may want to seek out support from a qualified counsellor.

Many women have a hard time letting go of a past status. Whether we are conscious of it or not we often compare how we’re doing in life to our peers. When we lose a former status and a new one hasn’t yet taken shape this comparison game can overtake our mindset. It’s especially difficult in the era of social media, with all the perfectly curated images of other women’s lives leaving us feeling like we’re missing out.

Rather than letting the fear of missing out on the past dominate your day to day life in the present, embrace the joy of missing out on the old and shift your focus to everything you have to gain from your new situation. There are great opportunities ahead waiting to be discovered!

Tip Two: Understand change.

Know how change works and allow yourself to experience it, rather than resist it.

Change is an external event that takes place in your life and causes an inner transition. Changes are usually accompanied by a shift in your identity.

The birth of a child is an event that brings on the transition of motherhood.

The birth of a child is an event that brings on the transition of motherhood.

Graduation is an event that marks the beginning of a transition to professional life.

Graduation is an event that marks the beginning of a transition to professional life.

My favourite approach to transitions by William Bridges Ph.D. describes it as a personal process with three distinct stages. It goes like this:

  • A change happens in your life. You experience The Ending. It’s a time of loss and letting go of things that had defined your life up until now. You might feel disengaged, disenchanted, or disoriented. In The Ending Stage you experience some degree of identity loss and begin questioning your beliefs, values and how you live your life.

  • Then you reach The Neutral Zone. You know that old roles and beliefs no longer work for you and now you’re in limbo. It sounds scary, but this is actually a really productive time for introspection and reflection, as you reorganize your inner-self and start trying on new behaviours to adjust to the change.

  • Finally you arrive at The New Beginning. This is a time of renewal. Your reflection work led you to a new balance. You’re ready to pursue a new plan – whether it’s a plan for your career, life, or both – and take action.

When you’re facing a change at work or in life remember these three stages. Which one do you find yourself in? Know that in time you will move onto the next stage, until finally you reach a new desired state. Lean into your transition as you steer your way to a new beginning.  

Check back this Thursday for Part Two of the series when I’ll share Tip Three along with a freebie workbook containing an exercise to gain clarity for managing change.

Do you have any strategies you’ve used to navigate changes in your career or life? What transitions have you been through that have turned out to be blessings in disguise?

Make the Most of Change: Part 2

Make the Most of Change: Part 2