Navigating Transition: Four Questions to Ask Yourself as You Move Through Change
I’m currently sitting in the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia where I graduated some 21 years ago. I can’t help but think of major transitions that happen during our lifetime. Leaving college and heading out into the “real world” was certainly a big one for me. Even deciding which college to attend painted a completely different trajectory for my life than if I’d gone with one of my other options.
I’ve been thinking a lot about transition recently. So often I reflect on transition as major life events occur and change takes place. You graduate from high school. You leave home for the first time. You graduate from college. You get married. You have children. You get your first job. Someone you love dies. You find out you have cancer. You get a divorce. You lose your job.
You get the idea.
But lately I’ve thought about how many changes are constantly taking place around me. Little transitions like moving from an anti-acne skin care regimen to an anti-aging one. Or changes that you don’t really think about being major, but gosh, they are. I vividly remember when my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and I drove to Atlanta to attend the meeting with his doctor at Emory. Daddy was sitting on the table. Mom was in a chair. Dad’s urologist was walking us through the surgery benefits, ramifications, side effects and what to expect. I had prepared a list of questions to ask. I was the one interrogating him. How many times have you performed this procedure? What is the success rate if you remove his prostate entirely? What are all the options aside from surgery? How will you know if you’ve gotten all the cancer? I had become the parent. I was the caregiver now. That day is seared in my memory because it was the first time I realized my mother and daddy were going to need my help, instead of the reverse.
More recently, Matt and I have had discussions surrounding our parenting and how, as the boys continue to age, our parenting challenges gets harder. “Bigger children have bigger issues,” I had always heard. The transition from parenting toddlers to parenting pre-teens has been fully realized. It’s my favorite season with the boys to date. I love this stage of life with them, but dear Lord, the issues are SO MUCH MORE INTENSE. Middle school emotions are a whole thing, y’all. And the transition to that happens overnight.
At Choice we are experiencing exponential growth, which is such a gift that I don’t take for granted. My Executive Coach Michele Cushatt met with our team last November and shared with us that “with growth comes pain and that’s not always a bad thing.” Hard decisions, filters and boundaries put in place — it all comes with the territory of growing. For me, the most difficult part comes when it involves people I care deeply about. A client who may have once been a perfect fit for the company, may no longer make sense. Team members change and with a small boutique firm like ours, one staffing move has significant impact.
So as I’m reflecting on change and the different levels of transition that come along your journey, here are four things I’d encourage you to ask yourself:
- Is this transition going to have minimal or significant impact and how do I feel about that?
- What is the best way for me to be kind to myself and to those affected by this transition?
- How can I grow through this change?
- What is the best lesson I can take away from going through this?
For better or worse, transitions are and will be a part of our lives. Yet, it’s how we handle these pivotal moments that really position our future and define our character. Whether things seem to be spinning out of control or you look up one day and your kid is five years older, we can all gain value by being mindful in the transition.
What are the transitions that you are facing right now and how are you tackling them?