Meaning for Today Series
Transitions as Part One. . .
sixty another transition is in the offering. I prepare, in 2014,
for the next expression in this the life I created. But wait,
for many people I talk to they are amazed at the approach I take
to my life and living it. In my professional career I work with
life transitions which makes it a whole lot easier for me to step
forward without a second thought. Lets explore what I have learned
and share with others about our unfolding life.
the simplest terms, transition is change. Transitions are all
around us, and so it is with our lives. They occur as we make
sense of the next unfolding stage of our life and with the right
person to work with then this process is not speeded up but no
elements are lost only to be regretted when we look back from
our future with the statement 'why didn't I see that at the time'.
transitions can be predictable such as a child leaving for university
, marriage, a new job, or retirement. They can also be unpredictable,
such as the death of a loved one, a traumatic accident, divorce
or addictions. Whatever the degree or intensity of the event,
every transition we experience has one thing in common, it forces
us to make changes to our existing life. A major life transition
literally closes one chapter of our life, and starts a new unfamiliar
one, which can create doubt, fear, anxiety, depression, addictions
and emotional turmoil.
life transitions occur because we find ourselves in a rut. We
may have a feeling that something is wrong, although we can't
quite put our finger on the reasons. Our lives are not going the
way we thought they would and time is passing us by. We feel that
it is time for a change. This can happen at any time and lead
us to self-reflection or an assessment of what we really want
out of life, leading us to look at new goals. This is when we
embark on a journey of new priorities and a sense of a renewed
wait, transitions don't always have to relate to loss or other
negative events. Scholarly works and my own professional experience
over the last thirty years as well as my own transitionary phases
are often born out of achievement and then embracing a realisation
of what we discover we can do.
parents experience of life often projects on to us restrictive
views of the future and then we reach a point in our lives where
we realise that our life outstripped the restrictions placed on
our parents. A transition can be exciting such as in our career
when we step to the next challenge.
transitions, difficult as they can be, afford us the opportunity
to find our true inner direction and engage in the process of
Transitions can include:
of a loved one
Divorce or estrangement
Loss of a job/career
Birth of a child
youve defined your purpose and identified some goals and
projects based on that purpose, most likely youll find that
youll have to move in a very different direction. You may
have been trekking down your current path for years, and now youve
set a whole new direction. Its possible that almost every
part of your life will have to change your health habits,
social relationships, work/career, and even your day to day life.
is greatly reduced whenever you turn a corner in life, so the
first thing you can expect when you change directions is that
youll experience a tremendous lack of clarity. Imagine youre
driving a car through a busy city area. You may be able to clearly
see the road for many blocks ahead of you. But if youre
about to make a turn, you may not be able to see more than a few
yards around the corner as you approach it. Your view is blocked
by obstacles, and if its a road youve never been down
before, you wont quite know what to expect. However, once
youve completed most of the turn, you will again be able
to see further down the road in your new direction.
is much the same way. Your ability to see what lies ahead will
be very limited as you shift directions, but as you complete the
turn, clarity will once again return.
experienced this when I shifted my career earlier this year in
2013 from full-time chairman of a medical company to full-time
writing, recording and returning to my speaking career from the
1990's. Before I committed to the transition, I had only a fuzzy
idea of what the new career would be like. No matter how much
planning I did, it was still fuzzy there were simply too
many variables I couldnt predict. I was out of my element.
As I began to transition, almost every week I had to rethink my
plans long-term planning was impossible because I was constantly
learning new things that would corrupt my old plans. I had to
live one day at a time through much of it. But after a few months,
I was able to get my bearings and could see the road ahead of
me very clearly. Then I was able to again set long-term goals
you make a big transition in your life, take your time. You dont
have to change every area of your life simultaneously within the
next 30 days. Changing too many things at once can be stressful,
so take steps to manage the stress by keeping some parts of your
life stable as you change others. If you turn a corner too fast,
youll flip your car or spin out of control. But even if
you take the turn gradually, youll still feel a force pulling
you to the side. You have to maintain your grip on the wheel and
keep control as you change directions. Once youve completed
the turn, then you can relax and loosen up a bit your new
momentum will carry you forward.
the past year, I had go through the lengthy and complicated process
of closing an international company, sort out future finances
(along with the side effects of taking on board a new identity
in my fifties) and begin a whole new career. And then theres
all the personal development work I did, which caused me to experience
many personal changes during this time, including changes in long-term
the amount and degree of change if I would have tried to do it
all at once it would have been overwhelming. But by splitting
it up and spreading it out over many months, it became manageable.
Im operating outside my comfort zone in at least one area
of my life (but not all areas), and I find that the more I do
this, the more simultaneous change Im able to tolerate.
Your Environment for Change
easy step you can take in beginning your transition is to prepare
your environment to help reinforce your new goals. Most likely
your environment reflects your current identity, so if you want
to change your identity, you can start by changing your environment.
For example, one of the first things I did when transitioning
from being chairman of a company to writing, recording and speaking
was to reorganise my office. I asked myself, What kind of
office would a professional speaker/writer have, and how would
it be different from that of a company chairman and technical
director? I made a list of changes and then implemented
them quickly. I realised that I would be on the road more travelling
and so I scanned important documents and then to create space
made an additional back up and threw the paperwork away. I even
took all of my CD's and laboriously copied them to the computers
so I had music on the move.
I had a new identity to embrace but initially this created a void
to be filled with the trappings of my new career. Essentially
I had to take on board a new identity. I had to overcome dumbing
down that I was an international author and feel comfortable with
people asking questions or asking me to sign books - the list
did this clearing process earlier this year, and now that void
is filled. My files are full of past seminars which date back
to 1989 along with new reference material. My bookshelf holds
new books on internet conference calls, website design and writing.
I have a shelf with a half-dozen photographs of previous and recent
events along with a picture of an elder tribesman in Africa holding
a copy of my latest book!. So every time I walk into my office,
it reinforces my identity as a speaker/writer.
With Social Resistance
from the things in your environment, you also have to deal with
the people. Many readers have told me that social resistance is
a big problem for them. They make a plan to change their lives,
and then their friends or family talk them out of it.
need to trust your own judgment more than the opinions of others.
Even if you turn out to be wrong, youll learn more about
yourself in the process and will be able to make better decisions
in the future.
people fear change, and your attempt to change your life for the
better is perceived as a threat. Ask yourself which of your friends
will be able to handle the new you once youve completed
the transition? Will you still be able to be friends after the
change? Close, genuine friendships can handle such a transition.
But many casual friendships and associations cannot.
same goes for other relationships. Many relationships do not survive
such a change. But what kind of relationship did you have anyway
if making a change to better your life results in a breakup? It
just means the relationship was based on something impermanent.
Youre better off making the change and seeing if your relationship
is strong enough to handle it than using the relationship as an
excuse for staying put. A good relationship should help you grow,
not hold you back, and theres nothing wrong with temporary
relationships. A breakup is not the end of the world. People do
it every day and live to talk about it.
I transitioned to building a personal transformation business,
a lot of casual friendships were broken. Such people reacted to
my change as if it was a personal affront. I expected this though,
so it didnt slow me down. I went through the same thing
when I left the national health service and then later when I
first started my medical company.
you make a big change in your life, you can expect social resistance
regardless of the nature of the change. Social resistance is ubiquitous
dont take it as a sign that youre doing anything wrong.
Use your own intelligence to figure out if youre on the
right path. No matter how right your decision is, there will be
people to tell you youre wrong and that youre making
a big mistake. Just allow those people to be upset, and be on
your merry way. Dont take it personally. Most of all, dont
argue with them youre just wasting your breath. Focus
on taking action, and let them adjust if they can.
believe the best way to confront social resistance is by counteracting
it with social harmony. Get involved with a new social group that
will mitigate the effects of your old group. Develop new friendships
in harmony with your new self-image. I recommend you do this as
early as possible, before you break off any old relationships
that cant handle the transition. Start spending more time
with your new reference group than your old one. Your new group
will help pull you in the direction you want to go, which will
automatically loosen the bonds with your old group. Youll
naturally enjoy spending more time with people who are encouraging
you and less time with those who are discouraging you.
me this involved joining writing groups through MeetUp and spending
time with my journalist friends here in London. I also now work
with those active in the psychospiritual and a few days ago held
a talk and discussion at The Mystery Chest where like minded people
gathered to talk from a broader perspective. After my talk I felt
aligned and refreshed at so many levels. "Why did I ever
leave this work?" I asked myself later. Over the period of
the last few months, I have built a new social circle starting
with those focusing on psychospiritual elements of life and gradually
branching outward, and my old reference group gradually faded
as I spent less and less time in their midst.
few old friendships were able to endure this transition with me.
Some people that knew me for years were able to accept my new
identity, so we still keep in touch, but the nature of these friendships
has changed. I think the best friendships are those that can stand
the test of time, where the friendship is based more on who you
are than on what you do or what you have.
you consciously undergo a major life transition, be patient with
yourself. When you meet with environmental or social resistance,
take steps to reduce or minimise the resistance instead of struggling
against it. Expect that clarity will be reduced as you turn the
corner, but know that it will return as youre speeding off
in a new direction. Managing a major life transition is a lot
of work, but youll come out the other side in a much better
position. The long-term gain is well-worth the short-term pain.
Stages of Life Transitions
are also clear life transitions which appear at specific points
in our lives and here is another article which tells you all about
each phase from childhood to adolescence through to early life
and midlife. FULL ARTICLE