Navigating transitions

By Damian Goldvarg

In the same way that spring or autumn starts in the northern and southern hemispheres, we experience transitions in our lives on a regular basis. If we define a transition as a space of change from one state or condition to another, we can appreciate how they impact us and be prepared to embrace it.

Transitions can be related to many different areas of our life, such as work, everyday activities, or relational situations. Are you in a transition from one job to another, or would you like to be? Are you transitioning living in a house or city hoping to move to a place where you want to live? Or would you like to end a romantic, friendly, or working relationship?

There are transitions that we create and others that happen to us, that we cannot control. The seasons change in the same way our boss may change, the human resources person in charge of hiring consultants or coaches, or the economic situation of our country. Many things can change that are not our control.  COVID left many people without work.  The organization or team we work for may need us to add responsibilities to our job that we don´t enjoy.  Or we may be affected by wars and their consequences, as has just happened in Ukraine.

Transitions require us to develop the capacity for flexibility.  COVID-19 forced us to work virtually and we had to transition to work from our offices to our homes.

Currently, many people have to transition back from working virtually to returning to their offices.  A percentage of people would prefer to continue working virtually but do not have that option.

Sometimes these transitions are spaces of relaxation, recreation, reflection and we experience them as opportunities. But other times, transitions can be a source of stress, fear of the unknown, or that the new situation will not be favorable.   This can lead to resentment, distress, or anxiety. In these situations, it is necessary to receive support from our loved ones.

What is the worst possible scenario?  This is a coaching question I like to ask my clients which allows them to demystify some limiting beliefs and develop awareness that the worst that can happen is not so terrible.

Transitions are a pause. For example, when we go from one meeting to another.  If we do not take a space for the transition from one situation to the next, we may not be fully present since we did not give ourselves that transition time required to take our body to this new space and our mind and spirit.   Do you make sure you have breaks between meetings?

What is the best way to navigate a transition? Possibly, the best thing we can do is prepare and be aware of what we are thinking and experiencing about it.  Identify beliefs, feelings, and plan as much as possible to be prepared.  It takes flexibility and courage to take action even in fear of the unknown.  Courage is not the absence of fear but is being scared and acting anyway.

In closing, I would like to ask you if there is something you have to let go of to bring in something new. Is it possible to let go of something to make the transition work? In transitional situations, you may have to let go of the fear of the unknown, of failure, of ridicule.

I invite you to reflect and consider if you may not be paying attention to a transition in which you are involved. Consider how you may answer some of the questions I just presented you.