Mention transition or new beginnings and most life coaches swoon with delight. Change is fundamental to life, but many of us are fearful of all the word entails. There are also those who excitedly pursue change like a 30-something woman at a Prada sample sale. Which approach resonates for you? Although it is possible to get stuck in a rut as you approach transition and change, and there is no optimal method for living our “best lives,” we must allow our circumstances and “gut” to guide us. There are times when it will be best to enthusiastically follow a new path despite our reservations and fears. And other times when “hanging tough” and persevering will result in the best pay off.
Pause for a moment to consider your own history. Reflect on one of the most significant changes you have made. What was your motivation?
You may say the new path just “felt right,” or that the status quo became too painful.
Then consider the factors that enabled you to change.
Did you have a supportive friend, coach or therapist?
Did you create a list of the pros and cons?
Or did you live the Nike slogan and push yourself to “Just do it!?”
Noticing your natural inclinations and patterns will help you with future transitions.
Spend some time thinking about the results of the transitions you have made. Using the benefit of hindsight, how would you coach yourself to approach a similar situation in the future? Evaluate the outcome from all possible angles. Although the results of our choices may be different from what we envisioned, think about how you made them work for you. Were you led down an unexpected path or to a delightful person?
Also consider your feelings immediately after the change occurred and then at 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or longer. Adjustment time is a factor for most of us, and our perspective may shift over time. In many instances, we may need to remember that the initial discomfort of “changes” does pass. However, the contentment a new start brings may also pass, making us desire something new and exciting again. These feelings are a “normal” part of living; embrace them all! “Good” and “bad” feelings pass through us and many times motivate us to pursue new and delicious experiences.
Change doesn’t have to happen all at once; it can be a gradual process. Learn from your history, and know that no matter what your choice, you will always have the option to make another one or two or three. You will find that, as you move into your new choices or your new life, answers continue to unfold. You won’t be able to plan from step A to outcome Z and isn’t that a wonderful thing! Many people have said to me, “Mary, if I just knew that X is what I was supposed to be doing, then I’d do it,” or “if I was sure that I would get the outcome I want, then I’d make the change.” Wouldn’t we all? We can keep wishing for the impossible, or we can begin to accept the concept that life is meant to be lived, not perfectly designed. New beginnings can be bumpy; change can sometimes be messy; but it is unequivocally part of being joyously and fully alive.