How to Navigate Smoothly through Lifeís Transitions

How to Navigate Smoothly through Life’s Transitions

Life is full of transitions. In fact, people experience dozens of transitions in their lifetimes, some of which may be easier than others. However, the fact that most human beings are resistant to change, even when we anticipate a positive outcome, means that our efforts to change involve some degree of struggle.

Think about it: our initial entry into the world involved a struggle, with some entrances more difficult than others. The journey from baby through adulthood is fraught with change-related experiences that take the form of physical, mental, and emotional exertion, drama, resistance, fights, and other forms of behavior that are anything but smooth.

The workplace also is replete with transitions – e.g., from individual to employee, employee to manager, employee to unemployed person, individual to business owner, employee or business owner to retiree. Each of these changes requires us to look at things, and do things, from a different perspective. Even when the transitions are experiences we look forward to, such as finally opening our own business or retiring after a satisfying career, they still represent change. Often we make the change process more stressful or laborious than it needs to be. Why? Because we’re human. The good news is that there are things we can do to minimize the struggles we experience during these times of transition, whether we choose them or the changes are foisted upon us.

Whether you are making or contemplating a transition, and especially if it is one that has been imposed on you rather than one you have selected freely, there are approaches you can take to mitigate the struggle from one role to the next. Here are twelve suggestions to help you make your transitions go more smoothly.

Instead of this approach…

…substitute this one

1.

Presume that others are too busy, or unwilling, to support your efforts or help you

1.

Presume others want the best for you and will support and assist you

2.

Take a judgmental approach to your own efforts to change

2.

Expect that you will make mistakes, and be kind to yourself when you do

3.

Avoid challenges by staying within your comfort zone where you feel safe

3.

Learn to become comfortable with discomfort: we grow only when we are outside our comfort zones

4.

View obstacles as roadblocks to achieving your goals

4.

Treat obstacles as opportunities to use your creativity to further your goals

5.

Look for reasons why you WON’T be able to achieve your goal

5.

Focus on HOW you will achieve your goal

6.

Insist on perfection before taking action

6.

Make “success” your standard, not perfection

7.

Refuse all offers of help out of a misplaced sense of pride or independence

7.

Check your ego at the door and allow others to help you

8.

Compare your progress or results with those of others

8.

Compare your progress to the goals you have set for yourself

9.

Take an “all or nothing” approach

9.

Look for the options or alternatives that exist between these two extremes

10.

Make things needlessly complex

10.

Simplify, simplify, simplify

11.

See “the glass” as half empty

11.

See “the glass” as half full

12.

Choose victimhood

12.

Make and take ownership of healthy choices

In short, life’s transitions bring their own challenges. Why add to them unnecessarily? Select one of the above approaches that resonates with you, and give it a try. What have you got to lose, except a more satisfying experience during life’s changes?

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.


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