Transition is a journey everyone embarks upon
Transition has to be recognised, be seen in order to react to it or plan ahead for it in order to achieve success.
If you take a moment to think about it, we all have experience of some form of transition. Maybe you don’t call it this, perhaps you name it ‘change’, ‘progress’, development, ‘evolution’ even but either way I believe that we can transition consciously or subconsciously.
For example, in my experience I have consciously chosen transitions such as choosing to leave the single life, get married, have children and obviously live with my family where previously I had little responsibility and I only had to worry about myself. That conscious decision to make that transition is life changing and can be quite hard albeit a positive and happy move forward in life.
A subconscious transition experience for me and potentially many of us could be as simple as learning something new, most days without seeking to learn or even realising we have learnt that lesson. OK, sometimes we have a light bulb moment of clarity from that learning experience but more often it is only later at some point that we recall that lesson, that specific piece of data and realise it can now come in handy. Learning new things for me is transition or progress in me being a little better equipped today than I was yesterday. I am sure you may have many more examples of your own that fit the subconscious model! and of course learning can also be a conscious decision too.
Let’s be honest, those 2 examples are positive ones; I also believe we can have negative transition and often enforced transition thrust upon us. The kind of situation where you must amend what you do, how you do it or simply change something just to survive or out of necessity. For me, in my previous company the threat of redundancy hanging over me for almost 18 months and all that goes with that, such as the threats to your livelihood that underpins everything that you are responsible for; the mortgage, the bills and giving your children what they need hangs in the balance. Enforced transition comes from this situation, it comes from the company enforcing the threat upon you whether they are to blame or not they have little choice in the matter but it is an enforced situation non the less.
The element of transition in this case for me was 2 fold, the enforced element of having to work differently in order to streamline the business, cut costs and frankly slim down processes to deliver the bare minimum to survive, often things that go against the company and your own ethos or values.
The second was the forced transition of having the need to seek other employment where under different circumstances I wouldn’t have been engaging in such a search; I was enjoying my work & making a difference to young people’s futures at work. I was seeking new employment while under fairly extreme pressure and with much anxiety and for me this came at a time where I already had the mortgage and bills, one son and another due within weeks! The worry and concern over financial support aspects of my situation and the stress caused to my wife and I reached fairly difficult levels. However, as hard as it was I had to remain positive and just drive, push, be persistent, keep going. Perseverance paid off, it came good literally just at the right time.
A new role was offered, it was a better salary than I had previously but it did involve more travel and more responsibility working within specialist areas that I hadn’t ever encountered. It was going to be different, it was a change, it was certainly a transition but it was also progress for me personally & professionally. It was at this point that the weight was lifted from my shoulders and, apart from the physical transition from one company and office to the other I could finally get off the rollercoaster ride of my previous situation. Finally the enforced transition was over and while I had been forced to seek new employment it was now exciting, a new challenge and a positive transition that I was about to embark upon. However, that fairly quickly subsided as I had the realisation that I was now starring the transition into this new role in the face, it was another transition hurtling at me all the same! The role that perhaps I thought at the time I could do but I didn’t have all the experience and answers for, the role at a large national/global corporate, something I hadn’t experienced before….this was to be a massive uncomfortable change! There was nothing else for it to be honest but to reflect on the task ahead and ‘plan’
I had to prove my capability and worth both to my employer and to myself frankly as that is just how I am made up. So I needed to tackle this new transition sensibly, in a planned and controlled manner. Thus I decided that I must reflect on what changes I must make in order to evolve and successfully transition from my comfortable work life to the new role and company.
Lone reflection is one thing but you have to have enough information in front of you to determine the strongest plan for yourself. To ensure I had this information I dug out the Job Description (by the way, these things are always written to make the job sound really difficult but in reality the roles are rarely as tricky as they sound in these documents!) I had a few calls with my new Manager to ask further questions and to get a feel for expectation. I recalled my notes made from interview and I sat thinking about what was going to be important in the short, medium and long term in this new role.
It’s really surprising how some focussed reflection, discussion over expectation and planning can deliver you clarity and a real confidence in what you’re doing. So for me this time and planning was key to ensuring I gave myself the best fighting chance to successfully transition.
For me the 2 things that are key in terms of transition are Positivity and Planning time. Equally I would urge anyone to share their thoughts with others, whether a family member, friend or even speak to someone at work. Feedback, information sharing and understanding is key to allowing you to plan for success and to remove at least some of the anxiety of your particular transition. Of course you need to remain positive and open to learning and change throughout. Openness and a will to evolve is critical and as the old cliché goes ‘Seeking or asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength’ or words to that effect!
Bringing it back to transition in general, for me I now believe that I am on a long transitional road toward my end goal (I say this because actually my end goal changes frequently as I discover more about myself and what I truly believe in during these transitions, a journey of many small (& sometimes bizarre, unplanned) transitions. I would go as far to say that life from end to end is one huge transition. Understanding yourself and your emotional intelligence can help you develop and progress and if you can consciously recognise each situation of transition at the time you’re faced with it or in it, this will give you the best fighting chance of planning for your success.
I truly believe that listening to and engaging with others, their experience and opinion, more often than not helps me to process my own thoughts further supporting my own situation. I also believe that giving myself time away from the ‘rat race’ of daily life once in a while is important for me to reflect on my transitions and to digest & utilise the shared experiences of others.
That said, reflect a little; what is your view of transition?
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