Embracing new ways of thinking and acting requires unusual strength, courage, and curiosity. A friend…
I’ve noticed a recurring issue in my personal life and the lives of my coaching clients, and it’s a fact of life–transition disorientation (change confusion). It can come from naturally occurring experiences, choice, or force.
It happens when you wrap up experiences like:
- A period of schooling and entering a new job.
- A big work project.
- A big school project like a dissertation.
- Achieving career goals such as reaching enough success in your career that you now have discretion about future endeavors.
It happens as a result of life transitions:
- Kids leave the nest.
- Loss of employment.
- Ending a role as primary caregiver for a family member.
- Ending a marriage or relationship through divorce or breakup.
The common characteristic among these experiences is that once the activity largely determined your priorities, activities, and schedule is now ended.
With the activity ending and life continuing, you may:
- Experience an emotional let-down, which is likely grief (numbness, depression, anger, feelings of guilt and shame). The sense of grief is more or less intense, depending on the nature of the transition.
- Feel down, unsure, and at a loss about who you are and what to do now.
- Feel a sense of disconnection from others. “I’m the only one who has experienced this.”
But transition disorientation is hopeful because it can lead to transformation — learning to live in a new way (we’ll address that in a moment).
Because of the mental space, time, and energy now available, you will be surprised by the questions that naturally start floating in your head, such as
- Who am I really? Why am I here?
- Am I worthy? Worthless?
- Have I or the things I’ve done mattered?
- What do I do now? How do I decide?
- What have I missed out on or neglected so far? Is there something I needed to pay more attention to and have not done so?
- Realize the change is not the end; it’s opportunity.
- Recognize that you are not alone. Others have had similar experiences; they just don’t tell you about them. They tell you only about things that place them in a positive light, which can skew your perspective.
- Avoid rushing to a quick fix. Look for stop-gap opportunities, as needed, until you can act on the best opportunity.
- Assess your assumptions and perspectives about the situation and the future. This is best done with someone who will not judge you or try to fix you or the situation, such as a coach or therapist.
- Stay curious about the positive possibilities for your thinking, roles, relationships, and actions. Think big, dream, and avoid ruling anything out early on.
- Stay focused on your values, life purpose, mission, and vision. Make all decisions on this foundation. If you’ve never clarified these, True Course can help you.
- We’ll offer you some free tools for this in our next ezine.
- Experiment with ways of thinking, your roles, relationships, and actions. Discover what is truest and what fits you.
- Be courageous in developing the knowledge and skills you need for the next season. It’s never too late to get the training and education you need.
- Keep your networks active. In times before the transition, they may have gone to sleep, just like your computer does to conserve power. You may not have attended to them because you didn’t need them. They are still there, and you need to activate them.
- Take action on the positive new behaviors, projects, and ways of thinking you’ve discovered.
Transition disorientation can be a scary, confusing, and insecure experience. If you’ve not experienced it yet, you will, and sooner than you think.
True Course supports people as they walk through it to a hopeful, potential-filled future. May we support you as you walk through it? Contact us today.