I experienced a situation in my younger work life – one I remember because it was my ‘Aha Moment’ to realize that transitions choose you, not the other way around and that there are signals to tell you it’s coming. My moment came during times similar to what’s happening now in the economy. I was a struggling worker on the ladder to success and I had much to learn. I didn’t know my life was supposed to change.
Suddenly, without warning (really?), I found myself laid off from my job and career! It was my first time to be ‘rejected’ and I am very fortunate that circumstance happened early in life, because it taught me to see the signals for an upcoming transition. My bosses were sorry and no one wanted to see me go, but I failed to notice these signals.
Transitions are the process of change and they can be challenging. You may think it’s unlikely that a job layoff will go so unrecognized today. But even when we know some things, others aren’t so obvious. Do you recognize what’s changing in your life? What are your signals?
Because transitions (and change) choose you, most people are uncomfortable with them. They feel they are not in control. It doesn’t have to be that way because if you recognize you are in a transition through understanding the circumstances and nuances, you can better prepare yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.
The good thing is that change, or the outcome from it, isn’t always major or negative. Even the loss of a job is a new opportunity, as I discovered myself. It’s when we fail to see the inevitable that we run into trouble. Change only becomes negative when we are surprised, but change, by design, is positive. So, how do you make it so?
It’s important to know there are signals coming to you to help in this transition. Learning to recognize these signals, using your intuition and by asking yourself and others the right questions, will help you along that path to healthy change.
Here are some key signals I noticed about transitions:
- What are people saying? Is there more conversation about a certain topic in your work life or home life? Maybe your significant other keeps repeating that he/she would like (fill in the blank). Or, your coworkers are discussing the new supervisor around the water cooler and you think it won’t affect you. Don’t ignore the conversations and, more importantly, the meaning behind them.
- What’s happening in the world around you? We all get busy, but being a world citizen means noticing the world. News, trends, even pop culture will give you clues. In the recent housing crash in this country there were many investors who divested long before the rest of us knew what was happening. They did their homework and studied the signals.
- What do you FEEL? There are varying ways of being in tune with your own senses and emotions. Being aware of the way you feel physically and emotionally will tell you ‘something’s up’. If you find yourself waking up in the mornings without joy at times, notice why you feel this way. Or, you feel awful in your body and mood every time you have a meeting with ‘so and so’; ask yourself why. Or, you really do want to make that phone call to explore new horizons, but you ignored it in the past; there’s a reason it keeps coming back! In such situations you will get a ‘sense’ something is different and new and that a change, a positive thing, is about to occur!
By focusing on the circumstances around you and in the world, other people’s reactions and your physical and emotional feelings – ones your body and heart are signaling – these nuances will guide you on your transition pathway to a better life.
Question: What signals have you recognized in your life transitions that you can share?