Transition – Caught Between the No Longer and the Not Yet
Several years ago, a dear friend and colleague introduced me to the term “caught between the no longer and the not yet.” She used it to describe the state of no longer being where we were, but not yet being where we want to be.
Today, I would refer to that as being in transition. Transitions come in various shapes, sizes and timeframes. Transitions occur when change is happening inside, outside, or around individuals and organizations.
Sometimes I think I have lived my life in transition. I’ve accepted job opportunities which required me to learn new things, stretch, and step outside my comfort zone. I’ve relocated multiple times including across the country without my family or a support system. During those times, I made new friends that today, I can’t imagine not having in my life.
I’ve worked around the world with various cultures. I’ve struggled to understand the local language, while simultaneously meeting and appreciating different types of people who enriched my life. Some of those people came for a reason, a season, or a lifetime; all helped me become the person I am today.
Saying we are in transition seems like an understatement.
Consider how our world is different today as compared to a year ago:
- more of us are working from home;
- the majority of shopping is done on-line;
- virtual learning is the norm;
- face-to-face meetings have been replaced with on-line interactions.
The occasional dog, cat or child is seen streaking across the screen–an occurrence that at one time would have mortified professionals–is now understood and accepted.
We have seen businesses retract, begin to slowly expand, and a multitude of opportunities arise out of necessity. We talk about the “new normal” but really have no idea what that may end up looking like.
In fact, I have to challenge my own thinking here… do we ever “end up” anywhere? Or is it more accurate to say that life is a continuous flow of change?
Transition to me is the space “between the no longer and the not yet.” What comes at the end of a transition … yet another transition.
Transitions consist of a beginning, an ending, and what I call the messy middle. Most significant change is the result of hard work. Where does that real work happen … in the messy middle.
One might feel alone on a transition journey. It may be a time when it feels darkest before the dawn, a sinking feeling, or thinking they’ve hit rock bottom.
Heads up. Not only are we not alone, there are countless others who have not only survived but are now thriving as a result of going through a transition. In fact, each of us has already successfully navigated transitions many times in our lives already. Think about your own life.
As someone who is a constant work-in-progress, here are a few tips that have helped me move through transition:
- Don’t take it personal.
Transitions are a fact of life and everyone goes through them. The more you resist a transition, the harder it hits you.
Play the “what if” game. What happens if? What do I do if? Use these insights to help you plan.
- Recognize and act on what you can, then roll with the rest.
- Talk it out.
Talk with a trusted confidante or advisor. Be clear with them about what you need. Advice? A good listener? Someone to talk you off the ledge?
- Check your mindset.
Do you see this transition as a burden or a blessing? You’ll be right either way. Make it a blessing – it’s all in how you look at it.
- Enjoy every step of the journey.
The lessons you are learning are for a reason and are preparing you for something even bigger. Take them all in.
- Allow yourself to learn and grow.
There is a difference between failure, mistakes and learning opportunities. A transition is an opportunity to learn.
- Get quiet and reflect.
- What was I supposed to learn from this experience?
- How can I use what I learned to help myself and others?
How will I incorporate the learning into who I am as a person going forward?
- When I find myself going through another transition, I will remember to… (fill in the blank)