I’m currently going through some major life change, particularly in my career, and am being forced to make big decisions about my foreseeable future. While I’m happy to have all of these options, I’m really struggling with being in a place of transition. I’ve gone through a lot of big changes in my life, but I’m always happiest when I’m settled into a routine, when I know where I belong, and when I know what my near future looks like.
When I first decided to change my career path, I was so eager to make it happen. But the past few days, I’ve woken up feeling less than enthusiastic about the day. I realized it’s because I’m burnt out of being in transition. Particularly for me, transitions are a time of hard work, of juggling multiple tasks, priorities, and worries. You have to divide your thoughts and efforts into two parts of your life. I’m working tremendously hard to get to the next point in my professional life. I’m hustling to save money for a career switch, scheduling meetings with other professionals in my network, and trying to find time to work on my professional brand and resume. But I still have to take care and close up the part of my life that I’m leaving behind.
Right now, I’m ready for this transition to be over. I’m ready to hit my stride in whatever’s next. But falling into a routine and feeling comfortable may take a while. I have to be realistic in how long transitions can take. It had me asking, “what can I do to ground myself while my life feels so chaotic?” What do I need from myself right now?
Overcoming Major Life Change
What You Need from Yourself
Focus – When you’re juggling so many pieces, trying desperately to keep all the balls in the air, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals or reasons for undergoing such tremendous change. I knew I was suffering from lack of focus when I started getting incredibly frustrated at every little thing and literally felt like throwing tantrums! Not healthy. I stopped and asked myself “why are you doing all of this?” And when the the answers lost their clarity, I knew I lost my focus. Sit down and write out a list of goals and reasons for why you are going through this time of change. Some people embark on change willingly, but not everyone. If you feel it’s out of your control, write a list of positive outcomes that can come from this transition. Bonus! That list can help guide your decision making process throughout the Change.
Patience – Major life transitions aren’t cut and dry, and they rarely have a clear timeline. Patience is an important quality to have when undergoing change. Change rarely happens quickly and even if it does, you still have long-term after effects that take time to adjust to before you find your routine or hit your stride. Try to set realistic expectations and remind yourself that this isn’t forever. That uncomfortable period of struggle that accompanies change? That’s personal growth!
Resiliency – Also known as grit. Change is not easy. Stay determined. Don’t let a few setbacks stop you from making this happen. Remember, you’ll come out of this stronger and better for it.
What You Need From Others
Support – This is the first thing you should not only ask for, but expect from your friends and loved ones! Just having someone you can talk about your struggles and concerns with will make any transition so much easier. If you’re meeting resistance, help them understand where you’re coming from and why you’re excited about this change. Be vocal about it and share your excitement out loud, to remind yourself and others.
Flexibility – One of the best ways your friends and family can show support is by being flexible. When I knew I’d be embarking on a major life change, I was sure to tell everyone I knew (because I wanted accountability and didn’t want to chicken out.) Everyone was happy for me, but what I should have said is was “I will be going through this change over the next couple of months and it will likely drain my emotional resources and physical availability. I might need a little more flexibility from you during this time.” I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had to reschedule, cancel, or arrive late at events because I’m working on undergoing a major career shift right now. As someone who hates to let people down or say no, being a flaky friend was very tough for me. I dreaded cancelling until the last minute, which only made matters worse. If I had just been a little more upfront before, things would have been much less stressful.
Going through a major life change can be tough, but it can be a valuable way to learn and grow as a person. So what do you think? What are some of the major transitions you’ve gone through? What would you add to this list?