Four Tips for Transitions
There’s a saying that whenever God closes a door, He opens a window. It’s not particularly a biblical quote, and for those who don’t espouse a theology, maybe it’s not even a phrase you’ve ever heard. However, there is some truth to the idea that when one thing ends, another can begin. Sometimes we transition from one job to another, or one project to another, or one market to another. We transition from something known to something unknown, and that can be a little scary. Experts are looking at the economy right now wondering what’s about to shift. Technologists are looking at technology knowing that things continue to change on a daily basis. Professionals in a wide range of industries are aware that the way we did things yesterday, may not still work for us today, tomorrow, or next year.
Especially this time of year, when we are all saying farewell to our plans for 2019 and hello to the new plans for 2020, we wanted to offer some tips for transitions. So, here are four tips for handling yourself and the situation when it appears that a door is closing and a window is opening. Perhaps it is even more empowering to consider a window to be closing while a door is opening, but that’s up to you.
1. Reflect on what you learned.
When we realize that a door is closing, and a path we thought we were going to continue down is no longer available to us, we should take a moment to reflect. Before the door closes entirely, and before we abandon the experience to distant memory, I invite us to reflect on our learning. Reflect on how we are smarter today than we were when we started on this path. Reflect on what we know today and how that could be applied somewhere else. Reflect on the experiences we’ve had and how they’ve enriched our lives or added to our career experiences. Perhaps now is the time to update your LinkedIn profile and your resume. When we stop and reflect on what we’ve learned, those learnings become solidified and more a part of who we are.
2. Express gratitude.
It is highly likely that you were not alone on the path you are exiting. It is probable that someone else contributed to your success, opened a door for you, encouraged you, or gave you hope. Before the door closes, take a few moments to express gratitude to the people who have supported you on this stage of your journey. Write a handwritten note and drop it in the mail. Send a quick email or a LinkedIn message. The form isn’t the important part – the important part is expressing gratitude. It doesn’t have to be mushy, but a few words of thanks to the individual or individuals who’ve helped you, thanking them for the specific things they did for you can be extremely powerful both for you and for them. Both expressing and receiving gratitude are activities that lift our moods and create positive energy.
3. Give yourself closure.
A women’s networking group that I have been a part of for years just announced that they will be disbanding. This group has supported me and my business over the last several years, and the thought of it no longer being there has brought several emotions.
During these times of transition, it’s okay to feel sad or get a little teary-eyed. Remember, if it was important to you, there will be loss and some discomfort, if not pain, in its ending. So, it’s okay to mourn or grieve the loss of something that’s important to you. Brushing that under the carpet or pretending that it didn’t end or somehow mistakenly acting as if you have no feelings on the matter can all be detrimental to your ability to move on and embrace the new.
Give yourself some closure. Go through, however briefly, the grieving process for the thing that is ending. Didn’t get the job? Grieve the loss of what you had hoped would be. Didn’t land the big contract? Grieve the loss of that contract that won’t be. Family member moving out or away? Grieve the loss of the weekly dinners you meant to have. The point is to allow yourself to have some closure. Perhaps that means writing something down in a journal. It might mean holding one last coffee or event. Do something to give yourself closure.
4. Get ready for the new.
If the saying is true – that when one door closes another one opens, then we won’t be ready for it unless we’re watching for it. Our feet need to be ready to move us forward. If you are transitioning from one circumstance to another, take the necessary steps to prepare yourself for things that are to come. Perhaps it’s something physical like cleaning your desk, cleaning out your closet, or recycling old project documents to make room for new things. Perhaps it is clearing up your calendar to make room for the thing that is coming. Maybe it’s reading books or blogs on how to get ready for change, or the particular change that is going to come. Perhaps it is engaging a friend or a colleague to cheer you on as you embrace something new. There is a journey ahead, and you can learn all kinds of things about the journey of transition through our blogs, webinars, and infographic. But tactically and specifically, in those moments when one door closes and another has opened, we need to prepare ourselves so that we are ready to embrace the new.
There you have it. Four simple tips to encourage us when a door has closed, and another has opened. What are your thoughts?