Rule Number One for transitions


Image via Morguefile


May is here, and I’m hard at work doing my daily post for WordCount’s Blogathon 2012. I’ve decided that May is going to be the Month of Transition here on the blog. Welcome along.


If you’re reading this, you’re either contemplating, going through, or finishing a huge transition in your work. You’ve decided that you want to put your creative talents to good use as a creative entrepreneur.


No matter where you are in a transition, there are four aspects that control any transition, whether it’s work oriented or any other aspect or your life. Today, we’ll look at the first one.


Eventually, you’ll find yourself going back to your old activities:


If you’ve been brought to your transition by circumstances beyond your control (job layoffs, just graduating from college and hot hearing back from even the fast food places), you’re probably going through shock from even being in this blasted transition in the first place. As the shock continues on, you grasp for anything that feels familiar to you.


If you’ve recently been divorced, you might find yourself driving past restaurants and parks that your frequented during your marriage. And lots of things that you hold onto are sensory things, like foods or songs that remind you of who you used to be.


That’s just a natural process of letting go. It doesn’t mean you’re stuck or that you can”t/ won’t ever move on. Even if your decided to make the change yourself, you’re allowed moments of nostalgia. The new is unfamiliar and hard, so give yourself a break if you keep going back to the old.


Even if you totally panic at some point and long to go back to the good old days when you didn’t have to cold call, it’s really okay to have those feelings. Feelings are just feelings, and they’ll only be there temporarily.


Let’s say you do want to give into the desire to run back to the office and a full time paycheck. Spend some time fantasizing how it would be. Think about all the old colleagues you’ll see again, the familiar sounds of the copy machine, the beeps from Outlook, that feeling of being stuck in traffic each weekday, and the feeling of seeing your check direct deposited into your account each month.


Really, it’s okay. If you’re blaming yourself for romanticizing what you’ve lost of given up, it will result in you having one foot in the past and one in the future. And basically no toes in the present. The transition phase—lovingly known as the Neutral Zone of neither here no there—is the place where everyone experiences every feeling and longing that a human being is capable of.


So, if you find yourself gazing wistfully at what was, don’t’ beat yourself up. It doesn’t mean you won’t succeed in your new business. Or that you don’t have what it takes. If you’re meant to make this transition, the feelings will go away. But you’ll be much calmer as you go further in your transition if you surrender to those feelings and keep from feeling guilt for having them.







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