Life Transitions

August 2014 Newsletter

Dr. gloria wright

If we are evolving and growing throughout our lives, we are always in a state of transition. There is a core of who we are that may stay the same, but circumstances and the fabric of our lives change. Novelty is one of the things that keeps us young, healthy and thriving. Stagnation and rigidity is not good for us.

The only constant in life is change.  However, it is not change or transition that upsets us – it is our reaction to it.  Winners manage transition by re-framing negative attitudes and perceptions toward a more positive perspective of possibilities.  The challenge is to learn to be proactive rather than reactive.

I built a course on “Effective Managing Transition” that I taught for 17 years for the Republic of Panama to help in downsizing from 25,000 to 2,500 employees. Some of the people had lived in “The Zone” for three generations. Some of them had never been to the public market. In some ways they had a very insular life. Suddenly they were moving “state side.” Trust me when I say this was a major transition.

The Chinese symbol for change is made up of two characters: crisis and opportunity. It’s opportunity that we want to focus on.

How many of us have lost a job, a home and/or a relationship, and in hindsight we can see the blessings. I’m not minimizing loss, just saying that it can have a silver lining. Focus on gratitude. Pulse positive emotions. Love. Joy. Peace. Hope. When I first learned that the county was taking my home through eminent domain, the first thing I said to the lawyer was that I was looking for silver linings.

The first step seems to be acceptance. It is what it is. Using our energy to change what is can be futile. It doesn’t mean that we like it, only that we don’t have control over the outcome. Acceptance can be the first step toward peace.

Then the door opens for possibilities. What do we want? Start by putting anything and everything (without censoring or limiting) you want on post-it notes. It’s important that you use each note for one thing you know you want. After you have a few, things begin to pop into your mind. It’s as if one idea feeds another. Then see what groups they fall into: home, family, career, spiritual, self-development, fun, etc. Choose one desire and create three action steps you can take to move you closer to getting the desire. And take action.

Another interesting thing begins to happen. As you continue with the action steps, sometimes it turns out that this desire doesn’t hold interest and/or meaning for you. Elimination is a step toward clarity too. Just keep going. Choose another desire, set your action steps and keep moving forward.

Now you can plug in your strengths. How can you use your strengths to move you closer to your desired results? And stay open to what the Universe brings you. If you are too rigid in your pursuit, you can miss some real treasures. Listen to what I call my Geiger counter. When something seemingly appears out of the blue, or in a form you hadn’t imagined, see how it resonates. “Oh, interesting” or “I don’t think so” can guide you toward or away from an idea. Sometimes the Universe brings people into your life that can aid in your pursuit.

Now see if these wants can move you toward a vision. What image pulls you forward? What do you want in your life? It took focus, energy and some hard work before my vision jelled. Sounds simple, but it didn’t come simply, but it did resonate once I wrote it down:  “My vision is living a full, rich and meaningful life.” What’s yours? And remember to believe it can happen. It can.