4 Things To Remember When Facing a Difficult Transition

Things were awesome. It was my first "big boy" job with a full-blown, sustainable salary. I was excited about my future and working with a team who encouraged me often made the day-to-day a bit easier. I was able to work from home, talk to customers from all over the world, and even travel to places I hadn't been before. 

It was a fun job and I was excited about building a future with this company. I had a chance to make an impact on some of the loneliest leaders in the world: pastors. 

Fast-forward a bit and things were still good, but I knew there were some changes that were going to be made. What I didn't realize is how much those changes would affect me. I didn't know that my position was considered so dispensable. And I didn't know that my life would look a lot different in a very short amount of time.

There's no way around it...

Transitions are hard. And when transitions are unexpected, they can be crippling. 

However, transitions can lead to clarity, opportunity, and renewed purpose. 

In my situation - I could have stayed in the frustration and defeat and anger, but deep down I knew those weren't the options that would pay my bills or set me up for success in the future. So, I hustled. I stayed up late and woke up early working on my resume, writing, dreaming, planning, and preparing. I had meetings and sent emails and listened to a lot of people I trusted. I worked on new things I believed in and went after passions I had let previously die.

Ultimately,  I knew I had no other options than to pick myself up and make something happen. And while I was disappointed to find myself in this place, I knew opportunity would knock if I put my head down and focused on making sure it knew where to find me. Thankfully, I learned a few lessons in the process...

1) Relationships matter most when you are in need.

I wouldn't have found myself in a better place with a great job and plan for the the future if I had not been surrounded by so many people who believed in me and wanted me to succeed. My friends and mentors rallied around me during my transition. They encouraged me, connected me, reminded me of my strengths, and ultimately helped me find a job I loved. Authentic, connected community is a far better resource than any career-building tool or leadership book. 

2) Courage and patience are better resources than shame and fear.

When bad, difficult, or unexpected things happen to me, my natural instinct is to choose anxiety and fear. And while I hate to admit it, my natural tendency is to attempt to regain control of my life at any and all costs. This typically leaves the people closest to me feeling neglected, hurt, and/or overwhelmed. Don't be like me. Choose the relationships, opportunities, and conversations that talk you off the cliff, remind you of who you actually are, and lead you to the places that allow you to make healthy decisions. 

3) It's ok to be honest about how you feel. 

I know. I get it. You don't like letting people know that you are terribly afraid of not recovering or not being able to find a new job or never getting married or not measuring up to other people's expectations. I can relate. And even though truly opening up may feel weird at first, it could change your life. When you allow other people, namely those closest to you, join in on the story you are writing, you are showing them you have what it takes to move forward. Be open with who you are and where you are regarding your professional, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual (if that is your thing) journey. Doing this enables others to understand where you are, where you want to go next, and how they may be able to help you get there.

4) Listen to people smarter than you.

Now that you've expressed how you feel and you let a few people see you for who you really are, take the time to listen to the older, wiser, more-experienced mentors and leaders you have in your corner. Eventually, let the talking about how you feel and the things you wish were different turn into a chance for a person who believes in you to speak truth and opportunity into you. Hear them. Pay attention. Take notes. Read books. Figure out how what they say can apply to your journey and keep them in the loop during your transition process. 

When your transition comes (and I assure you, it will), be aware of how you handle it. If you feel like giving up, don't. Give yourself the opportunity to bounce back, gain a healthy perspective on the situation at hand, and determine what steps need to be taken in order to succeed. 

Have you ever faced a difficult transition? What's the best you would give someone facing a similar situation?