The title above reminds me of the Winston Churchill saying “When you’re going through hell, keep going!” I would say the same of a major life transition. You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and make your way to the other side. It’s not easy. It’s not always linear, there’s a lot of one step forward, two steps back but eventually with patience and love you will get there. Love for yourself, love from your family, friends, coworkers, church members, neighbors, your spouse and kids, your community and others. Accept it all. They mean to help you, it makes them feel good to try to help you and it should make you feel good to know that someone cares about you enough to make the effort. TAKE IT ALL IN!
After loved ones come forward with moral support, casseroles, and well-meaning advice, it’s time to get working on what you can do to get through the transition. A lot of that depends on what kind of transition you are going through. Did you recently loose a job? That process is completely different than the transition of losing a spouse to divorce or death. Are you about to retire after spending 40 years on the corporate world? Are you moving to a new state to start a new life in a completely new place? How about losing your kids to college, marriage or just plain moving on? These are all tough life transitions but you can go from feeling helpless and in despair to excitement about the next chapter in your life.
Every change in life is for the best. We’ve all heard that old saying but it’s true. Even changes that we perceive as negative hold some lesson for our personal growth. Does the term ‘personal growth’ make you want to hide under the covers? Think of it then not as personal growth but as another adventure on life’s path. There is so much to be learned from the big changes that come along at different points in our life and if we go into it with the right attitude they can be extremely positive experiences. No life change is without its challenges but it is in these challenges that we find out what we are really made of, how strong we really are and what we can do when we have to. That doesn’t mean we have to do it alone.
On June 1, 2011 I walked off my high-paying, senior level corporate job complete with security, excellent benefits, a lovely office, an expense account and the respect of my peers to jump into the unknown. And I do mean the completely unknown. I had no idea what I was going to do, where I was going to go or how I was going to make money. I floundered for 15 months basically looking for another job to replace to job I just left…and hated. It made no sense. I might as well just stayed in that job if I was just going to go out and look for the exact same thing. But I panicked. I didn’t have a plan so I went back to what I knew. Only this time, they wouldn’t have me! I couldn’t find a job. I was highly qualified with excellent references and tons of experience. I applied for endless jobs, talked to scores of people, attended networking events ad nauseam to no avail. I could not find another job. And I wasn’t just applying for senior director positions, I was applying for all different levels of jobs.
Soon I became desperate, depressed, anxious and very discouraged. I couldn’t understand why this was so hard. Finally one day a light bulb came on, it was like you see in the movies when the bright white light comes down from heaven and shines on your head and you have a moment of clarity!! I wasn’t meant to go back into the corporate world!!! That’s not where I was headed. I left my job on a whim without much thought…. something in me felt compelled to do so. There was a reason for that. I was meant to do something else; leave the corporate world for a new phase in my life. But what? I had given it no thought whatsoever and there was no burning desire to do a particular thing. So after figuring out that I was knocking at the wrong door for the past 15 months, I started giving lots of thought and attention to what it was I did want to do for the rest of my life. What was phase II going to look like?
After much thought and prayer, I started getting little signs about life coaching. It might have been a book title, something I heard on TV, an overheard conversation, an email or some other little message that kept telling me “What about life coaching?” So I thought about it….ALOT. I realized that my whole life had been leading up to being a life coach. I had been coaching all throughout my corporate career. I had coached on a personal level with friends and family. I had coached in volunteer situations and now I wanted to make it my life’s work.
So I went out and got a coach who could help me navigate this transition while guiding me on how to set up my business, market it effectively and learn how to be the best darn coach possible! I tell you all this because I have been through many significant transitions in my life. Some had to do with corporate upheaval, leaving one job for another, job loss entirely, mergers, and more. But other transitions were more personal and on some levels, more difficult: financial challenges, divorce, loss of a loved one and more.
One thing I can tell you for sure, there is an end to the pain. A storm doesn’t last forever, even in nature. It always passes. So too do life’s transitions. You CAN navigate them with grace and strength, you DO have the ability to get through to the other side and all you need is the confidence and positive attitude to take one step at a time.
call Michele Prinzi at 303-908-5858
or visit me on the web at www.strategiclivinglifecoaching.com