Tips for Transitions in Life/Work

Transitions are hard for us all. How to cope? Here are five tips for transitions in both life and work.

1. Get a temporary structure in place.

A temporary structure is something that supports you while you are changing. It could be a place to live, temporary work, an interim job. Get it into place as soon as possible, so that you can at least relax about that part of your life while you are figuring out what you are going to do with the rest.

2. Anticipate discomfort.

Change is inevitable. Changes are easier to manage with realistic expectations, so try to forget the cultural myth that you are supposed to feel happy all the time and expect to be uncomfortable part of the time. The hard times you are going through now will make your later success all the more delightful.

3. Find what continuity you can.

Even though many things are changing, some others remain the same. It might be helpful to deliberately seek out and practice the elements of continuity in your life. This might be as simple as following your old exercise program, reading the paper in the same place you did before, or making time for old friends.

4. Talk or write about what you are going through.

Ideas that you keep in your head just don’t seem to have the power of the ideas you express. This is a good time to talk to a counselor or confidante, or write in a journal. It can be helpful to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the role or relationship you lost; it can also be helpful to consciously think about what you have learned.

5. Be patient with the process and with yourself.

Transitions are not efficient. They are not under our conscious control—and they can’t be forced to follow a timetable or a predetermined direction. Try to be patient with yourself and with the process of change. Read the wonderful book by William Bridges, Transitions.