You may be changing careers, going back to school, or going back to an old familiar career that you've been away from for a while. Your transition may be voluntary or involuntary and either provides similar feelings of stress and uncertainty.
Voluntary transition can arise from being bored or dissatisfied from what you are doing, or simply deciding to do something different. Then there are those times when you can't figure out why you are not feeling the joy you think you should be feeling. I remember looking out from the 20th floor at the crystal blue Lake Michigan from my beautiful studio apartment. I had it all, yet I was feeling something amiss. It did not make sense to me why I should be feeling that way, but my gut was sending distinct signals that all was not well. Soon after I enrolled into a Fashion Design program, got married, started my own business in design for an equestrian who was in competition and required special riding apparel.
I do not want to mislead you into thinking that I immediately jumped into going back to school and then getting married once I noticed I was not happy in spite of my circumstances. It is a memory that remains with me to remind me to pay attention when I am not at peace with my circumstances, events or relationships. Because when you do not pay attention, your world can come crashing down. Mine certainly did! It can happen as little bits and pieces try to get your attention. If that does not work, then it gets more dramatic like loss of a job or breaking up of a relationship. Before going back to school, that is what happened to me. Today I have grown much wiser in paying attention to those signals of unrest.
Involuntary transition is caused by circumstances beyond your control. It may be loss of a job, loss of a loved one from dissolution of a relationship or death, or health issues. Even though a situation shows evidence of an ending, there is denial and then shock once it happens. It is a natural tendency to feel hurt and afraid of what the future will be without having the event, person or thing in your life. Despair can be crippling and one can easily sink into taking on the role of victim. I have discovered a much better choice is to be open to new possibilities. This is the moment you get to choose your path in the transition process. Choose to stay stuck in the unhappiness or choose to look at new possibilities.
Reflecting back on when I was gazing out at Lake Michigan, shaking off the dubious feeling regarding my present life situation, the involuntary circumstance that occurred was losing my job as Vice President of Operations for a small advertising business. The company lost a major account with very little in the pipeline, which resulted in staff reduction.
I have done some wild and crazy things in my lifetime and I was about to do another and then another. The job market was what you might call unfavorable at the time. I always loved fashion, so I enrolled in a community college Fashion Design program taught by instructors from the Art Institute of Chicago. Little did I know that there was absolutely no instruction on "how to sew" and I knew very little about attaching sleeves into armholes! This is another article for another time.
I was not long in school before I met my future husband. Again I did not take a stand when my gut was signaling this was not a good idea. Friends and family were telling me I was having the "normal" pre-marriage jitters. During my 5-year marriage I did start a horse riding apparel business for competitive equestrians. Remember what I mentioned above about my sewing abilities? Well there are others who professed to me they were skilled in doing the work required. This did not prove to be the case and finding suitable people to do the work was practically impossible. When I did find someone, she was limited with her time. Today she and I are the best of friends.
In actuality, most of the transitions we make are by choice. Getting downsized wasn't a conscious choice, however, getting an Associates Degree in Fashion Design, getting married, and starting a new business were definitely voluntary transitions. The involuntary transition led me to new directions – some were good and some not so good, but each has wonderful and unforgettable experiences with immeasurable teachings to my authenticity. I have come to trust my intuition at a higher level.
Life is ever evolving and we definitely are part of evolution. Transformation is a vehicle to evolution. It is normal and natural. When making career changes, going back to work, or going back to school, what is it you want to do?
Questions Hold the Answers
- Are you in transition?
- Is the transition voluntary or involuntary?
- What are the possibilities?
- What is it you really want?
- What is your intuition saying?
- What is it you really, really, really want?
- Learn to trust your intuition
- I strongly believe in "stopping" the monkey chatter that rumbles around our head. Put some time aside each day to find a comfortable place to sit. Get in the silence and listen to your breathing. If you are not used to this, you will find that within seconds your monkey chatter is back by default. Notice it, let it go, and just be with your breathing. When you do this you will get in touch with the miracle of the simple act that we take for granted of breathing. This is to bring peace to your mind and body, as well as allow inspiration a place to show up. Build up to five minutes.
- Take 30 minutes to journal your thoughts without censoring. Just keep the pen moving. Julia Cameron in "The Artist's Way" espouses journaling every day before you get up.
Inspiration is everywhere. Be open and receptive without worrying about the "how." Get out of your way and any limited thinking. Remember, Anything is Possible!