Sure, we hear talk of transition, but it doesn’t portend tumultuous growth or significant disruption. Our minds label disruption of this nature as CHANGE. Immediately we have a problem because humans are hardwired to be uncomfortable with change.
The Oxford Dictionary defines transition: “the process, or a period of changing from one state or condition to another”.
Transition is so much more enticing than change, and it holds more promise.
Change can be immediate and swift – but transition is a process or a period of change. There is a lead in period to transition, where a tiny glimmer of light appears on the continuum of our life at a particular point. This is where transition is born – where the opportunity to envisage a different way of being, or doing emerges.
Some of us will follow the light, explore its potential and begin the process of transition. Many others of us will fail to see it’s glimmer, too caught up in what is happening in our lives to recognise the opportunities beckoning.
In our over-committed lives, we can forget to stop and reflect on the year past. If we do take the time to dive deeper, it can be unsettling to see those glimmers of light that faded before we even entertained their possibility.
Perhaps it was the opportunity to step up and take a lead on a project. However at the time we were consumed by the work at hand. It may be the professional development we didn’t pursue, the career risk we didn’t take the new initiative we lacked the confidence to promote.
I’m not suggesting we look back with regret. The wisdom of Omar Khayyam, the 11th century Philosopher, Poet and Astronomer tells us:
Consider the year ahead. Like all those before, will be filled with moments of transition. How do we recognise and capitalise on these opportunities to move towards our goals? We can build a sound platform by allocating time to develop our vision for the year, and identifying our key goals. Once we are clear about our vision and goals, the following process is useful to check our awareness of emerging transitions.
Draw a twelve-month timeline on a sheet of paper. Think about the previous year. If you had established a vision and goals for the year, mark those you achieved along the continuum.
Now mark the opportunities you took across the year for example:
You stepped up,
Moved out of your comfort zone
Took on a new project
Got that promotion
Changed jobs or
Went out on your own
If you are following my posts, you will be aware that I stepped out of my comfort zone in 2015 when I left the safe world of being an employee to establish my own business. My transition is still in play, and daily I am conscious of the power of transition as a career pivot.
As you work through this process, think about any transition points, that, with the gift of hindsight, you can spot in your year. Consider any opportunities you didn’t see until they had passed, or those you recognised, but let go through to the keeper.
Remember, this is not about regrets, but it is about developing a heightened awareness of potential transition points in your environment, and getting clear on what you want to achieve in your life.
Transition points are the entry point to a process or period of transition and when we miss them, we miss the opportunity to change the status quo.
To capitalise on these opportunities, we need to be clear about our personal vision and goals, to regularly scan our environment, and to be proactive when we see that glimmer of light that heralds a transition point.
Careers pivot on successful transitions – and change gets eaten for breakfast.