If we accept that life is change, then it follows that life is also transition. When people say they don’t like change, I believe it is the transition they don’t like. At least that’s true for me.
Change has a before and after. Caterpillar, butterfly. Seed, flower. Teenager, adult. Transition is the really hard, emotionally and perhaps physically, painful process of becoming or creating something new. It is brutally hard work that makes you wonder if you can do it.
Transition pushes us down a road which we cannot see an end to. Once started we know we can’t stop, nor can we go back, there is only forward. Why do we do it? Because not doing so is even more painful.
In her book, Rising Strong, Brene Brown says, “Experience and success don’t give you easy passage through the middle space of struggle. They only grant you a little grace, a grace that whispers, “This is part of the process. Stay the course.” The middle is messy, but it’s where the magic happens.”
My experiences of transition have taken me from who I was, or who I thought I was, to someplace and someone new. They challenged me at every turn to hold up my sense of self and often my values. To decide what was true and what yet needed sanding down into something else. Sometimes it did, and has, indeed felt that rough, that sore and that relentless.
New parenthood was like that for me. I was one of those parents who looked at my infant and felt no immediate emotional connection (not uncommon according to research, but not widely discussed either.) Who I thought I was and what I could cope with, compounded by a baby with colic, and yes, that messy middle space emerged. It was not all sunshine and roses and I experienced a sanding down from old to new.
Since then, other transitional life events have emerged. All have taken me into the messy middle ground. The place where at times I want to curl into a ball and say enough, enough!
Experience doesn’t give us a hall pass, but it can provide us with at least a nugget of faith that we can move through the current challenge and emerge transformed. I can say, with confidence, that if you are willing to stay open to the pain, look inside and into the uncertainty, you won’t be the same person who began the journey.
Transitions rarely result in fan fare, except for that which you feel inside. Take heart, because that’s where you can continue to expand your life into a greater and wider realm than what you now imagine.
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