Transition Eats Change for Breakfast

Transition has been playing below our radar. Sure, we hear talk of transition, but it doesn’t portend tumultuous growth or significant disruption. The word we align with shifts of this nature in our lives is CHANGE. Pure and simple – change.

But have a look at how the Oxford Dictionary defines transition: the process, or a period, of changing from one state or condition to another. Oxford Dictionary.

Transition is so much more than change. Change can be immediate and swift – but transition is a process or a period of change. There is a lead 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 the glimmer of light, too caught up in what is happening in our lives at that time to recognise the opportunities when they emerge.

In our over committed lives, we can forget to stop and reflect on the year past. If we do take the time to go deeper, and examine the year in more detail, 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, but at the time we didn’t give it a thought because we were subsumed in the work at hand.
  • It may be the professional development we didn’t pursue,
  • The career risk we didn’t take or
  • Our 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:

“The Moving Finger Writes, and having Writ, moves on…”

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 ahead, and identifying our key goals. There are traditional goal setting methodologies, and there are emerging models, like the “Bear Hunt” that I have developed and am currently trialling on a beta group to facilitate the experience for those of us who are visual processors.

Once we are clear about our vision and goals, the following process is useful to check our awareness of transition points, past and future.

Draw a twelve-month timeline on a sheet 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 moved way out of my comfort zone and went out on my own in 2015. 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.

And to capitalise, 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.