I’m finally emerging from a big transition and it feels exciting, alive, and a little scary too. I had to go inside this transition tunnel to gather myself, decide what to keep and leave behind from my old life, and prepare to come into a world of new possibilities. In some ways it might have felt easier to stay in the tunnel, but I know that emerging is the only way to get to where I really want to be.
Seven years ago I was the Director of Customer Relationship Marketing for a large e-commerce company. Last year, I was a Life Coach and a single mother finishing a 4-year Masters Degree Program in Chinese Medicine. And today, I’m a Licensed Acupuncturist, running my own Integrative Health Practice, providing Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to clients in the Bay Area and Transformational Life Coaching to clients globally. My life looks completely different than it did just a few years ago, and more like a dream I once had. And, as more of this new life becomes the way I had long imagined it could be, the more doubt creeps in, and the harder it gets in some ways.
Why are transitions so tough? I think it’s because as we move towards a new version of ourselves, we must say goodbye and let go of an older version. There’s a lot of fear that comes with that. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and even ironically, fear of success. It can be exceedingly challenging to make big changes in our lives, in part because along with the blossoming, there is also a loss, a death, a shutting of doors. The old me had to die, and for the new me to survive, I have to continue to believe in myself and where I’m headed so strongly, that I can safely let go of these alternative paths that no longer serve me. Plus, I have to completely let go of these outdated options, so that when times are tough, the powerful allure of the old way of being doesn’t win out and drag me back, erasing years of hard work and progress towards following my heart.
How can you tame a tough transition? There are 3 things have been incredibly helpful for me as I’ve been charting this new path for myself, that I think can be helpful for anyone going through any type of transition.
1. Get clarity. Meditate, go for a walk or just allow yourself to get quiet and connect to your inner wisdom, your true heart’s desire. Once you can envision a new way of being in the world that even in the dream version of it, you know will bring you more joy, fulfillment and authentic alignment to your own truth, never let it go. Set goals, get aligned with your values. Keep the vision near to you, using visual reminders of where you are going and why. If you are having trouble getting clarity, clear out some other clutter in your life. Empty your closets. Get rid of things in your life that weigh you down and don’t bring you joy anymore. (I can recommend a great organizer and an amazing book to help with this!)
2. Notice the fear as it arises, but continue to follow the resonance anyway. You’ll hear your inner critic, your Saboteur, telling you “it’s impossible, you can’t do it, you’ll fail, so just stop trying.” Name it, and then stand up to it strongly: “That’s just fear talking. It’s not true. Stop with the lies!” Thank your Saboteur for it’s efforts to keep you safe, but stay tuned in to the resonance you feel in your body when you imagine your dream life. And keep moving forward towards that. You get to choose which voices in your head you want to believe and align with. Chose wisely.
3. Re-assess and recommit to the path often. Along the way you will need to keep checking in with your inner wisdom. “Am I still on the right path?” If the answer is yes, recommit to yourself that you’re doing it, no matter what. If the answer is, “sort-of,’ then don’t be afraid to question, make adjustments, make a left turn when you were headed right, or pause while you figure out where the resonance lies now. Sometimes just by following our hearts we uncover truths we couldn’t see before, that alter the original vision. It’s not a failure to stop and question, and from a place of trust rather than a place of fear, make improvements to your original vision.
When a voice is telling you to slow down or stop making a change, it can sometimes be tricky to identify whether it’s your inner wisdom or your Saboteur talking. I can usually recognize it as my Saboteur if there is a feeling of fear or scarcity with the warning to slow down, without any creative options offered to consider. This type of admonition brings with it a constricted feeling. Instead, the tone of the Inner Wisdom’s warnings are more creative and open ended, and usually provide some alternate solution to explore. This discernment takes practice, because the closer you get to making the changes you really want in life, the sneakier your Saboteur will become, looking for ever more insidious ways to stop you. Talking it through with a trusted advisor can be helpful here.
Whatever transition you may be facing, whether it’s in your career, relationship, health or family, the most important thing is that you are kind to yourself above all else. Transitions are tough for everyone, but you will get through it. I hope these tips can help you move through your next transition with grace and ease, and that whatever your dream, you achieve it. I’m always here to help you if you need. Reach out!