Are you a baby boomer? If you answered "yes" then you are probably staring a life transition in the face. Is that face scary or serene? To some degree, that's up to you.
Life transitions, such as getting married, having a child, changing jobs, dealing with health issues, getting divorced, taking care of aging parents, becoming widowed or becoming an empty-nester are part of all of our lives. Of course, the stakes get really high when we are dealing with two or more of these life changers at once. The real key to successfully navigating life's transitions is being ready for them, and then understanding what is happening while it's happening.
So, right now, today, make a commitment to yourself. Commit to preparing your own Transition Plan.
And then commit to pulling it out, dusting it off, and making the necessary changes on an annual basis.
Where to begin? Start by making a list of every possible transition you can think of, even if you think it will never be relevant to you. Once you have that long list, it will be time to eliminate those that are not relevant to your life at this time (e.g., if you are not married or in a committed relationship, you're not likely to get divorced or become a widow). For each remaining transition, you will need to ask and answer many questions. Here are a few to get you started:
What scares me about this possible transition? Why?
What's the worst thing I can imagine if this happens to me?
What if the opposite were true?
How would my 80-year old self advise me?
Make notes, and plan to come back and look at them in a few days or a few weeks. Building a Transition Plan is not something you can accomplish in one sitting. Once you have fully explored your thoughts and feelings about each of the possible life transitions, you are ready to formulate your plan.
Your Transition Plan should contain the following elements:
Definition of possible transitions
Assessment of fears about the transition
Specific steps that you can take to plan ahead or prepare for the possible transition, and an assessment of the positive that will come from doing so
A timeline for getting these steps accomplished
A commitment and method for keeping your plan up to date
This process probably seems overwhelming. We all know that when we have a mountain to climb, it's pretty easy to talk ourselves into quitting before we even start. After all, we're great at telling ourselves that the distance is too far, or the altitude is too high, or we're not in shape, or we don't have the right supplies. So don't make a mountain out of a mole hill!
Break the task into manageable pieces. Don't try to lose fifty pounds. Try to lose ten pounds five times! When you lose that first ten, it's easy to believe that if you keep going, you can get rid of the next ten. Soon enough, the finish line is in sight. Tackling your Transition Plan works the same way. Start with one transition. Work through it. Make a plan. Then, take some time to reflect before you start on the next one. You'll probably have lots of ideas about how you can make it a more efficient experience.
Often, it is helpful to seek the help of a transition coach
to work with you through this effort. Like any other type of coach, a transition coach is there to guide you to your best performance. Your coach will help you to hold yourself accountable, and will be able to ask those powerful questions that help you get unstuck. Your coach may also be able to point out areas where you need more "practice", or where you need to build your "skills" and can help you figure out how to do that. If you are interested in considering coaching, why not sign up for a complimentary coaching session?
All you need is a telephone and an open mind!
We're all dying of a terminal disease called LIFE! Preparing a Transition Plan is an important way we can ease the journey for ourselves and for those whom we care for and who care about us.