Business Transition = Opportunity

 In Career Transition, Transition Writing

Whether you’re in the midst of a personal or business transition, chances are you’re usually too busy putting out fires, answering emails, rushing here and there to even notice–YOU’RE IN A TRANSITION.

Personal story. This past summer, I’ve been deep in website re-branding and redevelopment, shifting the focus towards mentoring women in transition while a creative team focused on making Women of Wonder’s new mission come alive. (If you haven’t checked out the new website, I hope you will soon!).

So mid-September, I took a few days to pause, to NOT work on tweaking this word or that on the website. Let me tell you about what happened when I did stop to notice the forest beyond the trees.

What happens when we pause during a business transition

First, I became aware that Women of Wonder launched on the Autumnal Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere, the day when daylight hours equal the hours of darkness. That’s when the sun crosses the equator and begins to shine longer for our Southern Hemisphere neighbors as nights lengthen and the darkness returns to us in the north.

As I read more about this autumnal equinox, I discovered that for many people this is a time of looking back, of even mourning that which has finished, while contemplating new beginnings.

I pondered this as I became aware of my Jewish friends celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Hmmm…what was the connection I wondered.

So I decided the alignment of these circumstances required insisted I step away from my computer and spend some time reflecting on just what was ending for me with the former way of doing business in the world, and to consider what was beginning in this new season.

Once more to the lake (with apologies to E.B. White)

On a warm Saturday I drove an hour north to my favorite little beach on Lake Erie. I collected flat, smooth lake rocks and built cairns. I raked my fingers through the sand creating Zen-like circles around the cairns. I dug my toes and hands into the sand discovering a layer of coolness. I meditated, listened to the soft, gentle waves and the screeching gulls. I watched people comb the shoreline for beach glass as others popped beers and pointed their chairs toward the sun.

I painted watercolors using water from the lake, then drizzled sand on the wet creations, creating my own “sand art.” Twigs, beach grasses, stones found their way to the colored pages, creating mixed media images that in turn created titles: Earth, Water, Woman Emerging from Water, Fall.

I sunk in the cool lake waters, feeling buoyed, supported, cleansed. Yet, I had already been soaking in an afternoon rich with sensations of sun, sand, beach chatter, water, horizon, blue sky. In other words, I allowed myself time to play.

The power of re-reading journals in a life or business transition

And then I packed everything up, and headed for home where I began to re-read my business journals from the last six months. Where was I back in February? How did I get to this new place in September? When did I begin to realize that transition work was becoming my life work?

I read outside until it was dark, discovering more synchronicities, along with moments of frustration, mistakes, weird thoughts, all captured on my journal pages. So many words. So many moments of hopelessness countered with moments of joy of meeting new people in new places, of new discoveries, of wild dreams that still don’t make much sense to me.

I continued reading the next day, not as the writer but as a reader, looking for connections, those moments when something new had begun to emerge.

As I read I discovered that I didn’t even mention the word “transition” in my journal until mid-June. Huh. Up until then, on all those pages that came before, I was working it all out.

I was in not only a personal transition, but also a business transition. I knew this, but at the time I really didn’t know this (if this makes sense), really wasn’t aware that this transition had pretty much consumed my life. And now having seen this, I felt more grounded in moving forward into my new beginning as a business owner.

So why do I share this story with you?

For two reasons.

First, sometimes we don’t even realize we are in a state of either a business transition, moving or evolving from one way of being into a new way of being. It kind of sneaks up on us. Especially if what’s happening in our work life is running over into our personal life.

We know we feel ungrounded, unsure about life or what’s to come. We may feel as though we’re in a fog with an arm outstretched so we don’t run in to anything, though we will. We know something is changing, but we don’t yet know what it is. My transition mentor would call this being “In-Between,” where the old business way is ending and the new way hasn’t yet made it’s way known to us yet.

My advice? Listen. Be aware. When your body tells you something is not quite right, spend some time with what’s coming up for you.

Second, if you’re in the thick of chaos, consider taking time to look back before charging forward. It’s worth your time to read back through your personal or business journals, or calendars.

Don’t have a journal to read through? No worries. Ponder these juicy questions…

Where are you in this new season, this new year? What new possibilities might come from an afternoon of looking back, making that time line of events, appointments?  What might emerge from simply engaging in an afternoon of refreshing creative play?  Can you make a timeline of the past, say, six months or when the change began. Where did you begin? What happened? Where are you now? Just a simple timeline map can be enlightening.

Still hesitant? You’ll never know what wisdom can be granted from your life, unless you make and take the time for yourself. So trust me on this. You and your business are worth it.

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