In this brave new world how do you manage change? In 2020 a large number of us have had our lives disrupted in ways we couldn’t previously have imagined. Jobs have been lost, wages have been cut, kids are out of school and we have experienced isolation from our friends and families. Is it any wonder that our confidence is low and our dreams for the future seem further away than ever before? Our lives are simply not where we expected them to be.
Bruce Feiler, the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, has titled his latest book Life Is In The Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age. He reminds us that humans around the globe have experienced major disruptions and “life-quakes.” Although this year has been rather unusual Feiler, through his research for his book, has uncovered a number of pertinent and important findings that can help us to accept change and transition.
First, we must recognize that our life circumstances are different from those of our parents. We are experiencing transitions faster than ever before; one transition every 12-18 months. Rest assured that most of these events we will get through without too much trouble. However, one in ten of these “disruptor” events according to Feiler, will be major “life-quakes” that lead to massive life transitions.
We are no longer living according to old structures. Feiler identifies in the May issue of Psychology Today, the “once-routine idea that our lives pass through a uniform set of stages, phases, or ‘passages,’ with predictable crises on birthdays that end in zero, is hopelessly outdated. The notion that we’ll have only one job, one relationship, one sexuality, one spirituality is dead.” Our lives and our transitions are no longer happening according to plan.
Jennifer lost her job as a restaurant manager when her business closed due to the restrictions attached to the Corona Virus. Like many, Jennifer never expected the shut-down to last so long. Although she has been collecting Employment Insurance benefits, she is eager to get back to work. She has applied for other positions but has been dismayed by the lack of follow through from prospective employers. Doesn’t anyone answer their phone anymore!
As restrictions begin to lift Jennifer is anxious. Her old job is gone. She is questioning whether working with the public is something she wants to do again. Her confidence is at an all time low and she is struggling to make life changing decisions. Why is it that these difficult decisions always seem to present when we are in a stressful situation?
Bruce Feiler identifies that our success in life is linked to our ability to navigate these transitions. In that regard, Jennifer has been doing her own research and has decided to take some on-line courses in Business Administration to increase her marketability. She still feels anxious in an excited, anticipatory sort of way. She is not frightened of her future anymore. She has started to see this an an opportunity to transition into a better version of herself.
William James the philosopher and “Father of American Psychology” may have said it best a century ago: “Life is in the transitions. We can’t ignore these central times of life; we can’t wish or will them away. We have to accept them, name them, mark them, share them, and eventually convert them into fuel for remaking our life stories.”
Bruce Feiler said that we have the ability to develop aptitude as we move through transitions. He encourages us to practise and take heart as we can become better at accepting change and enjoying the transition process. If you would like some support through your transition or “life-quake”, so that you can experience increased success and live a life of your own design, please call to book a 30 minute phone session with Simone Usselman-Tod, Dynamic Visioning Coach, Certified Life Coach & Business Coach and Certified NLP Master Practitioner. Learn more about Dynamic Visioning.