“If I had to do it again I wouldn’t give so much energy to the down cycle,” shared Cindy in an early interview for my book. She had been a researcher/scientist at a well-known bio tech company in CA. Cindy was no shrinking flower. She started out as a PhD candidate who was handpicked while still a student to join a cross-disciplinary team at her future employer. Post graduation she ignored feelings that she wasn’t really happy in what she was doing. When she and her female partner moved to the East Coast for her partner’s job Cindy began to honor her feelings more. “I am surprised at how personal it was. My transition was long, evolving and gradual.”
The down cycle? Have you ever thought of transition in this fashion? What Cindy was referring to were the early stages of transition when negative emotions can run rampant. It is in this the earliest stages of transition that women reexamine their identity, capacity or values. ‘Who am I if I’m not…..’
Perhaps you’ve experienced some of the emotions that go with this territory? Fear. Uncertainty. Failure. Confusion. Vulnerability. Or just being overwhelmed.
Earlier this week I experienced a rare moment of magic as a parent. It was just a moment – a flash. On Tuesday my son and I were in the middle of a tortuous homework session. Maybe you’ve been there? He’d convinced himself that a math problem set was just too complex. He was slowly decoupling himself from the assignment. In this zone he distracts himself. This time he instantly saw a ball across the room that he needed to play with. He was sad. Willing to try anything to divert himself away from that awful feeling. That feeling that ‘he couldn’t….’
Thankfully he hung in. Thanks in no small part to my putting myself between him and the ball.
A second later he figured out the problem. One line. That was all it took. If I hadn’t been sitting right next to him I would have missed it. An instant. What happened in that moment? A smile brightened his face. Deep. Confident. Direct from his soul. Magic.
In hindsight Cindy figured out a little transition magic. Limit our investment in the down cycle. To limit the energy we put into the negative and often early emotions. As I’ve talked with women on this topic I’ve learned that these are the emotions that can lead to conclusions of inadequacy or self-doubt. Just like my son’s conclusion as he was eying that ball.
The negative emotions will always be there at the start. If my experience is representative they will also re-insert themselves periodically throughout the entire process. But stopping the transition cycle before the truly great ones take over is a crime.
Empowerment. Excitement. Exhilaration. Clarity. Openness. Enthusiasm. Hope.
My son almost walked away at the down cycle. If he did he would have concluded that he ‘couldn’t.’ It would have been lasting. Omnipresent. And false.
Thankfully he hung in there. And voila – moments later he was euphoric. A kick to his heels. A smile that put some wind in his sails for next time.
Here’s wishing for you a little perseverance for the rough patches and a good breeze. I’ll leave the rest up to magic….
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