Away and Forward

“Thank you for being honest,” said a woman who introduced herself to me Thursday after a speaking event I did with Women Unlimited.  What struck me in our quick conversation was our agreement – both hers and mine – of how unusual it is for any of us to be so transparent.  She sought me out after a story I told about a moment that I remember vividly. I was sitting in my boss’s staff meeting, an all-day affair attended by the top brass of a Fortune 500. I had worked tirelessly for decades for a seat at this table. This moment is so memorable and bracing because I recall sitting there saying to myself, “you’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve worked this hard…for this?!!? There must be something more.”

 

A late summer day

That moment – one I would later understand as a trigger – started a process that would upend the coda that I had lived by for decades.  There was a shift underway for me, a shift that required me to trust myself to ask bigger questions.

Want to know the shocker? I ignored this message for a long time.  It would take another trigger – this one involving my children and their well-being – to finally get my attention.  Thanks to it, I summoned the courage to walk away and forward.

So many around me at the time – friends, family members, colleagues – wanted to characterize my move as, “away and done,” or “away and back,” or “away and lesser.”

That day in my boss’s staff meeting I didn’t know anything about transition nor did I get the conclusions that hid behind the labels people wanted to ascribe to my decision. I can tell you that those descriptions all felt wrong.

As I marched forward I’d learn that these labels meant only one thing. I’d have to walk the earliest parts of the journey alone.

It took me years of painful sidesteps to get going in earnest.

Had I known a thing or two about transition  early on, I believe that I would have made different and far better decisions.

I didn’t know then that transition is a process even though society tries to convince us that transition is an event.  Do you think I’m mistaken? Ask yourself about the last time you talked with a friend about changing jobs or moving or getting married or divorced.  How would you characterize the desired action?  Was it a single day, an event, or one desired outcome?

Transition isn’t really a job change or divorce or a geographic move or an empty nest.  Instead transition is a process that requires us to re-examine our assumptions about who were are and how we make meaning in the world. It occurs when there is a shift in what holds value and meaning to us. It can occur at any age and in either gender. Transition is never forced or guaranteed even with triggers like the death of a spouse or an empty nest or the birth of a child. Triggers simply deposit us at an opportunity to make a decision.

What decision will you make?

Patricia, a fifty-eight year old woman who participated in my research, summed this all up perfectly. “Transition is saying goodbye to a lot. You’re saying goodbye to what you thought would happen. So, you’ve got to get past what you expected, the expectations. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.”

I thought I knew myself when I sat in that conference room. Now four years into an awesome transition I think of myself and of my connections to others in vastly different ways. I can also now add author, advocate, researcher, speaker and coach to the experiences that make me who I am. Here’s the real kicker.  All of these new descriptors complete me in a way that few things ever have….

I am still in transition thanks to an open mind and a humble heart. I know there will be richness moving forward because I trust the process. I am not sure where this will lead. But I cannot imagine any other choice.

Yes, it is emphatically away and forward. Care to join me?

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Are you interested in helping me in the campaign to raise awareness of and the capacity for transition in women? Here are steps you can take:

  1. Send a friend a Transition Video Link.  The YouTube video on Novofemina’s left margin is a great overview of Transition.  Forward it to someone considering transition!
  2. Give a gift. Next time a friend calls with news of a major life event, send a copy of my 5-star rated book or the audio edition. Readers describe the book as, “A must read for all women.”
  3. Sponsor a discussion. Ask your professional organization or group to host a conversation or workshop on transition. I’d be happy to join you or I can help you find the perfect facilitator.

Thank you for reading.  Take a moment to comment below or tell me what’s on your mind: linda@womenandtransition.com

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Enjoy the arrival of Fall on 9/21!

© 2017 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com.  All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

 

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