No Clear Path Forward

I’ve learned over the past four years that the word, ‘transition,’ is a loaded term. We use it to describe everything from the vital first efforts of a new presidential administration, a.k.a. a transition team, to the heavily scrutinized transition of celeb, actress and athlete Caitlyn Jenner.  What does transition mean for you?

A Path

The transition I live with is a bit different from those above.  Like them, my transition is important, surprising, and impactful. Where it feels different is in its roots. The transition I’ve learned so much about typically occurs when we find ourselves with no clear path forward.

My type of transition is everywhere, all around us.

What happens when you find yourself at such a juncture?

For me, this juncture deposited me in a place where all of a sudden I was willing to ask myself broader questions than ever before.

I was sure that others had traveled this path. I searched for kindred spirits. I was surprised by how few people were willing to admit to this type of doubt or openness.

Everyone – it seemed to me – wanted to convey that they were on track. Heading somewhere. Engaged. Successful.

This disconnect – between my willingness to explore an uncharted path and the unwillingness of so many others to do the same – has gripped my attention for the better part of four years.

This simple disconnect quickly introduced me to transition, a process that occurs when there is a shift in what holds value or meaning to us.  I’ve learned that transition is all about choice. What we choose to do when faced with a trigger. Triggers can be all sorts of things, like an empty nest or a job loss or the birth of another child. In fact, an event or circumstance or a newfound recognition can serve as a trigger.  Triggers do nothing more than asking us to decide how we might act.

For some a trigger leads to a new path. For others a trigger doesn’t lead anywhere at all.

Earlier this week I hosted a focus group to test my workbook – a labor of love which I hope to publish early next year. The results of one exercise underscored what I am saying.

The exercise is a technique that is designed to help people bring their awareness to how they make personal choices. It is simple.  Here it is:

  1. Take a moment to write down on a sheet of paper the major decisions you’ve made in your life. Write your age next to each. Connect them as if you are drawing a timeline. Now go back and for each decision, write down as many paths not taken as you can remember. Sometimes it is hard to remember specifics. Give it a shot.
  2. Once you’ve completed your drawing, read through what you’ve created. Now take one more moment to reflect on what you’ve written. Write down a theme or two about what you observe in looking at your decision map.

When I do this exercise someone always comes up with statements like, “it’s all relationships,” or “it’s all career/education.”

One woman last Monday who was highly educated and incredibly successful said, “I was raised to prioritize education and to reach as high as I could for achievements related to that.  I’m not sure how much further that can take me. I’m at a point where I am saying, ‘what’s next?'”

No clear path is there to direct her next steps…nothing as clear as the one she’s been on.

All sorts of triggers can lead us to an opportunity to make a decision to explore a new path. My work has informed me that to do so is enlivening and positive, nowhere close to the highly risky, dark place I’d imagined.

I hope you meet the uncertainty of an unclear path with grace and with the assurance that your best self will guide you.  Soon, like me, you will believe it is  the only REAL path.

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Are you interested in exploring more resources that could help you make traction on a new path?  Try the Free Women’s Financial Power Summit.   I love the format – one video a day for 20 days! Here is the formal scoop:

Are you ready to claim your Financial Power?  The free Online Women’s Summit Claim Your Financial Power starts October 2. I joined 20+ female experts who share their stories and actionable ideas on personal finance, negotiating, personal branding and advancing in your career. Register For Free here: LINK

Yes, yours truly is one of the 20. Check it out. It was incredibly fun to do.

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

© 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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One response to “No Clear Path Forward

  1. Great post Linda.

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