Tag Archives: transition

The Wisdom of You

On my way into the supermarket yesterday, I ran into a friend whom I have not seen in eight months.  Masked, we nearly walked right by one another. Once we realized our error, we stood talking six feet apart while others slalomed around us with their carriages. Oddly, we had very little to say. Once we said our good-byes, I went inside feeling funny.  Was it sadness? Disappointment? Or something else?  Strength?  I turned to transition for some needed perspective. Days later, I am still surprised by where this reflection led me….

Safeway, San Francisco, CA

Continue reading

You and This Moment

Have you seen yourself lately? Before you think you opened the wrong blog post, I want to be clear. I am not talking about your physical appearance nor am I am shaming you for the color of your roots or even for the pallor you’ve begun to exhibit after untold hours facilitating Zoom-athons for you and every member of your household. The glimpse I am referring to is something we might not regard in the normal course. It is a version of you that intersects with the pandemic in a unique way, one that reminds me that amidst the devastation of our time there may also be something powerful and profound.

Continue reading

RBGs Invitation

RIP RBG. You left us at an unprecedented moment. We have a global pandemic, an increasingly dour economic outlook, deepening societal unrest, and a stark reminder that democracy is not a spectator sport.

Within all of that, I see you gazing in my direction with your slight frame, your tilted head, and knowing smile. You are imploring me to recognize something under the surface that no obituary or review of your jurisprudence captures. It is an invitation to see something important and to act.

Can you imagine what RBG is imploring us to see?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg courtesy of the LA Times

Continue reading

Smiling from the Heart

Have you seen it? It’s all over the media. I feel as if I have run into it at every turn since August 11, 2020, the day candidate Joe Biden announced his vice presidential running mate, Senator Kamala Harris. It is the smile. The smile I am referring to has nothing to do with physicality or facial features. It is a smile that emanates from deep within and is sought after by nearly all those who explore transition. This type of smile is available only to those who choose to occupy a special space; one where our truest expectations for ourselves are set, met and – dare I say – exceeded.  These smiles emanate from the heart. Have you ever smiled from your heart?

Senator Kamala Harris accepting Democratic Party’s Vice Presidential Nomination 8/19/2020

My research and work in transition over the past decade offers me a unique lens into smiles and our expectations for ourselves.

Transitioning is an incredible transformative process that invites us to lead with our voices. Not the voice overs of others who are quick to tell us what we ‘should’ or ‘could’ do. Our voices are the ones that are fueled by what holds value and meaning to us. These voices are effervescent. True. Unbounded.

These voices are our greatest asset.

Not every voice will take the stage at a national convention. Voice is individual. Your truest voice may be expressed through running a global company or sitting silently next to a friend in mourning. It doesn’t matter what your voice’s expression is. That you express it is non-negotiable.

There is another more fundamental role for our voices that we often overlook. Our voices serve as conduits for our connection to ourselves and to humanity.

As we transition, we shift our voice’s expression and the expectations we set for ourselves. These shifts are different for everyone. Sometimes these shifts scare the life out of us. After all, turning up the volume on our voices can mean moving away from a career that once held great promise for us; or finally addressing the negativity in a relationship that is long past its useful life.

Last week, I interviewed June Angelides for my podcast, Destination Unknown. She reminded me about a step we sometimes miss as our voices shift to become our own.  She said,  “I need to figure out how to let others understand the expanded me.” Those closest to her didn’t recognize some of her shifts. This put something important on her to do list. “I need to help those around me get acquainted with the new me.”

As I watched Kamala Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, take the stage with her, I was reminded of June’s words.  Kamala’s smile told me that those around her had made the journey June described.  Not only were they acquainted with her voice, they celebrated it.

Vice Presidential Candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, and Husband, Doug Emhoff

As this unsettled summer crawls to Labor Day, I hope you take a moment to think about your voice and your ability to smile from the heart.  Can we hear your voice? Are those around you cheering for it?

My wish for your is that you greet your voice with love and curiosity, and that those around you embrace the fullness of who you are.

Stay safe and well.

Linda R. (linda@WomenAndTransition.com)

***************************************************************************

***************************************************************************

Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

Inspired by #goodtrouble

The late Congressman John Lewis, a towering advocate for equality in our nation, invited us all to get into ‘Good Trouble.’ To Lewis #goodtrouble involved three actions; living in concert with our beliefs, confronting people and systems that are misaligned with those beliefs, and working to make our beliefs a reality. The misalignment he fought permeated our society. It expressed itself in efforts to pass landmark Civil Rights legislation and in the insidious ordinary interactions among Americans that happen everyday. He and hosts of others made real progress. Yet, as the past weeks have illustrated, we have so much more work ahead of us.

How does misalignment express itself for you?

Misalignment is front and center in our experience of transition. Those who explore transition often do so because there is misalignment in their lives. It may express itself in the aftermath of a divorce that leaves you questioning who you are both in and out of that relationship. It may express itself in a job loss that leaves you wondering if getting back into that same field is really a way forward.  It may express itself in a pandemic that upends how you think about safety or about the expectations that have always guided your way.

My work in transition and the words of John Lewis both inspire us to address this misalignment in the same fashion. They both compel us to be seen for who we are and heard for what we believe in. #goodtrouble and transition invite us to  follow a path we’ve discussed many times before in this column, to be seen.

Are you willing to be seen for who you are?  Doing so may require you to step outside of the shield of expectations set by another or to come up with your own definition of success. #goodtrouble seems to be asking me if I am ready to be seen for who I am.

Are you?

An exercise for being seen

To make this real, try this exercise. Think for a moment about a piece of you that isn’t visible to others. It can be anything. It can be something tangible like your skill at flower arranging, or something less so, like your optimism or energy. Once you recognize something that isn’t often seen, ask yourself why this absence might be important? The answer to this question may surprise you. Very often it is this answer that helps us gain a better picture of what is in the way of our willingness to be seen. After completing the above steps, define a small activity related to being seen that you could practice this week. Take that step!

Borrowing From Lewis’s Playbook

As we turn up the volume on who we are, we have a decision to make. Will we act in concert with what we find there? For some this will be joining a demonstration. For others this will be sitting quietly next to a friend in need. The specifics of your action is not what matters here, what really counts is that you do something in line with who you are.

So many that I work with are quick to tell me, ‘of course, I’d love to act in concert with who I am – BUT I cannot because of huge piles of resistance I meet along the way.’ Resistance comes in many forms; an unsupportive spouse, a mortgage payment, a parent in failing health, uncertainty and so much more.

I don’t have the magical answer to neutralize your resistance. I do, however, embrace an image that Congressman Lewis put in my head. He said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”  I interpret this simply: find a way to be you in spite of the resistance you meet.

Being seen is the beginning of a wonderful path. Few will line up the confetti guns and music to celebrate your journey down this road. However, it will be the most engaging and inspired path that you’ll ever be on. It is your path. You have to choose to take it. You won’t find your way there without such a choice. That choice starts by listening carefully to the misalignment you encounter and having the confidence to bring your own folding chair.

Godspeed Congressman Lewis.

Linda Rossetti (linda@LindaRossetti.com, remember 2 s’s and 2 t’s!)

***********************************************************************

Interested in talking with others about our unsettled time and how to navigate it successfully?  Join me for Dishing on Disruption every Thursday evening at 7:00 – 7:45 pm eastern.  We talk, we laugh, we explore uncertainty and play with skill-building exercises from my extensive library of tools for transitioning. It is invaluable and free!

Details can be found here. Hope to see you!

Photo by Alin Luna on Unsplash

 

************************************************************************

 

Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

 

Showing Up in Uncertainty

I remember a Harvard Business School professor of mine sharing a story with us one day before class started. “It matters that you show up.” He said. His friend had lost a loved one. My professor went to the house, not really believing that he should be there. In spite of his reservations, he simply showed up. His presence proved to be deeply meaningful to his friend and the family.

This action – showing up – is a great illustration of what is required in this moment of uncertainty and social unrest. You. Can you be you in all your splendor and incompleteness?  Are you showing up?

 

Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash

My professor’s story popped into my mind last night as I was hosting Dishing on Disruption, a weekly interactive ‘transition-inspired’ online event. A participant shared that she was hesitant in this moment, not knowing what to say to friends who inhabited different racial and ethnic spheres than the one she occupied.

Are you ever hesitant to be you?

Transition says a lot about this. It is a process that asks us to show up. To engage more and more of who we are in what we choose to do. While that sounds simple on the page, it is challenging to execute.

Here’s why: When we enter adulthood, we rely on external influences to set our definitions and expectations for who we are.  Our families, our communities, our religious affiliations, the schools we attend, our occupation, and so much more coalesce to form these external influences.  Together they erect a wall between you and their expectations and definitions for you.

Transition invites us to disassemble that wall piece-by-piece.  It is a process. A woman whom I interviewed recently for my 2nd book described the process as, “chaotic, lonely, surprising and adventurous.”  She went on to describe how transition expressed itself for her,  “It gave me the ability to see myself. Prior to this all happening, the me I saw was other people’s perception of me. What I got to see in all of this was a very different me. It helped me ask the tough questions; ‘What do I want to do? What do I want to be?’ and really listen to my answer for the first time in my life.”

Once upon a time, showing up meant getting out of the car at work and heading through the front door into the office. The mechanics of our days have changed, but our need to show up remains unchallenged.

Are you ready to show up?

My work on transition has given me a steadfast belief: if we are to emerge better from this moment as individuals and as a nation, we all need to show up.

It isn’t easy to show up in this fashion but it is enormously valuable to do so. When I first realized that I needed to show up in a different way, I was overwhelmed by a hard truth. It had been so long since I asked myself a question about what it might mean for me to show up, the answer was not obvious. It took perseverance and possibility to guide me forward as I looked for an answer. The search has turned into a journey of a lifetime; one that expands who I am to include an author, advocate, and advisor who is staunchly rooted in social justice issues.  The journey continues to unfold and to give me great gifts. The greatest one, perhaps, is my connection to myself which in turn allows me to connect with you.

I wish for you the courage to ask yourself questions about how you show up. I also hope that you carry something special in your heart. You see, I firmly believe that the answer to our unrest and to ensuring a brilliant future for Black Americans is present with us now.

All you have to do is show up.

Linda R.  (linda@WomenAndTransition.com)

************************************************************************

If you have another moment, check out my new website here. It offers a one-stop shop for resources on transition for you, your family members or friends who are in or considering transition. Let me know what you think!

************************************************************************

Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

 

Unmasked

Are you wondering what to do now? Like many, I am motivated to act because I believe in a society that not only embraces all of its people but also acts in concert with those ideals. That said, I am struggling with how to act. What should we do to drive sustainable change that is decades – perhaps centuries – overdue? I found an answer in my work on transition that offers a new way of thinking about acting. Ironically, it compels us to remove our masks at the very moment we are being asked to don them.  Are you ready to be unmasked?

Photo by Alin Luna on Unsplash

Continue reading

Join me for Dishing on Disruption

Join me Thursday evenings for Dishing on Disruption, an informal interactive event featuring conversation, a little laughter and an exercise designed to help you navigate this unsettled time. I will pull the exercises from my extensive library of tools created for those wondering ‘how to’ walk forward into the uncertainty of transition.

I look forward to welcoming you Thursdays, 7:00 – 7:45 pm eastern, via Zoom for this free event. Details here.

Linda R. (linda@WomenAndTransition.com)

Signs of Spring

Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

Suspending Expectations

I laughed out loud the other day as I read the NY Times article, Giving In to Letting Go.  The piece was all silliness about ditching beauty routines given that we are all sequestered in our living rooms. High heels, make-up, manicures, hair dye, underwear, accessorizing, and blow dryers…all took it on the chin. There was an important message threaded amidst all this casting off. What do we do when expectations – in whatever form – are suspended?

Photo by Alysa Bajenaru on Unsplash

The article tried to answer that question. There was one woman who couldn’t let go entirely.  She quipped, ‘I still wear my lipstick!’  Another reveled in the freedom away from straightening irons and beauty parlor chairs.  Still another shared that her beauty regime was how she enacted her blackness, a fundamental piece of her identity.

The identity reference was strong. It was like a punch in the nose. What about expectations and who they allow us to be?

Expectations stand at the core of transitioning. A transition starts when we choose to decouple from expectations set for us by others. By families, by communities, by professions, by lovers, by friends. It is a courageous act that isn’t so much a leap but a pivot. We turn away only to turn up the volume on what is uniquely our own. Our own voice. Our own truth. In transitioning, we don’t eschew all that has been. We learn to feather it into our new direction, one fueled by all that we are capable of becoming.  Those who love us cheer at this pivot, many others stand bewildered.

Transition isn’t easy. It includes loss or sadness or grief.  Something. After all, in it we step away from things that held us in place.  We may begin by bending the boundaries of what we always thought was acceptable – like not wearing lipstick or skipping the SPF 50 moisturizer. These early steps may lead to bigger ones. We may reconsider what it means to be successful. What it means to love, or be loved.

You might ask, ‘Who in their right mind would take on all of this?’

That answer is easy.

Those who go there recognize transition’s unparalleled gifts. The gifts start appearing right from the get go. There are improvements in our well-being and positivity; there are contributions to our longevity, there are newly reset thoughts about success.  From my perch, the most extraordinary gift of all is capacity. Transition builds in us the capacity to grow into our fullest self. For this alone, I view it as an essential process in life.  One too few explore.  Transition gives us the currency to see what is in there with us and to celebrate! (Hopi Elder).

See if you can find a moment in the days ahead to recognize how it feels to suspend an expectation.  Is there one part of your life – like a beauty routine – that it emanates from? Wonder what that is telling you.

This pandemic – for all its loss and hardship and devastation – is unknowingly offering us a glimpse at something important. Thanks to it, we can dip our toe into the waters of suspending expectations.

May health, safety and security blanket you and all those around you. And, may you gain confidence from your ability to recognize who is in there with you…and celebrate.

Stay safe and well.   Linda R. (linda@WomenAndTransition.com)

Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

 

Welcoming Enough

Do you have enough?  In my house, this question is playing on a non-stop loop. Enough paper towel? Enough soup? Enough frozen vegetables? Enough pasta? With two teenagers, a four-year-old-puppy named Apollo, and a husband who is an electrical engineer with prepper tendencies, you can imagine how often we’ve discussed enough.

It took me a while to realize that the safety in enough – that my husband continues to seek in the Costco check out line – will never be available there. The lens of transition helped me find it in a different place.  One that may surprise you….

Hopeful signs of spring

First, a little background

Transition has not given me the answer to ‘enough.’ It has, however, taught me a very simple truth; we are all here to grow. Growth is like motherhood and apple pie. Of course, we grow.

But growth is trickier than it appears. True growth, the kind that can deliver exponential value in our lives, requires a willingness to partake. In a word, it requires choice.

When we enter adulthood – at 18 or 22 or later  – we establish our expectations and definition for ourselves based upon inputs that are external to us. Our families. Our religious affiliations. The communities where we live. Where we go to school.  What we choose to do for work or for play. Together these constitute our personal eco-system, a space within which construct who we are.

Social norms encourage us to celebrate this space once we arrive. We are feted. There are accolades.

Life invites us to grow beyond this space – an  invitation that compels us to leave the comfort zone where we’ve come to know ourselves.

When we accept this invitation, we detach from the confines of our earlier identity and replace it with a set of self-defined beliefs.  We renew our expectations and definition for who we are.

It is a shift. A transition. One that is enlivening and expansive and freeing.  Best selling author Julie Cameron described this shift by saying, “We become more able to articulate our own boundaries, dreams and authentic goals. Our personal flexibility increases and our malleability to the whims of others decreases. We experience a heightened sense of autonomy and possibility.”

Our growth – the growth we experience when we shift away from the initial assumptions about who we are – is transformational. Through it we choose to let others see us. All of us. In the fullness of who we are.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t everyone grow?

Sadly, society conditions us to misread invitations to grow, a misperception that can leave unclaimed the incredible potential that resides in each of us.

How does this relate to Enough?

I believe this crisis is letting us glimpse in many individuals the gifts of transformational growth. These gifts are woven throughout our response – in reaching out a helping hand to a neighbor or connecting with a long-silenced friend by phone. Our response seems to be drawing on who we are in new ways.  There is new connection and gratitude and creativity and other traits we often leave hidden in the normal course.

Maybe the unintended consequence of this crisis will be realized in our desire to not defer these essential qualities any longer. If we choose growth, real transformational growth, the gifts available to us and those around us are many and unparalleled, like joy and peace and freedom and hope. Said Cameron of the value of growth,  “the process leads us to acquire and eventually acknowledge our connection to an inner power that has the ability to transform our outer world.”

In the uncertain days ahead, I hope that you recognize that there may be enormous gifts unclaimed by you.  They lie in your willingness to live by the fullness of who you are.

Trust it. Cultivate it. Explore it. Embrace it. It alone can provide true ballast in uncertain times.

May you and yours be safe and well throughout this crisis. May you be reminded of the incredible gifts that you alone possess and that the world cannot live without. Maybe now is the time to recognize that your potential is saying a simple word, enough.

 

Please take one more minute to read my note below about those on the front lines of our crisis. I hope you join me in sending them our thoughts and prayers as we make our way forward together.

Warmest wishes,                                                                                                                Linda R.  (linda@WomenAndTransition.com and @LindaARossetti)

 

*************************************************************************

Thank you to all of the incredible folks on the front lines of this crisis – our healthcare providers, first responders, in-home care providers, store clerks and many others. A special shout out to my brother-in-law, Henry, who is coordinating the COVID-19 response at Elmhurst, one of New York City’s largest public hospitals located in Queens, NY. I am inspired by Henry’s and his staff’s incredible dedication and selflessness as they care for everyone, including the most vulnerable, with dignity and respect.  Henry, you set an incredible standard! May love and good will surround you and those for whom you care.

**************************************************************************

Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.