7 steps to move forward from career and life transitions that burn

Life and career transitions carry some of the biggest heartaches of our lives.

Life and career transitions carry some of the biggest heartaches of our lives – relocation, divorce, job loss, aging parents, relationship changes, health challenges, the death of a loved one, friends who move away. We feel lost, rejected, angry, afraid, and abandoned, alone.


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Often the biggest influencer in these situations is not the transition itself but, the story we attach to it. When the story generates from a place of fear we get stuck.

Dispel Your Stuck Story

Define your perception of the situation – the version that you relive over and over in your head. It might be a fear of what will happen in the future. It might be about health, relationships, career, financial security. It might be guilt about the past. You may feel like a victim or alone and that things will never change. What is your stuck story? Who is in it? Who do you blame for where you are? What is the worst possible outcome that could happen? We can dispel what we own. If we can’t face and own the thoughts that chase us down, we just keep running away from them. And then not only are we unhappy but also exhausted.

Define Your Ideal Life

Be realistic. Skip the pat scenarios such as – ‘My family is around me and we are all healthy.’ We all want that. Give specifics of what the day looks like. What is the environment? What is going on in the morning, afternoon, evening? Who is there?

Know what big assumption holds you back

What is the main assumption that halts your progress? That your health will fail? That you’ll never have another job you like? That you aren’t capable? That you aren’t smart, educated, cute, or good enough? That others are better? That you’ll be alone?

Name what your stuck story is costing you

Be precise. Have you wasted time and precious relationships perseverating on assumptions? Has it cost you applying for stretch jobs outside of your area of comfort or meeting the right people? Has it cost you sleep? Friends? Relationships? Money? Freedom?

Identify tradeoffs you will make

Clearly, your stuck story and your ideal day are not in alignment. Something has to come to an end for you to move on. What are you willing to let go of? Are you ready to stop blaming? Can you admit how your situation makes you feel so that you can move on instead of armoring up against a feeling that makes you uncomfortable and then feeling frustrated and alone? Can you accept less than ideal as long as it does not compromise your values? What are you willing to give up?

Understand that nobody owes you anything and life is not fair

If you want to move on it is time to retire your stuck story and more importantly any blame, shame, anger, or fear associated with it. It is up to you to write a new ending to an old tale. This is where power is. Let go of expectations. They kill happiness and progress.

Develop self-compassion

Develop mindful daily practices that build resilience and grow confidence – meditation, physical activity, crafts, reading, prayer, walks. Build your awareness such that when you notice you are doubting yourself, take a deep breath and say, “May I be gentle with myself at this moment.” Self-care helps you get over the fear of rejection. It helps you treat yourself the way you would treat a friend. When someone says “No” to you they don’t give it another thought. Why should you? Self-compassion helps you detach from internalizing rejection.

Build your executive presence in moments of doubt when you need self-compassion with the five steps in this Pause Café Tip Sheet.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be calmer and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at www.MaryLeeGannon.com.


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