Change is like letting go of one trapeze in the air to catch another one, but right before you grip the bar, the transition begins. In the book, Managing Transitions, by William Bridges, he states “Transition starts with an ending and finishes with a beginning”.
Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about being in my own transition phase. I haven’t quite figured out if I’m completely out of it just yet, but what I know for sure is, I’m beginning to enjoy the process so much more . My story begins with being a very ambitious career oriented young woman, who graduated from college, moved from a suburb in New York to a suburb in Washington DC, got married, started a career, had two sons and basically continued to follow the already pre-determined template of a successful life.
And yes, there were a few detours and bumpy roads along the way, but for the most part, things went as planned. Fast forward, let’s just say, twenty plus years, and here I am, thinking about my “What’s Next” and not only am I thinking about my “What’s Next”, I’m realizing the corporate machine is no longer working for me. I am not feeling fulfilled, I’m not passionate about what I’m doing, and I have no idea what my purpose is supposed to be. So, “what’s next?”, I ask myself. I suddenly realize, I am in the chrysalis stage of my life. You know, the chrysalis that forms that protected shell where the ugly caterpillar goes through this metamorphosis and comes out as a beautiful butterfly. It’s the perfect metaphor for what this experience is like. I find myself wanting my life to be different, but not certain of what that “difference ” looks like, or what will be required of me, while I go out and search. My thoughts are filled with knowing that there must be more joy, more fulfillment, more passion to my everyday life. This just can’t be the end of the yellow brick road. At first, being in the chrysalis is not fun, after all, it is the zone of the unknowm but it turns out to be the beginning of one of the most accelerated forms of self exploration and personal development. So, letting go of the trapeze for me, began with making some bold choices. And ultimately, it also included the realization that I had to stop asking everyone around me for permission to go live my dreams. I had to understand that if I wanted things to be different in my life, that I had to do things differently. Easier said than done, but armed with a high level of curiosity and the confidence in myself to forge ahead, I made some choices and set out on my journey. This past June, I left my corporate gig behind and I became a full-time entrepreneur. This was definitely and by no means an easy decision to make. However, I realized that my time in the chrysalis helped me to gain the clarity that I needed to take the steps necessary to get me closer to arriving at the next big thing for me and moving happily into my new season. Along the way, I developed new relationships, created new partnerships, and found new resources and tools to educate myself and became a personal development junkie. Oh, and most importantly, I hired and connected with a coach. I realized I needed support along the way, and I needed to tease out what I truly wanted from what I thought I needed. I had to move away from the monologue going on in my head, who’s sole mission was to keep me comfortable and at the same time playing small. I spent some time really understanding what made me happy, beyond a bowl of ice cream. And at some point, I realized that it was time for me to not only challenge the old stories in my head, but to let many of them go so I could make room for new experiences and new opportunities. I wanted to connect with people who were having or had a similar experience to mine, and wanted to hear their stories too. I wanted to own my time, and make decisions about the direction of my life. I wanted to remove any perceived and real fences that got in my way from exploring my creative side and using my right brain. I wanted more courage in my life to do the things that brought me joy and simply to live without the template that I was so heavily reliant upon but no longer wanted to follow.
Being in the chrysalis is uncomfortable, and it is filled with a tremendous amount of uncertainty and insecurity. It is that point of your life where you arrive at a crossroad, and it’s time to make a decision about which direction you will take. And, it doesn’t help that your inner critic is doing their best to keep you trapped, right where you are. It is that time, where if you choose to summon up all of your patience, courage and fortitude, and you crush any self-doubt that exists, the rewards waiting on the other side can offer up a life that is driven by purpose, reflects all that you want and has you being really clear about what’s next for you. And once you have that clarity about what you want, you will become unstoppable in the pursuit of getting it and making it happen.
Surviving the chrysalis, gets you through that transition time, and helps you catch the other bar of the trapeze, while you’re still in the air, and safely moves you to the other side. While everyone’s time spent in the chrysalis is different, and everyone’s experience is unique, it can be memorable and worth embracing.
I am a transition coach and I help people move through that challenging time in their life where they are looking for their next season and working on finding the answer to the question of what is next for me.
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