Transitions are a natural part of life. As we make our way through each day, we adapt to minor or ‘micro’ changes by being flexible and making simple decisions in the mood of the moment. What to eat, what to wear, what to say and how to say it are decisions we make with little if any conscious thought. But life-changing ‘macro’ changes call for planning, analysis, opportunity and risk. These major life changes require serious decisions that have long-term effects.
Major life transitions involve changes that we perceive as positive or negative, and can occur in almost any area of our lives. Examples of major transitions include moving to a new city or country, choosing a collage (and a field of study!), starting a family, changing careers, getting married, and many, many more.
If you find yourself approaching navigating a major life change, keep the following tips in mind.
Set and Understand Your Core Priorities. What is most important to you? Answering this question will provide you with a clear vision of your values. Values and beliefs determine priorities, and priorities drive important decisions and behaviors. Knowing and following your priorities will leave you better equipped to make action decisions that are in line with your goals.
Seek the Opportunity in Major Life Change. We’ve all heard the expression that attitude is everything. When we look for opportunities in major transitions – especially when they are not transitions we choose on our own – we can be more open to accepting and embracing change. For example, if your employer relocates you from Kansas to California, reframe the loss of friends and familiar routines left behind. View the situation as an opportunity to advance your career, trade in your winter clothes, make new friends, and take surfing lessons. And watching the sunset on the beach any night you choose is a life opportunity of great value! There’s always risk, anxiety and uncertainty in major change. But there’s equal measure of opportunity as well, if we are open to seeing it.
Reevaluate Your Goals. Navigating a major transition is a great time to re-examine goals. Start by asking how your current goals fit with your new situation. If you are unclear on how to move toward your vision of success, it may be the perfect time to create new goals that spring naturally from the new opportunities that major life changes present.
The choices we make when presented with major life transitions have the ability to reshape our priorities, explore new opportunities, and set new goals. Try to seek out the potential in each new situation, and understand how it can work for you, not against you. Then move forward with renewed purpose in the direction of your stepped-up goals.
John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”