If everyone is on board and anticipating what’s ahead, “transition” can be a fun word. For most, however, it comes with a sense of loss that precedes the anticipated change. When the transition removes that paycheck from the picture it’s no fun. If your exit from where you used to work didn’t go at ALL as you hoped it takes the wind out of you; it’s hard to imagine walking into an interview with even half the confidence you’d need. The pain of what was can sabotage the very thing you need to present yourself well to a potential employer!
Chapter 12 of Necessary Endings (Dr. Henry Cloud) was probably the most beneficial chapter for me in our move from Nebraska earlier this year. Here are a few paragraphs that may prompt you to pick up a copy of the book at your library:
[pages 212 – 213]
If you have emotional and other energy invested in something, when you pull that out, and let go, you are going to feel it. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so if you make a move to end something you are invested in, there will be an impact. And if you do not deal with those feelings, you are going to have to do some funny things to get around them.
So why does that matter?
Pure and simple: energy and investment. Whatever you are going to build in your life or your business, it is going to come through investment of energy by you and your people in the new fill-in-the-blank. And the only energy you can invest is available energy. To make it available you have to withdraw it from something else. . . the only way to do that is to grieve for what has been invested in before you can move forward . . .
Grief has movement to it. It goes somewhere. It goes forward. Feeling the anger helps get the protest out of the way, and feeling the sadness helps move the letting go further along. It gets people unstuck. . . When you feel grief, you are saying, “I am looking this reality right in the face and dealing with it, the reality that this [whatever this is] is over. Finished. Grief also means I am getting ready for what is next because I am finishing what is over.”
This week I approach the twelve-week mark after leaving my former position. The paragraphs above are real to me. I’ve experienced them and many more I’ll not bore you with. But it’s true; grief’s motion is forward. I’m poised to pick up the next thing and bring it the same level of energy I poured into my previous role. And if you know me in real life, that’s “pretty much everything!” I don’t commit to something unless it’s worth my all.
I have some wise friends in my life and they periodically say things I endeavor to remember. One said to me in our last few days out West, “I believe you’re in for an unwanted but needed rest, Phil, because the next thing you’ll do will call for the same level of energy you have invested here”. I believe she probably chose those words carefully (she’s a thoughtful blogger too). And as I sit here in a quiet study room at the library, anticipating an interview tomorrow for a position I know I would love, I have to smile a bit and say “Janet, I believe you were right.”
Another, who has been a friend for close to 20 years said recently referred to this transition as the beginning of a new series. (He knows I write and has read more of my unfinished thoughts than anyone should have to.) “The slate’s been wiped clean in preparation for a brand new series,” he said, and encouraged me to the new opportunities coming into view. Woah- really? Once I thought about it, though, I saw his point.
That was before.
Here’s today and here comes tomorrow.
The grieving is done. I’ve lots of good friends out West but I don’t grieve their loss because they’re still my friends. What died in late 2013 was the dream of what we might do together, not our friendships.
It’s time for the silence to end.
Time for bright colored shirts and sunnier skies.
Time for laughter. Lots of it – just from a distance now.
This new series is taking shape, and I’m asking God for a few things I think would be wonderful.