Surviving and Thriving During Major Transitions
Inspired by this week’s Moms Making Six Figures Podcast featuring my dear friend Jennifer Becker who recently went through a major transition with her family leaving all she’d ever known behind in Southern California and moving to a new community in Idaho. Whether you’re going through a major transition, out of choice or due to circumstance, there are ways to navigate the transition not only to survive but to thrive throughout the process. Transitions require us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones in countless ways, but they are also a catalyst for growth.
Whether the last two years has you seeking a transition out of choice or due to circumstance, one thing is abundantly clear—in the midst of upheaval, working mothers are determined to seek out the best for their families. While mothers have always put the needs of their family first, the pandemic has exemplified so many of the values we hold dear and shown a light on where those values were falling in the daily rhythms of our lives. Covid-19 has held an uncomfortable mirror up to us to reflect the reality of our present lives, and it has also offered many of us the opportunity, or the necessity, to want to change that reflection. Whether it’s a physical move from one state to another, a career move for more freedom and flexibility, or a relational move to pursue and prioritize someone who matters, we want you to know that we are here to hold your hand throughout the process, and that we are cheering you on as you embark on what is likely to be one of the most important decisions and turning points in your life.
We compiled the wisdom shared by Jennifer in this week’s episode to help you begin navigating your own potentially tumultuous transition, so that you can do so with some semblance of control and grace, and dare we say hope for what’s to come on the other side of your comfort zone.
Clarify Your Goals and Intentions
In order to embrace the transition and stay the course, it is imperative, that whether the move you’re about to make is one out of choice or one out of circumstance, you have clearly defined your own goals and intentions surrounding this change. If your transition is one of choice, you’ll still need to clearly define and narrow the focus of your why so that you don’t become jaded by the reality of every state/community/job/role/relationship has its downsides alongside its ups.
What is your north star, your non-negotiable? Then evaluate the other benefits to consider as you begin planning your move. For Jennifer and her family, the north star was the kind of education her children would receive. Once that was established, they sought out other benefits like lower taxes to accommodate their careers as entrepreneurs, community, and low crime rates.
If your transition isn’t one of choice it may be difficult to feel like you have any control over the situation, but living in that mindset will only further the challenges ahead. Instead, determine your own north star and non-negotiable within the parameters of the change. If for example, you are relocated for work, and you will be further from family –your north star—how can you budget and plan travel to see them as often as your schedule will allow? Find at least three positives on the other side of this upset and focus your energy and attention on them as you adjust.
Create your list of what you value and involve your family. Start with a base line—what is important to everyone? From there, how can you meet as many of those needs as possible and try to make everyone happy? Whatever your non-negotiables may be, ensure that you are very clear about what you want, and the finding the positives in the midst of challenges—you will get a lot of thoughts and opinions, so you will need to be firmly rooted in what you believe is best for you and your family.
Do Your Homework and Go for a Test Drive
Whether it’s a move across the country or a move from one company to another, the more prepared you are, the more you’ll be able to focus on the positive of this change and the less likely you’ll be to cling to what and who you’re leaving behind. Establish your safety net as much as possible before you uproot your present one—look up local news stories, stalk the social media accounts of your new company, join Facebook groups centered on local interests, and your interests, to connect with new people (and places) before you move.
Ask the questions you wish you’d had the answers to about where you’re currently living or working, and then brace yourself to sift through the responses ranging from the good, the bad, the ugly, and just gossip. Begin planting seeds and forming roots before you make the transition; you’ll have an ‘expert’ on the other side, and you’ll still have your current community championing you. Utilize social media for its ability to connect rather than divide and begin to build your new village.
Particularly if your transition is one that feels more forced than chosen, find a group for yourself and each member of your family to find community within, whether it’s the other kids at the bus stop, a book club, a church, or the neighborhood Facebook page. You’ll need people to help you see the bright side and to give you something to look forward to—the more the merrier.
If you’re able to schedule a visit prior to your move, even if it’s just touring your new office space. Do. Ask to shadow for a day to get a feel of the culture and the ebb and flow of the day, ask if your children can shadow students at their new school. Immerse yourself in a preview experience to regain some control in the seemingly uncontrollable.
The Pursuit of Happiness
It’s going to take time to find a new normal and to find a rhythm that feels like home, but you can make the process smoother by actively pursuing your happiness instead of waiting (and hoping) it will come along. This pursuit is going to look a lot like leaving the safety of your comfort zone in the distance and stepping into discomfort with your eyes on the end goal: normalcy and happiness.
Introduce yourself to neighbors by taking them treats and exchanging information, get intentional about investing in their lives, start those awkward conversations that lead to lifelong friendships: Do you have children? What are their ages? What are their interests? Connect your kids so that you can begin to form a community and connection with their parents.
Jennifer suggests looking for local events on Facebook, EventBrite or local community calendars and trying something you may not have considered but that’s being attended by people who may just become your new stronghold.
Give your pursuit of happiness and your transition a solid year before you make any judgement one way or another. In that time frame you’ll go through all the questions from, “What did I do?” to “Will I fit in?” and “Will I ever find my thing and my people here?” Heidi advises that while it’s hard not to compare your new ‘normal’ to the life you’ve left behind, it’s good to appreciate and recognize what each place, position, or company has to offer and find the gratitude within that.
Include Your Family
Your transition doesn’t affect just you, particularly if it’s a move for everyone in the family. Part of what Jennifer attributes her family’s successful transition to is involving her kids. As you begin to plan and navigate the transition yourself, ask your children and your spouse, what they would like to participate in, what they would like to do as part of this transition, or something they’d like to look up and find out more about. Even if it’s a seemingly insignificant shift for your household, the beginning of a new career or position should involve similar questions to make everyone feel seen, heard, and valued in this decision.
Whatever transition you’re facing, out of choice or out of circumstance be sure to measure what you’re gaining against what you’re losing, immerse yourself and your children in community as quickly as possible and give it the ol’ college try for a year before evaluating the effects. We will be here to help you navigate this uncharted territory, one step at a time.