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Transition – Part 1: Following someone else’s agenda

Transition is a common theme in our work at Field & Field. People moving from one part of their life to another can take many forms including mid-life identity shifts for both men and women, career changes, redundancy, the arrival of children and retirement to name just a few.

In all the different ways people experience ‘transition’ there are some common issues that people face. This post is part 1 of 4. Each post will look at 4 key problems encountered during transition and what can be done about it to transform ‘transition’ in to a positive experience.

Following someone else’s agenda

Carl Jung is quoted as saying that we live the first of our life for others and the second half is for ourselves. This might be a factor in mid-life transition but we’ve probably all faced the problem of finding ourselves doing something that just doesn’t feel right and wondering why. This is often because we often unthinkingly do what we feel we ‘should’ do, in a way that ‘other’ people do without regard to personal fit.

The reality is that there are many choices to make in life and our first guide to what to do is the people standing next to us. These people will often have our best interests at heart and care deeply about us making the ‘right’ choices. However without a clear idea of our own beliefs, values and personal preferences we can get lost in other people’s idea of what we should be.

When faced with a transition in life, whether imposed or chosen, it’s important to come back to ourselves and consider what fits with our most important values and beliefs.

To explore this theme think of a time you felt your most productive and satisfied, when everything just seemed in flow and effortless despite the fact you were working hard. It doesn’t have to be a work situation but could be any time you were busy and happy at the same time.

As you think about this time ask yourself three questions:

  1. What did you believe to be true? Did you believe that the work was particularly purposeful and appreciated? Did you believe what you were doing was particularly worthwhile or enjoyable and why was that? What did you believe to be important about this activity?
  2. What did you particularly value about this time? What was especially important about this event? What skills, knowledge and other capabilities did you particularly enjoy using and value during this activity.
  3. What was it about ‘how’ you were doing this activity that you found particularly satisfying? Was it with other people or on your own? What was nature the activity and how did you do it? Was it about people or things? Were you working to a plan or was the activity more open-ended?

The answers to these questions start to build up a picture of your values, beliefs and preferred way of working that underlying why we find some activities so much more satisfying and rewarding than others. These values, beliefs and preferences will be unique to you. You might like to choose another time that you particularly enjoyed but was very different in it’s nature. As you ask the questions above again you might surprised how common themes start to emerge.

It’s not until you start to understand these underlying drivers of our behaviour that we can start to make clear choices about the options that surround us and make decisions that will lead to the most rewarding outcomes. And the more clearly you understand what’s important to you the better choices you will make.

In part 2 of this series on Transition we’ll talk about the perennial problem of procrastination… or will we… I’m not quite sure… perhaps we’ll do something else…

If you liked this post you might like:

Find out more about successfully navigating transitions on our NLP Diploma programme.

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