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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Bernard

Bridging the Gap Between Transitions

So often in life we are just trying to get from one thing to the next and usually have the mindset "the faster the better." I see this especially in times of transition, planning, and waiting. I think it's very common and almost expected to have these transition and waiting times when moving abroad or returning home. We are looking for what’s next and how to get from “point A” to “point B” the fastest and most efficient way possible. We've got the end goal in mind and just want to get there already!! But what are we missing out on with this mindset? Times of waiting and transition *the in-between parts* are unique opportunities to grow if we would just be willing to see it as a gift. What would change if you viewed it as that- a gift ?

Before we dive too deep into transition and “crossing over the bridge” we first have to start with “point A!”

Point “A”

What is it?

It’s the old familiar, well-established place whatever that may be…a job, position/role, a familiar city or place you’re living in, etc. But when the transition comes there’s a letting go phase. You have to be willing to let go of “point A” before you can be established and find your new normal in the “point B.”

You have to begin to step away from “point A” to move into transition…even though that can be unsettling and unfamiliar- full of ups and downs.

So, what is the “point A” for YOU? What are you letting go of so that you can begin transitioning into a new established “point B?”

Sometimes letting go is beautiful and gladly welcomed. Other times it’s like getting our clenched hands forced to pry open when we don’t want to let go. The fall season is a great reminder of letting go. I know I know…you’ve probably heard this a million times “the trees remind us that there’s beauty in letting go.” But there's truth to that even as cliché as it is!

Before we move on to explore more of crossing the bridge through transition, I want you to pause and reflect on these two questions:

1. What am I letting go of or stepping away from- the “point A” spot?

2. How am I responding to letting go and beginning the transition?

Crossing the Bridge

Alright, now that you know what you’re stepping away from in the familiar “point A” it’s time to dive into the transition…yay??

I know and I have personally experienced that transition is often complex, unsettling, emotionally tiring, and different each time. It feels like you’re crossing over a bridge. You’re no longer in a familiar place that you knew well but you’re also not yet in the new normal or new established place. At times transition honestly feels like a lot of waiting for things to return to “normal” or at least like you have a bit more of consistency. That’s ok to feel unsettled in the midst of transition.

Can I give you a word of encouragement?

It is NORMAL to be feeling that way. Everyone responds differently to transition and it can change even depending on the situation too.

I want to give you three tips that I have found to be helpful to remember in the midst of transition that you can apply no matter what your circumstance is.

1. Give yourself grace and time to adjust

Feeling established and finding a new normal doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and in the process you’ll go through ups and downs. My advice is to know what you NEED and allow yourself to prioritize that.

2. Stay present

Don’t try to escape back to “point A” through memories or run ahead and force “point B” to come. Stay in the present and process what you’re experiencing.

With that, understand your needs versus your wants. I think this is extremely important to acknowledge. For example, maybe you need an extra hour of sleep the first few months of moving abroad. BUT maybe you don’t NEED an additional 2-hour nap…maybe that’s a want and an easy way to escape out of reality and the hardships of transition. My point is- know what you truly need and want so you can recognize the difference and you won’t miss out on how you’re growing during the transition.

3. Keep moving forward- pursue your goals and dreams and serve others

Continue pursuing your goals and future dreams! It’s so helpful to keep moving forward in the midst of transition. Keep on setting attainable goals to see progress.

Also, I strongly encourage you to continue serving others and your local community. Getting our eyes off of ourselves has a tremendous advantage to help us go through transition well. It sounds like an odd tip but I highly recommend to keep serving people even when you’re experiencing a big life adjustment.

Reflection and Preparation

Finally, let’s look at how to continue processing the transition and prepare for the ones to come.

We can all recognize that they are part of life, even into our 90’s we will still be experiencing new transitions. With that in mind, it’s so necessary and important to grow our awareness of how we respond during transitions.

Here are three “R” words to remember when processing past transitions and preparing for the ones to come:

1. Reflect

Practically, what was happening in the past transition? What emotions did you experience?

2. Respond

Think through specific moments and memories that you could have responded better. How could you have responded more maturely? Also, in what ways did you respond really well during the past transition? How can you continue to respond like that in the future?

3. Refocus

Where are you at currently and how can you continue to make steps today and in the near future to accomplish your big long-term goals and dreams?

Transitions give us a very unique opportunity to grow in our own personal development and keep moving towards our dreams! I don’t want us to miss out on it because we are trying to rush ahead to the next thing or shy away because it’s uncomfortable at times.

I’ll end on this; I encourage you to get all you can from times of transition and intentionally look at the opportunities it’s giving you instead of just taking away. Let’s remember to look at the next transition as a gift!!


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