The Ten Steps That Make Transition Easier

Transition is a time of change and there are ten steps that are really good to be aware of when you know change is happening, whether it is change you have chosen, or you feel it has been foisted upon you.

Traffic Sign "New Life vs. Old Life"Changes show up in all kinds of ways – at work it can be promotion, redundancy, new team members, a move of buildings, new systems and structures, change in management, new regulations.

At home it can be children going to their first school, leaving home or getting married; one partner gets a new job; moving house; a new baby; divorce; moving countries; a change in health of any family member; death of a family member or friend; a change in diet.

Essentially, of course, we are going through changes continually. But they are often so small we only notice the big ones that have more of an impact.

Whatever change is happening for you right now, observing these 10 steps will help you negotiate the change more easily and smoothly.

  1. Take your time. Transitioning from one set of circumstances to another is a time of uncertainty. By definition you are no longer the person you were, and are not yet fully the person you are becoming. This is a process that takes time – so don’t push yourself, and let the process unfold all by itself.
  2. Arrange temporary structures
    Temporary structures will support Step 1. If you can, don’t make hasty decisions regarding your living accommodation, your job, or even your relationships. Creating stability or permanency may be desirable as a way of calming any anxiety that is raising its head, but it’s inappropriate right now. Instead, focus on calming down and releasing the anxiety or other concerns using techniques such as yoga, mindfulness practices, meditation, or creative pastimes.
  3. Don’t act for the sake of action
    When in transition, the mind (which is geared to your survival and safety at all costs) finds it very difficult not to take action. Nonetheless, action is likely to be inappropriate at this point. Take small steps rather than big ones if action is necessary; and discern whether you are acting because you are simply uncomfortable with your situation or whether it is really needed.
  4. Recognise and acknowledge why you are uncomfortable
    Be brutally honest with yourself about what is really going on. Tell the truth (to another person if that makes it easier) about what has happened and why you are in transition. The acknowledgement in itself will help lessen the discomfort.
  5. Take care of yourself in little ways
    Make a list of what little ways you like to take care of yourself. Print it out and pin up where you can easily see it. Make sure you do one of these ways each day.  Examples of ‘little ways’ could be:  candlelit baths, walking in the countryside, a nap during the day, going to bed earlier than usual, special foods, stopping work when you are tired, being creative, having your hair cut, a foot massage, meeting a friend for afternoon tea, listing what you have got in your life, rather than what you haven’t, choosing 5 things you are grateful for in your day at the end of each day, treating yourself to something you wouldn’t normally do.
  6. Explore the other side of change
    Be willing to explore all aspects of change, and its outcomes. Be brave and enter into scenarios (both positive and negative) about what this change may mean for you. Remember that this particular transition (especially if you don’t like it) may turn out to have hidden benefits.
  7. Get someone to talk to
    This means finding someone who will just listen. You don’t need their advice – you do need their non-judgmental, listening ears and heart. The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ has a lot of truth in it.  Professional help is even better – it is deliberately one-sided (ie the professional is supposed to just listen to you, there is no two-way exchange going on) so you can relax into taking all the time you need without feeling guilty or that you ‘should’ be listening to them.
  8. Find out what’s waiting in the wings of your life
    Explore gently what may be round the corner for you. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and peep round the corner or into the wings of your life and imagine the best. Be open to opportunities. You could even decide to say ‘yes’ to whatever is proposed to you for a period of time, and see what happens. Try it for a day and see what happens.
  9. Use this transition as an impetus to a new kind of learning
    Take a step back from your life by writing about what has happened for you in the 3rd person. If writing is not your thing, then create a video or MP3 recording about it. The crucial thing is to use the third person (as in ‘What happened to (your name)….’ as opposed to ‘What happened to me…’) Doing this will enable you to see more clearly what is going on, to discover any common threads in it, or links to similar past events, and to get a new perspective about your life. Embrace the new kind of intelligence that is available to you when in transition.
  10. Recognise and understand that transition has a characteristic shape
    Transition

 

Jane Duncan Rogers helps individuals and groups manage changes better in their lives, so they can make the most of their situation. Visit her sites www.giftedbygrief.com and www.wildwisdom.co.uk for more inspiration, insight and wisdom.

 

What Happens (To Your Work) When You Die?

When you are self-employed, or have a small business, the matter of your own death is a bit more complex than if you are an employee.

DeathofBusinessFor instance, if you are a health practitioner, or a professional who has clients, what would happen to them if you die suddenly?  Or even die less suddenly?

Do you have a plan in place for who would look after your clients, or take them on?  This may not be so important if you are a hairdresser, or a joiner, but if you are in the healing professions, it really does need to be taken care of.

As an ex-counsellor and psychotherapist, I had a supervisor who knew she would be contacted by my clients if I died. This was professional behavior – in this field, the sudden departure of an important person in one’s life can have far-reaching effects.

The same might be true for a professional dealing with the healing of someone’s body. To be left high and dry if your practitioner dies is not pleasant. Knowing that your practitioner had a plan in place should this happen, including a recommended person to contact, will help your client in any transition that might need to happen.

Other points to consider when thinking of your succession plan (as it is known) are:

  • Be clear about your intentions with the business for after you die
  • Do you want the business to continue after you die? If so, how, and with whom at the helm?
  • Who do you want to have access to any business bank accounts?
  • Who gets to pay any employees, and how should they be paid?
  • How will professional bodies be informed?
  • What about leases on premises?
  • What about insuring against yourself dying, if you are the sole proprietor or key to the business?

The more you prepare in advance, the easier it will be for those left behind if you do die.

In Gifted By Grief, I wrote about The List – questions that I asked Philip a few months before he died. Difficult questions, such as ‘what do you want to be buried in?’ and ‘when should I sell the car?’ and ‘what kind of coffin do you want?’ Not to mention making sure I had his passwords and user names.

This, and the purely business-related questions above, are vital to limit the distress for your loved ones. They will be upset enough about you popping your clogs, without having to make decisions that could have been taken beforehand.

The List is something that many people agree is a good idea to do – but not that many actually DO anything about it. Or they do it, but only a bit of it.  If you’re interested in joining a group focused on helping you complete these kind of questions, email me and express your interest.

There’s no doubt it’s easier in the company of others doing the same thing. So email me now and I’ll get back to you asap.

Why Letting Go Is Essential For Your Business Success

SAM_0822It’s a lot easier to fully move on to a next stage in your life or business if you’ve taken the time to acknowledge what’s gone before. Actually, it’s essential because you can’t go forward properly until you’ve fully accepted where you are right now.

So please be kind to yourselves as you reflect on the following questions!

Preparation:

Allocate a time in your diary to attend to this exercise; allow at least an hour or so of uninterrupted time. Get your last year’s diary so you can easily remember what’s happened.

Now answer the questions below.

Reflection:

  1. What did you accomplish in the course of the last year? (this can be huge things you feel inordinately proud of, or just tiny things but in their own way, equally important)
  2. What did you learn in general? What business lessons did you learn?
  3. Did you have any dreams that came true?
  4. Did you have any disappointments? If so, what did you learn from them?
  5. How did you limit yourself? How can you stop that in the future?
  6. Did you have any areas that felt out of balance? (eg how many days did you take off from your work? Or did you need to actually work more, or in a more focused way?)

Your business figures

This is important because it is a factual measure of where you have been, where you are now and therefore helps you in where you want to go. So often I’ve heard people be disappointed in themselves until they look at their figures and see that they have actually made progress.

A: What was your gross profit?  (that’s the total amount of money that came in to your business)

B: What were your total expenses?

C: And your net profit? (that’s A – B)

(Keep these figures, because you want to be able to compare them to next years).

Notice how you feel about this section. If you don’t know your figures, you will probably have to find them out for your tax return anyway, so you might as well do it now. But set up a system if you haven’t already got one, for monitoring this on a month by month basis. It makes it really easy when you come to do these questions!

When you write the figures down, you’re likely to feel ecstatic, pleasantly surprised, disappointed, embarrassed – or maybe some other emotion. Just check in and see how you feel. Remember they are only indicators of what’s been going on factually – they are NOT who you really are, NOT a measure of your self-worth, NOT set in stone. These figures can change, and will as you learn more, apply what you’re learning, and grow within yourself.  Plus, that’s just what your lovely ego thinks – and the real you knows a lot better than that!  So listen to your own wild wisdom if your reaction to your figures is less than you’d like it to be.  In other words – be kind to yourself!

Marketing

  1. Find out, if you don’t already know, what were your top-selling services or products. Set up a system to monitor this if you haven’t already done so.
  2. If you have a mailing list, by how much did it increase in 2014?
  3. If you do social media, what happened there? Did you make strategic decisions to increase or decrease your following? Why?
  4. What marketing actually worked for you? What was your most successful strategy?

Finally – what did you most love about your business in 2014?  And what did you hate the most?  And what are you most grateful for?

Now comes the creative bit – take a few moments to sit silently with the results of your questions.  Listen to your own wild wisdom about how it wants to express your gratitude for what you have received and given this past year.   It may be through colours, like mine; but you might rather sing your gratitude, paint it, sculpt it. You might want to dance it, cook with it, or sew something. Or you might want to knit, craft, or model something. This is your gift to yourself, expressing your own gratitude for everything that has happened this year, including all the things you weren’t so keen on, because they ALL have contributed to who you and your business are now. Wow!

Check out this link to get your 2015 Workbook from Leonie Dawson, so having let go of 2014 you can jump right into the next year in the most creative way possible!

Walking With Non-Knowing As Your Guide

It’s time for another gathering around our women’s fire and I’m feeling very called to bring a subject which I’m learning more about in my own life right now but which is also very present for many women I’m working with.

I’ve been having a rich time in the last few weeks supporting an amazing group of women in my new programme ‘Awaken Your Gift’.

One thing that is a big feature within this group as well as with many of my other clients is they’re being asked by life to face into ‘not-knowing’ and learn how to find their way ‘in the dark’.
Perhaps you are too. Whether you’re clear about your gift and where you’re heading or still discovering what it is, you may find that the practice of ‘not-knowing’ is being firmly planted at the top your to do list!
Not knowing has always been a feature of my life, it’s only my perspective that’s changed. I used to think I was a lot more in control than I ever was. I didn’t look far enough beyond the horizon of what felt safe and familiar to really see the unknown reality out ahead. And of course, the truth is that we don’t ever really know what will happen tomorrow.
But I think learning to navigate our way through the unknown goes way further than just accepting what we don’t yet know.
The fear of not knowing becomes more immediate and intense when we begin to follow our calling and take risks to move outside our comfort zone.  It becomes a practice of handing over control to a higher source of power and trusting that life is going to guide us in ways we can’t yet see (and could often never imagine).
The journey to ‘empowerment’ is a kind of conundrum as I see it. On the one hand we are being asked to take our power back and become the authors of our own lives… and on the other, we’re being asked to surrender it all up and allow the Grace of the Divine to play it’s part.
Hmmm. Interesting paradox. Or is it perhaps just different sides of the same coin?
The latter is what I’ve been exploring. I don’t claim to be an authority on not-knowing. I know others that are far more in the dark about their lives than I feel about mine. I know where I’m sleeping tonight and how I’m going to pay for the groceries next week. I have a full diary for the rest of this year and some core projects emerging for next.
But perhaps that’s why I’d like to share a little more of what’s going on for me right now, because I believe that even when we’re not forced into the night without a torch, we still need to lean consciously into not-knowing. It’s a healthy practice to let go of what we think we know and rest in the open space that allows Grace and inspiration to gift us.

If you feel inspired to join me for this live conversation around our virtual fire, please come on Tuesday 2nd December at 6.30pm GMT to: 

The Women’s Fire: “Walking with ‘not-knowing’ as your guide”

I want to share with you from my own experience:

  • How resistance to ‘not-knowing’, causes stress and too much ‘doing’​
  • How to lean into the fear of ‘not-knowing’ and allow the experience to be empowering​​
  • What it means to surrender more fully to what wants to happen and strengthen your sense of authentic self authorship.
This is an interactive call so please join me live if you can ~ I’d love to hear your experience and questions on this subject! There is also space for some coaching if you need support. Here’s the link to join in:  http://awakeningfeminineleaders.com/womens-fire/

Intend or Plan – what’s the best?

I spent last weekend in a glorious renovated Victorian hunting lodge way up in the uppermost part of Scotland, amongst the heather, lochs and the deer, celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday party. It was a time full of conversation, walking, fine food and wine, and simple, ordinary pleasure.  Here’s a pic:

Tim Slack Appreciating People croppedThe man I’m sitting next to is Tim Slack of Appreciating People . He told me about the idea of Commander’s Intent, a military term used to describe what a successful mission looks like, and it’s not about having a plan and sticking to it.  It’s about having an intention.

Commander’s Intent fully recognizes the chaos, lack of a complete information picture, changes in enemy situation, and other relevant factors that may make a plan either completely or partially obsolete when it is executed. The role of Commander’s Intent is to empower subordinates and guide their initiative and improvisation as they adapt the plan to the changed battlefield environment. Commander’s Intent empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. Commander’s Intent is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.

If we transpose the word ‘successful leader’ instead of commander’s intent, it reads

A successful leader fully recognizes the chaos, lack of a complete information picture, changes in situation, and other relevant factors that may make a plan either completely or partially obsolete when it is executed. The role of a successful leader is to empower others and guide their initiative and improvisation as they adapt the plan to the changed environment. A successful leader empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. A successful leader is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.

You may not recognize yourself as a leader, especially if you are not employing others in your business. But you are – you are the leader of your own organization, even if it is just yourself you are leading. Remember Louise L. Hay, founder of Hay House Publishing, who was 88 just the other day.  She began by self-publishing her ‘Little Blue Book’ way back in the early seventies and running her first workshop for a handful of people in her living room.  She started leading herself, and slowly and steadily, step by step, employed others to help her get her message out to many more people.

So do you have an intention for your business, or do you have a plan?  Perhaps you have neither, of course. The only challenge with neither is that it is very easy to get distracted with tempting opportunities that may lead to you never completing anything, not following up with someone, or ending up wandering around with no sense of accomplishment or purpose. Not that that is bad, of course, but it may be somewhat dissatisfying.

But a plan according to Appreciating People is at the other end of the spectrum, and  too limiting. However, an intention allows for flexibility, clarity of purpose and simplicity.

Which falls in line with the blog post I wrote a while back about ID’s (intention-directions)

Finally, remember Eisenhower’s quote: ‘Plans are nothing, planning is everything’.

So I ask you today – what is your intention for your business over the next three years?  Remember, keep it simple, clear and flexible.

If you can say it one sentence all the better – it can always be padded out. Mine is to enable many more thousands of people to tap into their own Wild Wisdom and use it to affect their businesses and the lives of others in a positive manner – I have various ways I’m currently operating to do that, but in essence that is it.  What’s yours?