It has been a very interesting year for our family. Over the past year we have lived in 3 different states, worked for 3 different organizations and have moved from Nashville to Florida to North Carolina. Man, I think I just got tired writing that.
Transitions happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes they are your decisions, other times they are not. Over the course of our career we have always been open to transition and been willing to take a chance and go on adventures. Because of this attitude, and the intensity of the past year of our life, I thought today maybe I would share a few common things that I have learned in making transitions:
- Transitions are not easy – Transitions are not just physical and geographical. There are a lot of emotions in transitions and even good changes need to be processed. Gift yourself the grace of allowing yourself to process all of the feelings you have…good and bad.
- It Takes Time – When you land at a new place it is going to take time to find your rhythm. In my experience it takes about 9-12 months to learn the culture (vibe, language, values, unspoken rules, organizational quarks, etc). It then takes another 9-12 months to regain your confidence. Everything that has been intuitive and what made you awesome in the past has gotten shaky because you are in a learning mode. Now that you have context for where you work you have to regain your confidence so you can be the leader/creative/force you have been in the past. Don’t worry, somewhere around months 18-24 you will get your swagger back. 🙂
- Be flexible – You are at your new place because your new bosses saw something in you and your previous work. Be brave but be flexible. Take your best practices and incorporate them but remember you are part of a big chemistry experiment and flexibility will help you adjust to your new environment.
- Be respectful – Where you are today is lucky to have you…and you are lucky to have them! Honor and respect what has been built and what has gone before you.
- It Won’t EVER be the same – Bad news kids. You won’t recapture the magic of the past. You may capture NEW magic but things will never be the same. For good or bad, everything has changed and you have to adjust. If you focus to much on the past you won’t be present in the new and can’t create the future. Even the past (the last place, team, organization, city) changes so prepare yourself and embrace your NEW TODAY.
- Adjust or be adjusted – It is a motto to live by. You have transitioned and you need to adjust to it or your transition will adjust you. Stay in control of yourself by adjusting to your new environment.
- You get a window – There is a window of grace you will get in your new space. Maximize that window. Identify early wins and execute them well. Find things you can add or enhance immediately that move everyone forward. While you have fresh eyes and perspective take a lot of notes and look for things others have become blind to.
- Learn your team – INVEST in your new team. Your leaders, your teammates, and your direct reports. The more you invest the better.
- Ask questions – LOTS of them. You need to understand expectations. Role profile, what is expected, how things work, what you don’t know you don’t know, how things get done, who does what, when, where, and how.
- Take ownership – You are about to screw up stuff that normally you would not screw up. You are adapting to a new environment. Own your mistakes so that you can be known as a responsible and self aware person. You will get back to being awesome soon but as you make mistakes be proactive in owning those mistakes. Don’t try to hide them. The more you own the more equity you will develop.
- Be kind to yourself – This is hard. REALLY hard. Don’t over react or beat yourself up to much. You are here for a reason and you are going to make a major impact on your new team, organization, city, and culture. You won’t have the impact you left overnight. It took you time to build value in your last place, remember that, and allow the process to be the process.
Even though it feels like everything in your life has changed, and it has, you have not changed that much. You still have the skills, the tool belt, the gifting, the instincts, and leadership abilities. Don’t over react right now…breathe…and keep being awesome. There is a reason you are here and you are about to provide a LOT of value to your new world…keep breathing.