It's official! On Saturday my youngest daughter graduates from high school! As exciting as this is, it also means that come September, I’m officially an empty nester.
Even though we know that change is a part of life, it can still feel stressful and fraught with anxiety.
Isn't there a way to manage change with awareness and clarity instead?
If you're experiencing change in your life - a big move, new job, relationship or are about to send a kid to college- use these 5 steps, and embrace that transition.
1. Normalize Your Fear
Five years ago I started a new company. My logo and business cards were designed, the website was live, my office was furnished. I distinctly remember standing in my office the day everything felt “official” and I was frozen, scared to death. I was new at being a therapist and coach. I’d transitioned out of education where I was an “expert” but now…
And then I reminded myself that I wasn’t 20. I had 40+ years of life training which counted for a lot! I took a deep breath and jumped in.
It’s completely normal to feel scared when you do something new- whether it’s a move, a budding relationship, job or life transition. Honor those feelings and remember that everyone has them. You are SO not alone!
2. Face Not Knowing
The new always seems alien, hard, daunting. That’s because it’s new! Have you ever noticed that you discount something once it’s done? Like you ran a marathon or rock climbed, no biggie. But that next hurdle, solo camping, or doing a livestream, seems huge and impossible to overcome.
Take a moment to look back on all of your previous successes – graduating from college, launching a business, getting married, taking a trip solo, publishing an article, creating an investment portfolio, having a baby, showing your artwork, competing in a triathlon…
Once those things also seemed hard until you did them.
3. Make A Plan
Establish some intentionality about how you want your “new” to unfold. Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you’re ready for a job transition or have just been offered a new job. Get clear on how you want life to be.
- How much money do you want to earn?
- What’s your schedule look and feel like?
- How about your daily tasks? Invigorating? Inspiring? Challenging?
- What does a great day look and feel like?
- What’s your ideal work-life balance?
Write it down or draw it out then, envision yourself living it.
4. Take Inventory
So often when we find ourselves in a transition, it’s easy to focus on what’s being left behind – a relationship, a house, a stage of life.
Use this in-between time to take inventory.
Celebrate what is passing with a ritual, a ceremony, maybe even a candle lit dinner. Then look ahead to what’s coming. What are the benefits to you of embracing this change? How can it bring more love, happiness and fun into your life?
5. Give Yourself Time
We live in a rush culture where everything has to happen ASAP. As you move through this transition, give yourself time and space to honor it. Sometimes in life it feels like we take two steps forward and one step back. This can be especially true when we’re moving into unknown territory.
Be patient with yourself and allow for the transition to move at it’s own pace.
Sometimes this can feel hard or frustrating but in the end, it’s worth it.
Whether you’re like me and facing an empty nest, or dealing with change in another way, use these 5 tools to help you claim your transition, own it and feel empowered as you walk bravely through it. Your life journey is so worth it – and so are you.