Life Strategies relocated in early September – our offices are now in Chilliwack, BC, a beautiful community nestled in the mountains at the end of the Fraser Valley outside of Vancouver. As with every transition, this move has been a process . . . and the journey continues. Reflecting on the move, I can see the value for all of us in engaging in a similar process as we periodically reposition our lives and careers.
10 Tips for Repositioning Your Lives and Careers
- Take Inventory. What is cluttering up your physical or emotional space but no longer serving a useful purpose? What do you have duplicates of? What’s worn or outdated?
- Repurpose. Once you have identified “stuff” you no longer need, try to find another use for each item. Following the Reduce/Re-use/Recycle principles, cluster everything you propose to discard into boxes (or areas of your storage room or garage, for bigger things). Decide whether the item might be valuable to someone else (put it in the “sell” or “giveaway” pile), might be important to you in the future (put in the “organize” or “file” pile), or simply needs to be discarded (put in the “dump” or “recycling” pile).
- Take action. Although it may feel better to have this “stuff” out of your workspace, don’t stop there. “Out of sight, out of mind” just postpones the problem! For each item in your piles, find a new home. If you have items to sell, decide how to reach a buyer (e.g., post on Craig’s List, contact an auctioneer or an antiques dealer). Decide how much time to invest in disposing of items; if something doesn’t sell, give it away – if you can’t give it away, discard it.
- Seek help. Sometimes it takes others to help get us unstuck or to expedite action. Who can you reach out to for suggestions, leads, introductions, or any of the other practical support you need during a transition?
- Access professionals. Although help from friends and family is important, there are some tasks best left to professionals. In the case of our physical move, it made the process go so much more smoothly to have professionals with the right skills and equipment. In the case of career decision-making, consider reaching out to a career development professional.
- Know yourself. After a lifetime of transitions, I know how I typically react in what Bridges called “the neutral zone.” I could predict that there would be some rough spots and that once we’d navigated through them, I’d enjoy “the new beginning.” Take time to reflect on your own patterns during times of change so that you’re not caught in despair or tempted to abort the change partway through. This reflective process is something else that a career counsellor could help you with.
- Give it time. I always anticipate that things can be done more quickly than is realistic. As you look ahead to your own career/life transitions, allow yourself some wiggle room. Be patient. Recognize that priorities shift (and, on a practical level, that people/resources/courses may not be available on your preferred schedule).
- Be kind to yourself. Transitions take mental and physical energy. Build in time for self-care, rest, nutritious food, and time off from the work of transitioning. Just as you need breaks from your normal work, you need breaks from the endless tasks of preparing for a move or career change. Book in time to re-energize and to simply have fun!
- Invest in the future. The sorting and purging that you engaged in before your transition should help you arrive at your new destination without any unnecessary “baggage” or clutter. However, inevitably, you’ll recognize some gaps and necessary reconfigurations. Budget time and resources to finish the transition well. In career transitions, this may involve registering for training or working with a coach. In physical transitions, it may involve renovations or major purchases that fit your new space.
- Celebrate your new beginning! Take time to mark the end of your transition. Pause to reflect on where you started, the road you’ve travelled, and where you’ve ended up. Thank those who supported you along the way. Do something special to honour the changes you’ve made!