Have you ever played “Where’s Waldo” or a similar discovery puzzle? You stare at a busy picture stuffed with people, animals, and things designed to look remarkably similar to Waldo. And the object of the game is to find the “real” one.
Well, here’s your brainteaser! Just as you enter menopause, you land your dream assignment, mid-school year, and move your family from a laid-back place with a tropical climate, to a hustle-culture wintery wonderland that still has tight pandemic restrictions. So which one’s the transition?
OK, you got me. I’m tricking you because the correct answer is: ALL of them.
This week, I’m challenging conventional interpretations of language to reconfigure what the word “transition” represents in our modern world.
Welcome to a new three-part series where I explain the ATT approach. It’s the newly branded term for the enduring, proven, science-based method behind my client coaching success.
ATT stands for Ambitious Transformation in Transition. And to better describe what it means as a whole, I’ll start at the end by (re)defining “transition” first.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Underestimating yourself
- Standing filter-free in life’s messiness
- Tools that adequately meet the intensity
- Living a life in transit with purpose
- Transition’s ripple effect
Listen to the Full Episode
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- Sundae’s Website
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- Quiz: Which Phase of Transformation Are You In?
- VIP Sessions
- IN TRANSIT Hub
- What do you want to hear from me in season 6?
- William Bridges: Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes
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Full Episode Transcript:
Hello, It is 7 am in New York, 2 pm in Johannesburg, and 7 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean. I am an intercultural strategist, transformation facilitator, and solution-oriented coach, and I am on a mission to help you adapt & succeed through ANY life transition.
If I asked you what transition you’re going through right now, what comes to mind? Got one? Good. Keep that in mind for a second. We’re going to come back to that. I guarantee you, you are underestimating yourself, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself in today’s episode.
Welcome to the first podcast following the brand new naming of the podcast IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean. I’m so happy that you’re here.
Now, this is an important conversation In Transit, In Transition. It’s so central that I’m going to spend our time talking about it today in the episode. And in the next three episodes, we will focus on what I’ve newly introduced the ATT approach, Ambitious Transformation in Transition, one aspect at a time. And today we’re going to start with transition and you’ll find out why as you listen today. If you have followed my work for the last five, six, seven, eight years, you probably know this about me already, but I don’t often accept conventional definitions. I don’t often accept the way we typically think about those core things when it comes to our Olympic-level lives when we’re talking about transitions and transformation, right? And much of this work of mine is just giving a name to what I’m seeing. Giving language to something important, to an experience that maybe until now you haven’t had words for. And in doing so, it often challenges those conventional understandings. And well, today’s transition is one of them.
This is based on my work of working directly with those living, multiple simultaneous, transitions, as a matter of course. My work with globally mobile families as a transition specialist, as an interculturalist, and from my own life transitions. And from what I’ve seen over the years, there are three things that are often common when people think about transition:
- Number one: transition is often thought in the singular and sometimes even the exceptional. Like this is the one transition we’re working through, right? Could be something like, “Yep. We’re in a job change,” or, “Oh, we’re moving country.”
- When we think of transition, we consider it something often linear, tidy even, predictable even – where there is a beginning, a middle, and an end.
- Number three: We are usually focused on the one thing. That one transition. But if we do have more than one going on, let’s say a move, we usually focus on what I would call the loudest, right? Whether it would say there is a move across the world or maybe you’re pregnant or maybe someone just lost her job. Whatever transition is the loudest, we pay attention to.
But here’s the thing, by focusing only on one event, when we’re thinking about transition, by thinking of it as tidy, or maybe even predictable, or not recognizing those more subtle versions, it just really doesn’t match our lived experience. And based on my training as a qualitative communication researcher, I’m all about looking at our lived experience.
So today, I’m going to put transition on its head for some people. It might not surprise you that the way I look at transition is that our life is in constant transition. It isn’t that special thing that’s happening that one time. And if you are also part of the globally mobile, like myself and my family, you know what I’m talking about.
So, we’re talking about being IN TRANSIT, right? I want you to think about it differently. Instead, I want you to think about it as an ongoing, not exceptional, an ongoing process of adjusting to subtle or traumatic, internal or external change and context. And I’m going to say that one more time, when your life is IN TRANSIT, which as I’m arguing it is always is, you are engaged in a process, an ongoing process of adjusting to subtle or dramatic, internal or external change and context. Sometimes all of them all at once.
That is transition. Not as tidy as we thought, not as tidy as we hoped.
So, let’s get back to the transition that popped up in your head when I asked you at the top of this episode, what came to mind? Can you name it now? Okay, now that we’re kind of pushing the edge on the complexity a little bit, I want you to play with me. I’m going to name a few other things that fall under transition and I want you to see what should be added to your top-of-mind list.
What about any relationship transitions? Are you noticing any developing distance or maybe conflict in the relationship? How about maybe some trouble with your in-laws? Or have you moved physically closer or further away from loved ones? Maybe you’re re-entering the dating scene. Think about it. What’s your relationship, romantic or otherwise? What’s going on? What are some of the transitions that are quiet or loud in your relationships?
Okay. Now, I want to think about your finances. What’s going on financially? Any fluctuation in your financial security? I don’t know who hasn’t had that in the time of the global pandemic. Or maybe you’ve taken on recent responsibility for a major mortgage or loan. Any other transitions financially? You might have received an inheritance or maybe sudden debt.
What about work-related transitions? Any adjustments in your business, or at your job? What about changes in working conditions or hours? Again, global pandemic, all of that has changed over the last two years how we work, and how we re-enter work again after or, in this last tale of the pandemic is all about transition.
Maybe there’s been something happening recently that has made you question your faith or your spirituality. Or maybe it’s strengthened your faith and spirituality. Maybe that has you engaged in your faith-based community at a distance or more deeply, right? What spiritual-religious or faith-based transitions are going on with you?
Do you see where we’re going here? I’ve only mentioned four things and you’re already adding to the complexity of transitions you are navigating. These ongoing adjustments, subtle or dramatic internal or external changes in context. We could go on by thinking about what’s going on in terms of health transitions. Changes in your alcohol consumption, eating sleeping, or exercise habits, right? What about any home transitions? You have a relocation ahead of you?. Have you bought or sold a home? Are you downsizing? Upsizing?
What about a cultural or geographic transition? Maybe you’re experiencing backlash or resistance in a new community because of your ethnic, racial, gender, or sexual identity. Maybe there’s been a change in language or cultural status where you’ve gone from a minority to a majority member or majority to a minority member.
What about your family? Any children leaving the nest? Or are you caring for aging parents? I could go on and on talking about layers of global transitions. Loved ones transitions that are impacting you or even in your community. And that in itself, just what I’ve mentioned isn’t even close to an exhaustive list.
Now, when I asked you, where your life is in transition? How many things apply to you? What’s going on in your current circumstance? How did it feel as you added items to your list of transitions? Now, do you know why I call this living an Olympic-level life? It’s intense.
If I think about even just my own life right now, there have been business adjustments because of COVID. We’re looking ahead to a geographical transition, we just don’t know where it is. My husband is anticipating a work-related transition, yet it’s not yet clear what that is. I’ve just made some adjustments in my business. So we’re going to see where that direction goes. My children are entering new phases of their childhood and adolescence which has implications on family transitions. My parents are aging and one of them recently had surgery which puts top of mind for me about the health transitions of my loved ones. And I could go on and on all of that at the same time. We are all living an Olympic-level life.
And you’re not giving yourself credit for it. This ties into the mistakes people make, when they think about transitions. When we think of transition as tidy, with this tidy, beginning, middle, and end. When we see transition as one thing that captures our attention and we’re missing the quieter transitions that are happening at the same time and we only pay attention to the most obvious, right? That can be a problem.
That could be a problem. And here’s why. First, you shame yourself for not doing enough. If you’re not seeing all of that, you’re holding that it’s so easy to go there. Failing to see the many transitions that are happening at the same time, how they cross each other, how they overlay, or how they overlap in multi-faceted ways. You are not acknowledging the enough-ness of what you’re doing already. The other danger is that you compare yourself to others who might not be holding the weight of this level of complexity and then you feel like crap again.
Then you go to shame yourself for not doing it right. Because you fail to recognize that you are in fact, in the middle of something that is messy. Inherently, it isn’t tidy. Ask anyone who’s gone through a divorce or moved across the world, tidy ain’t nothing on it. Right? Like when you say it should be tidy and then it’s not tidy, you think that you’re doing it wrong?
Maybe you’re only paying attention to those loud, obvious transitions. And then you are missing the more subtle ones like changes in your health, or the health of others or relationships before it’s too late. Or when later interventions, take much more drastic measures. And when all of that is happening in parallel, it’s obvious that then we don’t seek the help or support that we need to match the level we are navigating. That is why I want to talk about being IN TRANSIT. That is why I want to look at the Olympic-level complexity of being in transition and put at the center that transitions are not this thing that happened once or twice in something predictable, but they are always happening.
I see our lives IN TRANSIT, like a zoom filter. When you look at someone who has a filter on their background, there is a ton of stuff back there. But all we see are just faint outlines of shape and color. And what I’m asking you to do, just for you, you don’t have to do this for anybody else, just for you, is to drop that filter. And just for a moment, look at the curves and edges of the actual background of your life so that you can give yourself some credit for navigating the complexity. You can give yourself some credit for standing still in the messiness. So you can give yourself credit for doing what you can in all of it.
It’s about living life in transition intentionally. With open eyes without the filter.
Living life in transitions is truly accepting what the Greek philosopher Heraclitus says, “The only constant is change.”
The only constant is change. We know that, but do we accept it in our whole hearts and bodies? Are you radically committed to living your life in transit with purpose and meaning? Living our lives in transit with purpose and meaning is dropping that filter and looking at it and saying, “Okay. Now what? Where’s my agency? What can I do?” It’s recognizing that transitions are happening, always. And it feels like they’re coming from within us or happening to us. Right? And sometimes these changes are welcome and sometimes they’re dreaded, I hear that and it’s hard. Sometimes our lives are in transition because we self-initiated it. And sometimes it’s imposed by others. And you can feel powerless. Sometimes it feels right and other times, it might be met with resistance from yourself or from your loved ones or your community members.
That is what I’m talking about in this living in transit. How do we live in transit and both hold on to our agency and personal power and recognize the power these personal, familial, health, community, and global transitions have on us, all the same time?
So this is what I’m excited about when we’re looking at Life IN TRANSIT, is standing in that space where we’re courageously ready to say, “Okay. I’m here. What am I going to do about it?”
Living IN TRANSIT is standing in that ongoing process of adjusting to the subtle and dramatic internal and external changes and contexts. And thank you for standing here with me. Because it matters. It matters that we do that. Because when you can stand there courageously, you have a more realistic picture of the muddy waters we’re swimming in. And you can then name, what enables you to find, where you do have personal power. And it allows you to accept what is so you can save your energy for what matters most, where you have leverage.
And this matters to think about, for those that we care about because it helps us understand the level of their complexity that they’re navigating and how that might impact their own ambitions, responses, and behaviors, right?
This is a lot. I know it. So let’s just take a moment and we’re thinking about our lives IN TRANSIT.
Let’s just pause and reflect. When you take that in, what does that make you think?
A lot of the people that I work with, with this model are like, “Oh, I’m actually dealing with a lot more than I gave myself credit for!” And it’s like, “No wonder, I’m tired.” And part of you might go *sigh* and then you rub your fist on your chest, in pride, and say, “Yeah man, I’m doing a lot and I’m doing a lot right, actually.” So maybe it makes you feel proud when you think about the fact that you are still standing. Or maybe it makes you feel relief that while not everything is going perfectly, you are navigating a lot and you are doing some things right. And you might be humbled by the load at which you’re navigating.
And then what does it make you want to do? A lot of people say, “Oh, I just want to rest and get some energy back for all these things.” But then it leads to this idea of wanting to plan. “Okay, how do I navigate this with intention? How do I navigate this overwhelm and all of it in a way that I can still stay true to my values, and make progress on my goals,” right?
That is living a life in transit with purpose. And that is also seeing the truth about transition. One, transitions are messy. Two, the quiet, subtle transitions are as important, sometimes even more important to pay attention to than the loud ones. And three, transition isn’t one thing, but rather like an ocean we’re all swimming in.
That’s what I’ve seen in over a decade of doing this work, that if we want to succeed through transition, if you want to live in transition and still reach our ambitious goals, we need to grasp for tools. But the problem honestly with that is that when we are reaching for tools, we grasp for tools, it’s often the things that are inherent to us, right? The things that are our normal go-to. The way we were raised, our default habits. And they don’t always serve us. Because our go-to patterns are often influenced by history and power and identity and context. And, if you grow up in systems that are not just, which basically is this whole structure of our world, then we get into some really tricky cultural, familial, gender, generational practices, and attitudes that might not serve us.
And then we realize that our existing toolset falls short of achieving what we want in this ever-changing landscape. I’m just delivering straight talk here. That is what is. And I’ve spent over a decade in coaching with leaders, with entrepreneurs, with men, women of all ages. And we are confronted with what are the tools that are working and what are the ones that are not. And it is usually tied to patterns that serve or are sometimes self-destructive, right? And that’s the great thing is by opening your eyes to that, we have again more agency. We have more power to make change. And we can stop underestimating just how much transition we’re navigating in our lives in any given time. And then, we can finally realize that the tools that were reaching for are not suited for the immensity of the challenge.
And then, we can hone in on these ongoing subtle and dramatic internal and external changes and these shifting contexts that we need to adjust to, and put things into perspective and use new tools to guide our way forward. All of this is tied to our ongoing transition. And our world, I don’t need to say this to you, our world is undergoing massive shifts faster than any other time in history. And if we want to have something steady in unsteady times, the first step in building a fulfilling and empowered life or business, or family, or community, whatever it is, that comes from being able to one name those muddy waters of transition. Naming what is and we’ve done some of that today. And I know that work is intense and I just want to acknowledge that.
And there might be some of you, and I say this from experience. Remember how I said in the last episode that this should come with a warning label. One of my colleagues said that this work should come with a warning label, that some of you might need to carve out a few moments of reflection to process the awareness of all that you’ve been carrying. And if you feel like you need to do that, you deserve to take a moment to reflect and allow yourself that space to process whatever emotion comes up, right? You deserve to take a moment and celebrate that you’re still standing and that you’ve carried the weight of it all.
But I promise you, I promise you that in the coming episodes, we’re going to do some really, really cool things. We’re going to focus on what does that look like? If we want to just not only recognize but navigate and then shape how we respond with purpose, in our lives IN TRANSIT. How can we navigate that and still work toward our individual and collective goals? And that is where Ambitious Transformation is central.
I’m really excited to share more with you. Today was big. Today was about transition, helps you understand when we talk about life IN TRANSIT, the level of complexity that you’re dealing with. How many ways your life is in transit? But we get to talk about the fun stuff in coming episodes around transformation. Whether it’s internal transformation, something external to you, or something performance-based. And then we can look at what does that mean? Ambitious Transformation for you.
Not what someone else says. Not what society expects of you or what your family wants you to do. But you, defined by you. That’s what we’ve got ahead. I’m really excited about it. These three episodes kind of set the foundation and then we’ll loosen it up a little bit by talking about other things, having guest experts come in. But I really wanted us to be on the same page. And have you start thinking about your life IN TRANSIT with intention, right? Living with purpose. I’m excited for us to keep going.
And I just want to say a heartfelt “Thank You,” to everyone who has been so supportive in this transition. I’ve been talking about my business evolution. I’ve announced the new group name for the IN TRANSIT Hub. We have some new Hub members that have joined us. We spent the entire week celebrating In the Discover challenge that is just happening as I record this live now. and we have seen the new podcast name. So, thank you so much for everybody from all corners of the world coming out and saying what you love about this fresh new brand evolution. what you’re excited to learn about.
Also to remind you, please, if you have ideas for the podcast, if there are topics that are burning for you that you want me to speak on based on the work that I’m doing my clients or you have a guest expert, you’d love for me to invite on to the program. Please check out the show notes because we’d love to hear from you. I want this to serve you.
So thank you so much for being here. It’s been so wonderful to enjoy this transition with you and I promise to dive into transformation in next week’s episode. So stay tuned.
You’ve been listening to IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean, steady advice for an unsteady world. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with the words of William Bridges, author of Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes, “It is when we are in transition that we are most completely alive.”
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