Mastering the Art of Transition: A Guide to Making Big Changes

Two years ago, when I walked away from the corporate world, I knew that my life was going to change.  On some level, I expected the twists and turns associated with being a first-time entrepreneur, but like anything, you never know what to expect until you really get in there and do it.

There have been three significant transitions I’ve made in the last few years: (1) Leaving the corporate world to start Little City Kitchen Co, (2) shutting down the business, and most recently, (3) embracing the idea of looking for full-time work after being an entrepreneur.

I could dedicate a blog to each of these, but instead I wanted to focus on my personal process for making big transitions in hopes it will inspire some of you to do the same.

A Guide to Making Big Changes

Be honest with yourself: Everything starts with awareness, and to have that, you need to ask yourself (or have a coach/counselor ask you) the really hard questions.  Once you’ve uncovered the truth about something, just sit with it for a while and get comfortable.

Don’t judge your answers: In other words, separate the answer from the implications. When I came to realization that I didn’t want to make baby food anymore, I tried to avoid the onslaught of “what does that mean” questions which tend to be negative and paralyzing.  I just stayed focused on what I knew was true, baby food wasn’t right for me anymore, until I made peace with that thought.

Consider the options: Once you’ve gotten a little more comfortable with your new realization, start to consider the changes needed or solutions that are possible.  This is sometimes where I get stuck.  I want to consider every possibility so I can make the “right” decision…it’s a fear of failure thing.  I could set up camp at this point, so I’m careful not to live here for too long!

Make bold decisions: My dear friend Emily and I call this part “putting on the bold shoes”.  Once you have awareness and you’ve considered the options, take a risk and make a bold decision; shut down a company, leave your relationship, move to India…  Making the decision is usually the hardest part, but I’ve found the details always fall into place afterward.

Take action in your new direction: The change becomes real when you start taking action.  For me, I’m usually so “ready” by this point that the action follows quickly.  This was resigning from my corporate career, blogging about shutting down Little City, and most recently, sending out my resume for the first time in nearly 12 years.  Sometimes the first step is the hardest, but it’s also the most empowering.

Roll with the changes:  Flexibility, I have discovered, is the key to everything. Once the changes started coming (and they come fast and frequently!), the ability to adjust quickly became one of the most important skills I developed along the way.  When I stumble in this area (and I do often), I just try to stay focused on the reasons I made the transition in the first place.

Once I went public with my intention to leave corporate America and start a business, people started to share their own pipedreams with me; starting a pet clothing company, opening a bait shop, moving to Italy for a year…

I’ve grown more in the last two years than perhaps any other period of my life, so I hope that by sharing my own experience and perhaps even by writing this blog, it inspires you in even the smallest way to make changes in your life.

11 Comments to “Mastering the Art of Transition: A Guide to Making Big Changes”

  1. Emily says:

    You’re awesome, Jill, and so are your bold shoes!

  2. Anita says:

    Go Jill, go! This was an amazing & inspiring entry. Thanks for sharing your challenges & successes with the rest of us!

  3. Darling Jill,Your story is so interesting. How about a book with all your thoughts in it.I do believe you will find a job that you will love and do something creative with it. If you Love what you do it is the best way to enjoy life.. All my Love, Grandma Harriet

  4. Wendy says:

    You’re so COOL :)

  5. Marty R. says:

    Jill, you hit the nail on the head with flexibility being the key. So true. Change, adapt, try new things, people, jobs. Life is a ton of fun this way and you can make big contributions – many you will never know about. Keep it up!

  6. Lisa says:

    To my amazing daughter: You have grown most in the past two years in insight. What a powerhouse you are…and to think you are my daughter! How lucky I am. Yours truly, Mom

  7. Brie says:

    Your courage and honesty are inspiring. Thanks for sharing and best of luck!!

  8. Jim Hart says:

    Jill whatever you do I know you will put everything you have into it. This was just a small bump in the road, so keep on drivin’ Girl…

  9. Chris says:

    Jill, you continue to lead from wherever you are, and that is a trait that is highly admirable and highly sustainable in the current and future economy. Keep it up!

  10. Jill B. says:

    I love and often remind myself of the phrase “the only thing certain in life is change”. There is no avoiding it, particularly in the world we live in. I think the better we are at accepting and embracing change the happier we will ultimately be. And the only way to get better at coping with it is do it often.

    I think it is great that you had a stab at something totally new and in 10 years time whether you are back in the corporate world or running your own business you will realize how valuable the past two years have been.

    Looking forward to hearing about the next step. You know you are going to have to keep this blog going regardless as we all enjoy reading it. Xx

  11. Jennifer Tucker says:

    Curious… :) what type of jobs are you sending that fancy amazing resume to?!?!? :) Loving reading about all your amazing life twists and turns!!!

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