Change is defined as making someone or something different, or to alter or modify. You can change the tires on your car, change your hair color or even change your friends. These are all things that can be altered to make something look new or look better. Transition goes deeper than this and can be one of the hardest things a person can do. The dictionary meaning of this word is "the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another." There is a meme that states "the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg." When we consider the word transition, it can take on many meanings, with the end result of being better than before, but not in all cases. When we consider transitioning, it is usually because we have come to the realization that change is needed to find joy, love, companionship, a higher power, or ourselves.
If a military person stated that they are transitioning, then they are informing someone that they are leaving the military service and becoming a civilian again. When someone is transgender, they use this word to describe their shift to become their most authentic and comfortable self. In the medical world, if someone is in hospice care, that word is usually associated with a person reaching the end of their life. A religious leader's use of the word could signify a person moving from secular views to the adaptation of religious beliefs that are associated with that religion.
In each of these examples, transition is seen as a significant lifestyle, habit, or mentality change. Starting over again or starting anew is when clarity could be viewed as clear as mud. Retiring and separating service members are mandated to take classes that enhance their knowledge on resume writing, job searching skills, and interviewing techniques to help them make a successful transition back to the civilian lifestyle. These programs were set up to allow all veterans a chance to transform their mindset of what they have known to a future of the unknown. Amazingly enough, classes such as stress management, consumer purchasing and personal finance are the most underutilized classes and through this time of uncertainty, these are the classes that are most needed because of the stress and financial burdens that are placed on a transitional service member as they transition.
Here are some ways that can lower the stress of people transitioning: 1. Prepare yourself by allowing enough time to research and become aware of what is expected of you in this new phase
2. Find ways to celebrate or grieve your current situation 3. Look for ways to embrace the change by visualizing this new phase and accepting it as reality
4. Set goals and track your experiences as you make the journey
5. Seek support through a mentor, guide, or coach that will offer praise, recommendation and course correction if needed and if possible someone who has experience in your situation
The examples used above were about service members leaving the military but not only are they experiencing this, but friends, family members, associates, and co-workers are also experiencing their journey. The difference between change and transition is that while change might look good on the outside, transition is something that must be dealt with on the inside that radiates out. This is the time to realize that everyone will be excited, happy, or glad on your transformation and it's fine to let them go as some journeys are best faced alone without the additional pressure of trying to please others.
As the New Year is rapidly approaching, there will be a host of new resolutions being thought of. Are you looking for change or transition in this upcoming season of your life? Transition is never easy but being prepared, communicating, and asking questions will allow some of the mud of uncertainty to be not as dense and will allow you to focus on your new course. #SPEAK2MYHEART