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Transitions can be painful. Unlike change, transitions take a fair amount of time to complete. Because they take lots of time, we often get impatient and we don’t understand how they affect our decision-making ability and keep us from getting outcomes that we really want.

Here are some solutions to what I call the transition dilemma.

Is your transition voluntary or out of your control?

Some transitions you know are coming and some blindside you. It’s the transitions that you don’t know are coming that often cause the most harm. If you’re fired from a job, suddenly lose a loved one, are forced into retirement or have a business bankruptcy all of these could be considered out of your control.

If on the other hand, the transition is a divorce you know is coming, a long illness with a loved one, a planned sale of your business or the retirement you’ve been looking forward to your transition can be planned in advance. I call this sort of planning priage. Instead of triaging a situation where you’re doing damage control priage allows you to start planning before an event happens.

When your transition can be planned in advance find somebody who is an expert at navigating the transition you’ll be going through. This person is not going to be the technical advisor who helps with your will, your retirement plan or your divorce attorney. Instead, this person will have received training that is specifically aimed at helping people go through a particular transition.

For example, I work with people on transition issues from their business. I don’t sell businesses. I do help people plan both on a financial and personal basis what life looks like after being a business owner. This is the sort of advisory experience you’re looking for in a transition partner.

If it’s voluntary you can plan for it in advance.

When you know changes are coming there are certain things you can do to help prepare for the change.

  • Find out what the change will mean financially for you.
  • Find somebody who has been through a similar situation that you trust and is a good listener.
  • Start putting down a plan for what you’re going to do after the transition happens.
  • After the transition starts make sure you look at the plan and talk with your thinking partner about what you want to do while putting major decisions on the back burner.

With an involuntary transition your IQ will suffer.

When your transition is involuntary there’s one thing I know for sure. You’re going to be under a lot of stress and pressure. Often we see a significant drop in IQ and cognitive power that you have and resources will diminish for dealing with your issue.

Here’s what I want you to do.

  • I want you to make sure that you make no major decisions.
  • Find somebody who can help you figure out whether you’re going to be financially okay.
  • Remember that your brain will probably not work as well as you want.
  • Learn to say no or not yet to those who want you to make quick decisions about things that can be put off.

Find a thinking partner.

Any time you’re going through a transition or even a change it’s important that you have somebody you can talk with who is not emotionally involved in the decisions that you make. This person should be a really good listener and their one goal should be to help you get through the transition that you’re facing.

Your thinking partner can be a professional who you trust, a friend who understands your situation or a family member who is not emotionally involved.

When a major transition happens you can be sure that you’re going to get all sorts of advice. Some of it will be good and wanted and some you’ll wish you never heard. A thinking partner can help you decide which is which.

The rule with any transition…..go slower than you think you should.

One thing I’ve learned is that projects and transitions always take longer than I want. I’m going to bet the same is true for you. If that’s true, develop patience for yourself, demand patience of others and let your thinking partner say no for you.

Let me know what you think by clicking here and telling me how you think you can either handle your transitions or help others make it through difficult times in their lives.


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Topics: thinking partner, transitions, changes

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