On being a woman in transition

On 25 May 2005 I called my own bluff and resigned from my salaried job. Not such a big deal you might think but I have never done such a thing without work to go to. This time I had run out of graciousness to stay and plain and simply had to go. Not to another job but into my own business KTLYST instead of working around it all the time.

This decision called my own bluff in several ways. One was that I was doing what I needed to do for myself, very clearly and in a way that my coaching clients often realise they need to. Secondly I was thrown into the transition cycle that I had spent the last three years teaching and supporting people through in my job.

Put simply all change begins with an ending, moves through a phase called ‘neutral’ and ends at the point we assess we are at the beginning again! Change is simply change (with whatever ripple effects it generates) – it is the assessments we make about the changes that usually have the greater impact. Transition is the internal or emotional journey that we make alongside the external and physical changes. We cannot do one without the other and yet we often underestimate the transitions we undergo through change. (For other articles on Change & Transition please see my website)

By resigning I ended a whole variety of things, knowing what my job was, financial security (potentially), the relationship with the people I work with, plus I ended the sense of feeling stuck and trapped in the job. I wasn’t stuck anymore and what a sense of lightness I experienced. So while I felt grief at saying good bye, I also felt gratitude for the opportunities I had realised during my work, relief to have made the decision and anxiety about how I was going to manage financially, no savings and no other support available.

The neutral zone follows hard on the heels of an ending and there is nothing neutral about this phase. It is a time of questions, emotions including fear and anxiety, a sense of being in limbo – of not being where and how we were but equally not being where and who we are going to be. It can be a time of high creativity and innovation as we make radical changes while so much else is in the air or an opportunity to do something we have wanted to but didn’t feel we could. For example, I am more available to do ceremony now and can do my writing during the day rather than late at night after work.

The final phase of change, the beginning, is when we assess we are realising the opportunities of the change. This is not necessarily when the change occurs or the start date. Transition can take time and this will vary for each of us and for each change.

As I write this article it is still a “leap of faith”. I assess I am strongly in the neutral zone. However the call to action was clear and remains steadfast.
Barbara Sher in her book, “It’s only too late if you don’t start now” talks of the second half of our living belonging to us, rather than to our biological or societal drives. I see this move as answering my need to explore my creative spiritual dimensions and to craft my work in a way that is more truly how I like to work.

At the level of my soul I have had a strong ‘longing’ to be working differently. Finally the ‘call to action’ has become the greater imperative and I am now ‘finding my path’.

Arohanui Kerry-Ann