Hi all, continuing to participate in LinkedIn's #YouAsked feature, here is a question I was given with my thinking to go with it...
“In two years, I'll be transitioning from 20 years in the military. How do I prepare for what is going to be, at least to some degree, culture shock and ensure I can fit in properly?” — Saundra U., Minnesota Army National Guard
(Note: Friends, these thoughts can apply to any transition in our lives, the bigger the transition and the more intense, the more important these become.)
Wow, 20 years! What a gift you've given, Saundra. Thank you. And thank you for the question, transition is such a big part of our lives -- this one you are moving into is powerful and personal and so important to honor. Only you will know best about what will serve you most, and here are a few thoughts I have as you move into this next chapter of your life. Please take, toss, tweak as they serve you.
First, take really good care of yourself; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as you head into making this transition; this will be essential to setting yourself up well while staying present and awake in this process.
Second, eat well, sleep, exercise, talk with friends, get the support of a therapist or professional to help you transition as needed, meditate, pray, get quiet; whatever serves and nourishes you and makes you feel more present and connected to yourself. The healthier/clearer we are and the more connected we are to ourselves, the more we can hear our internal wisdom, intuition, and desires for what we want and need to do -- and then act upon it. (Note: This also gives us more internal power to set the tone and be fully ourselves, versus fit into everything or with everyone around us.)
Third, honor and acknowledge that this is a huge transition you’re coming upon, you've served for 20 years, it will take some time, energy, and intention to move into this new chapter. That you are being intentional about it two years out puts you, in my experience, way ahead of the game. You get to intentionally create your experience versus react to it all.
All of these things will help you now in creating habits and a mindset to support your transition in two years. Intention setting will be huge as will staying connected to your "why" and your "who." (Our intentions can set the tone and guide us -- they're a "proclamation" of sorts as to what we're committed to creating; our why reminds us of why we do what we do -- what's important about it; and our "who" reminds us of who we do it in service of -- aside from ourselves). As you get closer (or even now as it feels right for you), set your intentions for what you want to create.
Here are some places to look (use one, all, or make your own as they resonate):
- How can I most enjoy the next two years and create a beautiful experience that I will feel great about moving forward from when I transition?
- What's important about this transition for me? Who else does it impact?
- What do I want to create with this new chapter? What do I want my life to look like? Feel like?
- Where do I want to be in 3 years? 5? (This may or may not resonate, just check.)
- Who do I want to become? What kind of qualities do I want to build upon or create?
- What gifts am I bringing from this last chapter of my life that will serve me in the next? (Gifts could be qualities, character, wisdom, skills, ways of being, knowledge, etc.)
- What kinds of relationships do I want to have? How will I nourish them?
- How do I want to feel? How do I want others to feel around me?
- What kinds of activities and work will nourish and light me up?
- How do I want to show up?
- What will I need to have in place to support me?
- Who is my “posse” of support? (The people who I will lean in with and the relationships I will nourish now and as I move forward.)
And then hop to. Create it. Be it. (An intention is a powerful thing.)
One more thing that keeps coming up for me in your query, I'd invite you to question your intention to "fit in properly" and instead offer not to "fit in" but rather to enjoy and bring all of who you are; you are a gift. You are bringing you to this new chapter, you are bringing your story and heart and experiences, and people will be so lucky to be with you. So be you.
Finally, an invitation to enjoy these last two years – be present to them while holding your intentions for what you’re moving into. I think it’s helpful to remember through any transition -- big or small -- that it's important to stay present to the current while intentional about the future, to be our own best friend, to nourish and listen to ourselves, to ask for help, to stay connected to gratitude for who we are, for our lives, for the people in our lives, for the chapters we're leaving, and for the new chapters we’ll begin. And then to stay awake, present, and intentional to what we want to create now.
I hope this is helpful! Please use whatever serves in this and toss the rest. And thank you again for your service!
NOTE: Read more articles like this in my weekly #TuesdayTreats. Get your complimentary subscription and some instant goodies here.
Also, I write more about transitions, change, self-care, leadership, creating our experience, nourishment, resiliency, and more in my latest book CONTAGIOUS YOU: Unlock Your Power to Influence, Lead, and Create the Impact You Want (McGraw-Hill, 2019). Available where books are sold and on Amazon now!
* This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.