This is the eleventh post in the series the 12 Transition Points.
In today’s blog, I’d like to highlight three stages of life that we encounter.
A new stage of life can come from an awakening of our self-understanding. We begin to see ourselves differently and clearly. The result is that we may have to make a change in one or more areas of our life.
Another stage is when we experience a significant change in our relationships. Maybe it is marrying for the first time or the birth of your first child. It could even be the change in self-perception that comes following a divorce.
A final example is a stage where we experience a change in jobs or our career direction.
In the first chapter of Circle of Impact: Taking Personal Initiative to Ignite Change, I tell the story of William. He experiences a mid-career transition that requires him to look deeply into his life. He does not have a clear option to remain with the company he served since he graduated from college. He has to decide what this new stage of life will look like.
It is not accidental that new stages of life can be understood from the perspective of the Circle of Impact. For the transition is prompted by one or more of the three dimensions of leadership.
For William, the company (Structure) is changing, and William’s family situation (Relationships) requires him to leave the company and begin a new career. William’s challenge is understanding what his purpose is, what his skills are, and how both can be marshaled for employment in a new arena.
A new stage of life is less like moving into a new house just like the old house, and more like moving from a cabin in the woods into a high-rise luxury condominium. If we don’t treat the change as significant, we find ourselves trying to be a square peg fitting into a round hole.
In effect, we need to step back, pay attention to what is different, listen to what is now expected of us, and allow ourselves the change of mind to fill the role where we will be for the foreseeable future.
Let’s take this all too human experience to a deeper level.
You aren’t just moving into a new stage of life. This stage requires you to exhibit genuine leadership.
The first step is acknowledging that this new stage will challenge you in new ways.
The next step is to take the three dimensions of leadership and apply them to your new situation. Ask these questions:
- Are we clear about our purpose? Do we have a clear set of core values that can guide us in our decisions? Are we clear about the expectations for each person’s performance?
- What steps do I need to take to build trust between myself and those whom I’m now leading? Am I clear in my understanding of what each member of the team brings to our work? Do we have the people to cover all aspects of our work together?
- What kind of structure do we need to maintain a clear focus, good communication, and ensure that we are creating the impact that we desire?
New positions of responsibility require us to also ask these questions.
- What are my strengths for this new role?
- What are my limitations? Do we have people on our team whose are strengths are my limitations?
- Am I prepared to make hard choices? Do I understand what it means for me to operate with integrity?
We all face changes in new stages of life. Some of them project us into areas in which we feel unprepared. If we apply the Circle of Impact model of leadership in each new situation we encounter, we’ll find that we come to have a clearer self-understanding and that we are better prepared to make decisions that are necessary.
As you look forward, what do you expect your life to become in the coming years? Anticipating what might come, and actively preparing for that reality will strengthen your self-perception. As a result, a new stage of life that previously would not have been possible now is.
Remember each day to take personal initiative to make a difference that matters, and you’ll be prepared for whatever new challenge or opportunity that comes your way.