“We are All in transition, All of us, All the time” is a key principle of the Circle of Impact. It is proven true to me every day in virtually every encounter that I have with people.
My conversations usually begin with an introduction that includes my being the author of a book for “people who are in transition.” This phrase catches their attention. It resonates as something that they are feeling. When I say the word “transition” it stands out as authentic and real.
I do believe we are all in transition. From what people tell me, it is not clear to them what this means. They know on some gut level that this feeling is different than some random interruption of their lives. Instead, it is a feeling that their world is about to change.
For many whom I meet, this feeling is new. They have never felt like their lives truly mattered. Now, something is tugging at them, telling them, “You are in transition, go find where it is taking you.” For many people, their lives were transformed because they responded to this feeling of transition. For me, there is nothing better than to see someone’s life changed when they discover how their life can matter as a person of impact.
Three Ways to Understand Transition
Metaphors can help us understand experiences that lack a clear sense of the moment. It is also important to see a moment of transition in a larger context than the momentary experience itself. Here are three ways to understand the transitions that we go through
In the preface of my book, I describe a dream that I had. In this dream, I am thrust into a situation where I am to speak before a crowd of thousands in a theater. I don’t know why I am there, who these people are, or what I am to say to them.
We are all thrust into situations where we must perform without knowing why, how or what we are doing. These are transition points that act as a test of what we have to contribute. In my dream, I decide to tell a story about something that is important to me. At the end of my dream, I am not alone of the stage, but surrounded by the audience who has decided to also take the initiative to live out the story that they tell themselves.
A friend describes change as being thrown into a river and having to work hard to get back to where we were on dry land. In this sense, change is a negative, disruptive moment that interrupts our stable, peaceful, life on land.
Transition is different. We are always in the river. We have a choice of whether to go with the flow or swim against the current. One is not good and the other wrong. Instead, we make a choice about how our lives are going to be in the midst of transition.
Go with the flow, and you’ll have a more conventional life. That is if the flow is taking you where you want to go. It doesn’t mean there won’t be rapids and waterfalls. It just means that where you are going is far more predictable.
To swim against the flow is more like what an entrepreneur confronts. It is slow, hard going, without many moments of ease and comfort. Success is often fleeting. One’s purpose becomes the defining motivation to move forward. By going upstream we are creating the downstream conditions that people will experience. It too is not easy but can be equally rewarding.
Our lives go through stages. Some are obvious. We graduate from school. We get married. We start a career. We change jobs. We move to another city. We retire. The transition is endless. Other transitions are less obvious.
This transition experience is like transitioning from one room to the next in a big house. Each room is unique, waiting for us to enter. At some moment it becomes clear that we are to cross into the next room. A door opens up. We go over to it, look into the next room, and then possibly decide to cross the threshold into the next room. Once we are in, we turn and pull the door closed behind us. For there is no going back to our former rooms.
I got the idea for this perspective on transition from watching the great Pixar film Monsters, Inc. Here’s the scene where Sully and Mike are racing against time to get Boo back to her room. It was this sequence that spoke to me of how our lives are lived out as a succession of different rooms. For many of us, the pace of their flight is close to what we find our transition experience to be.
A Coaching Program for People in Transition
In my own life, I have encountered many transition points. My Circle of Impact model and the tools that I’ve developed to use are products of my own transition experience. They have been the resources that have helped me make decisions, see problems, communicate better, and learn how to do work that has an increasing level of impact.
During the past year as I was on my book promotion tour, my random conversations with people began to change. They would acknowledge that they are in transition. In a few minutes, we would talk about their transition. For many, it was a transformation moment where their perception of who there are and where their life is headed changed. As a result of my experience, I decided that it was time to create a coaching program specially designed for people in transition.
Circle of Impact Coaching is for the person, the team, or the organization that understands that they are in transition. It is a conversational process that looks into the circumstances that have produced a sense of being in transition.
The Coaching Experience.
We talk a lot about the things that matter to you. Our transitions are not just about one part of us, but about the whole of us. Unfortunately, most of the advice, instruction and help is fragmented into narrow fields of expertise.
We use the Circle of Impact model, the 5 Questions that everyone must ask, the 12 Transition Points, and other tools that can help us clarify this transition that you are in. (You can receive these tools in an infographic available from my website, edbrenegar.com.)
We talk specifically about your sense of purpose, your values, the quality of your relationships, and what it is like to work or lead in the context that you are living in right now.
There is no judgment about past choices that you’ve made that make this transition harder than it should be. We ask questions to establish clarity about how your life has changed, in other words, how you are in transition. It is the first and foremost question. Looking back to move forward. It is all connected.
It is important to understand that the guilt and regret that you may feel for a variety reason are very poor guides to understanding who we are. As I told an executive assistant of a company that has experienced some very public problems, “We are not defined by our tragedies.” In many respects our past failures and the consequences of them only show us where we have not learned to change our lives.
It is important to embrace the problems that we have created that are now obstacles to our advancement. It is one of the Five Questions that we must ask. However, until we are clear about what you believe about yourself and your potential for impact, focusing on those problems only delays reaching clarity about the direction the transition is taking you. You must first believe that you can be a person of impact in a way that is specific to who you are as a person before we can solve the problems that stand in your way.
This is how we begin. By asking questions that create understanding about who you are and the person who you desire to be, a person of impact. This is how we learn to live successfully in the midst of transition.
The Importance of Seeing Your Impact
Why is it important to see ourselves as persons of impact. The Circle of Impact’s perspective is that “all leadership begins with personal initiative to create impact that makes a difference that matters.” To live a whole, purposeful, respectful, well-integrated life to being a person of impact. Ultimately, it is how we come to see the full potential of lives unfolding in time. Otherwise, we only have our calendars to measure our lives by.
The coaching process reveals not only what your impact could be, and how to go through the transition to get there.
Why Should I Do This?
The reason you hire a coach is that you care about your life. There is some obstacle that is inhibiting you from fully seeing your potential impact. To hire a coach is an act of affirmation that recognizes that your life matters, and, you want clarity about what it means in the future. This is where we start. The first person you impact is yourself.
How Do We Start?
I want to make the beginning of our coaching relationship as simple as possible. So, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with some description of the transition that you see yourself in. Then my assistant Sara will set us up for our first conversation.
I hope that is simple enough.
Let’s get started. The opportunities that await you are abundant and are perfect for what you bring to this world of transition. I’m excited to join you in your journey.