“I’ve recently left my job in FinTech to start my own thing. The only problem is that I’m not so sure what that is exactly. I mean, I have an idea, but I’m not so sure how it’s going to evolve,” says a new client.
“You left your job?” I inquire.
“Well, let’s just say it was a mutual parting of ways,” she explains.
“I see. And you’re not quite sure what you want to be doing just yet?” I ask.
“I kinda know, I’m just not sure how it’s all going to come together,” she sighs.
You don’t need to have all the answers. You only have to take one step.
One of the reasons that transitions are so challenging for us is because we have a need to know all the answers upfront. No one likes surprises. But life isn’t about having all the answers, it’s about exploring possibilities.
You don’t have to worry about choosing the wrong direction, you just have to choose any direction and start moving. Think about your life as a ball field and a bench. In order to get into the game, you have to get up off the bench. Once you are off the bench, the universe can conspire with you to help you along your path towards winning. But if you stay seated on the bench, it’s inevitable that you’ll never score the winning run.
The only wrong move you can make is to not make a move.
Staying in an unsatisfactory place keeps you stuck in that place. It won’t help you move on. But once you make the decision to get up off the bench and move on from where you are, the universe will conspire with you and open doors for you to succeed.
In order to evolve along your life path, you have to get onto one.
“You’ve done just that. You have been unhappy for a while now, so getting out of that company is the best thing you could do,” I tell her. “So, you’ve done well getting up off the bench. Now, so as long as you are off that bench, the universe will send you cues to guide you along your path. Just take one step at a time and keep your head up and your eyes ahead and the next step will always be revealed to you.”
“So you’re saying that I don’t have to have a definitive plan?” she replies.
“The only plan you need is to plan on being uncomfortable with the uncertainty, because it is inevitable,” I tell her.
Find comfort in the discomfort of the uncertainty.
No one likes uncertainty; it makes us very uncomfortable. But we fail to realize that uncertainty is where the magic is. Certainty has already been decided for us, but uncertainty can be anything you want it to be.
“Think about it. If it is uncertain, it’s still undecided, so there is inherent opportunity there,” I tell her. “You can feel uncomfortable with a certain outcome, but if the outcome is uncertain, there’s more opportunity to create what you want,” I tell her.
“Yeah, but I have no idea where that uncertainty is bringing me to and that makes me really uncomfortable—to the point where I’m immobilized by fear,” she says. “So I go nowhere.”
“I think we just need to redefine transition for you so you can see it more clearly,” I say to her.
Transitions in life are just like crossing bridges—they take you to the other side.
“Have you ever been to the Florida keys and taken that long expansive bridge to Key West?” I ask her.
“As a matter of fact, I have. Why?” She replies.
“When you get onto the bridge, do you know where it is taking you?” I ask.
“Well, I get on it knowing it’s the bridge to Key West,” she replies.
“Does that tell you how Key West is going to be once you get there?”
“No, it just tells me that I am on the right path to get there,” she says.
“Ok, so can you see Key West when you are on the bridge?”
“No, it’s a long bridge,” she says.
“OK, so how do you know Key West will be at the end of it?”
“Because I trust that I got onto the right bridge and that it will take me where I need to go.”
“Fabulous. So why can’t you do the same thing with your career?” I say.
Bridges link you from your past to your future.
Once on the bridge, you have left your past behind, but you are not yet at your future, so you are in this transitional space that can be very uncomfortable. But you have to trust the bridge you’re on. You are on it for a reason. You believe it will take you to where you need to be and that is all you need to know. You don’t need to know anything else until you get to your destination. And once you get there, you can decide if you like being there or if you prefer to try another destination. There are many bridges in life and they will always deliver you to new experiences.
“So you are saying that I just pick a bridge that I feel will take me to a certain experience and then I see whether I like it or not once I’m there. But while I’m on it, I should trust that it’s bringing me to the next step in my life.”
“Precisely,” I reply.
“What if it’s the wrong bridge?”
“It can never be the wrong bridge. It’s the bridge that informed your new goal of needing a new experience because you are finished with this destination. So that bridge served it purpose to help you refine your intention. Isn’t it true that you only know what you want in life by knowing what you don’t want?”
“Yes, I suppose… But hey—can I fall off the bridge?!”
“Well, there are usually guard rails to prevent that,” I tell her.
You don’t have to know what’s exactly at the end of the bridge; you only have to get yourself onto a bridge that will take you to where you think you may want to go, and trust that the bridge will bring you there. Once you are there, you can always choose again.
The transitions in our lives are as simple as crossing bridges.
They don’t have to be more melodramatic than that. In theory we know where the bridge is taking us, but once we get there, we may hate it. So we get back onto the bridge or take another bridge somewhere else. Don’t fear the bridges, they are the vehicle for change in our lives. They bring us amazing experiences and show us the most amazing views along the way.
Based in New York City, Donnalynn is the Author of “Life Lessons, Everything You Ever Wished You Had Learned in Kindergarten.” She is also a Certified Intuitive Life Coach (ethereal-wellness.com), Inspirational Blogger (etherealwellness.wordpress.com), Writer, Speaker and Yoga Teacher. Her work has been featured in Glamour, the iHeart Radio Network, Thought Catalog and Princeton Television. You can follower her on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ . Read Donnalynn’s column for Observer.