How to Transition Well

Ending things can be hard.

I take that back, ending things can be miserable.

People often struggle with transitions. If I’m honest, I struggle with transitions.

However, I don’t struggle near as much today as I used to. Here’s why.

I’ve had a chance to learn from some very gifted people in the area of making transitions (William Bridges’ book “Managing Transitions” comes to mind, no relation to us though). On a day like today, when my family is making a major transition, I thought I would write down a few tips on how to effectively make transitions.


1. Celebrate the past.
We often don’t take time to celebrate what we’ve experienced. Whether in the business world or the church world, I think it’s crucial that we celebrate what we’ve learned, how we’ve changed, and the relationships we’ve made along the way.

It's crucial that we celebrate what we’ve learned, how we’ve changed, and the relationships we’ve made along… Click To Tweet

2. Acknowledge the sadness.
I used to act like transitions didn’t affect me. I thought if I acted as strong as possible, people would see me as strong.

The reality is…they and I saw me as weak.

Acknowledge your grief and the difficulty of leaving the past behind. It’s ok to experience guilt, sadness, or fear as you walk into a new season of life.

3. Thank others profusely.
The reality is you’ll never thank everyone you should. However, I don’t know that I’ve ever accomplished anything in life without the help of other people.

Be grateful. Be gracious. And be generous. Click To Tweet

4. Grow your margins.
During a time of transition, you often experience chaos. Plan ahead to have more time than you think you will need to get things done. It’s ok to find yourself with a few hours, or even a full day, of extra time to rest and reflect.

If you grow your margins, you’ll protect yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually from burnout. And the transition will go that much smoother.

5. Ask for help.
During a time of transition, you simply can’t do everything alone…at least you shouldn’t try to. Other people are often very motivated to help you out.

Take a risk and ask 2-3 people for help in the areas that stress you out the most. Wonder what you’ll find? There are people that find what stresses you out to be very easy (and they might actually enjoy it!).

I experienced this yesterday. I absolutely hate loading up a moving truck. After asking a good friend if he could bring some guys to help, I realized he brought a professional mover with him. Little did I know I would be carrying a few boxes and relaxing as he led the group and took over the whole process. What I anticipated to be a 5 hour experience took about an hour and a half, and I wasn’t even in charge.

6. Imagine the future.
During a time of transition, we often think too much of the past. Don’t let your past dictate your present and future.

Imagine what the future could be like if everything went according to plan. Imagine how exciting the future would be if only 50% of your plans worked out.

Don’t let your past dictate your present and future. Click To Tweet

Ask yourself: What have I learned in the past that will help me to be effective in the future?

During a time of transition, what have you found to be helpful for you, your family, or your company? Share your tips in the comment area below. I look forward to learning from you.