Using Strengths During Times of Transition: Part II

Editor’s Note: this is the second of two posts on personal and professional transition. Part 1 can be read here.

Pay close attention to personal and professional transition; but beware, do not try this alone.

When I reflect on transitions throughout my life – various jobs, relationships, family dynamics – I realized I do not transition well. I quickly embrace what is next, without much thought given to healthy transition. This default strategy does not always work well for me.

I believe the essence and behaviors of my Strengths make transition difficult. The more I learn about the nuances of my Strengths, the more I understand how to transition well. This depth of understanding has come through self reflection and the help of others. I have also learned that transition, change and adaptation is better when aided by others. In relationship, I am learning how to make personal and professional transitions better.

How do my Strengths react to transition?

When I am experience transition, how do my Strengths react? As you read this, please remember this is how my Strengths react, causing me to have to counteract this process… which I will refer to later. So, looking at transition through the lens of my Strengths, here is what is happening… on the organic, Strengths level:

  • Connectedness: in transition, my Strength of Connectedness experiences a “tearing” of all the connections that have been made. Then, each of those connections need to reconnect to something else. This need to connect to something new cause me deep anxiety. When transition tears at the fabric of my personal meaning and purpose, that pain is real.
  • Intellection: when my Strength of Intellection begins to spin and dwell on the negative aspects of change, I descend down a black hole of negative thinking. I lose my way and cannot “re-think” my way out of it. For those near to me, they will, unfortunately, be wrapped up in my Intellection negativity.
  • Futuristic: when my Strength of Futuristic loses a bright future, which happens to me through transition, I feel as if my vision goes dark and I cannot find my way forward. Image walking in the dark, that is how I feel when my Strength of Futuristic goes dark, there is nothing left for me to believe in.
  • Strategic: when my Strength of Strategic faces transition, the first thing I think is that I got here because I made bad decisions. Well, this is exactly what I did not believe on the way to the transition. So when I make the wrong decisions and need to work out of it, I feel defeated by making the wrong decisions.
  • Competition: perhaps the most volatile Strength through transition, My Strength of Competition interprets transition as a defeat. And when I see transition coming my way, my Strength of Competition considers this situation as “game over”. I want to give up, just walk away and toss my jersey.

How do my Strengths help in transition?

My understanding of my Strengths has taught me how to transition better. This learning came through self reflection, listening to others and applying personal best practices. Through this process of reflection, listening and application I have been able to engage my Strengths in transition. Here is what I have learned:

  • Intellection and Futuristic: here is where healthy transition begins for me, with my Strengths of Intellection and Futuristic thinking into and seeing a new future. For me, this intellectual and practical imagining gives me a new pathway to follow through transition. Once I can ‘see’ a way through transition, I am ready to begin taking action.
  • Connectedness: with a new pathway imagined, I begin to make the connections to people, ideas, resources and actions to reinterpret transition as a new opportunity. My Strength of Connectedness now acts as a catalyst by filling the initial steps of transition with new meaning and significance. New connections are made which fills me with energy.
  • Strategic: then the decisions start. As connections are being made, my Strength of Strategic becomes really active, making decisions, involving others, seeking to make forward progress by invoking and involving others.
  • Competition: all of what I mentioned above is interpreted by my Strength of Competition as a new “game”, and that is exciting! Now is when I begin to look for ways for our team to be their best and how we can all be involved in ways that will contribute to our being the best team possible.

What about you?

Think of a recent transition and apply the practice of Reflection, Listening and Action and see how our Strengths are reacting and helping you in transition. You might want to try this activity with a personal transition first, then with a professional transition and see the similarities and differences. Answering these questions gives you an opportunity to better understand who you are, who you are becoming, what you need, and how to find it.

Reflection:

  • What have been some challenging transitions in your life?
  • Are there certain types of transitions that are easier than others?

Listening:

  • Who has been with you through transitions?
  • What advice have they given?
  • How has this advice helped you transition better?

Application:

  • How do your Strengths react to transition?
  • How have your Strengths help you with transitions?
  • How do your Strengths help others transition well?

Learn Something about Yourself!

I believe each personal and professional transition is a unique opportunity to learn something more about ourselves, our capacities and how we can help one another. I also believe that when transition occurs, we need to pay close attention to what lessons are to be discovered. Personal and professional transition is never easy but it is an unprecedented opportunity for personal growth; especially by looking at it through a Strengths lens.