Navigate the Seas of Personal and Professional Transition Using StrengthsFinder

When was the last time you went through a transition? How did this impact you personally and professionally? Was this transition by your choosing, or was this a decision made by someone else – your company, manager, or business climate? Whenever we face transition or change, we have a unique opportunity to learn something new about ourselves. We can also leverage that learning even more by applying a Strengths lens for greater self-understanding and meaning.

I do not handle transition very well, I never really have. I usually choose to face transition on my own, alone. As an Introvert, this is something I do by habit but I would never recommend it. I have discovered most people experience transition in isolation, yet consider transition as a time of vulnerability. Even so, we can learn a great deal.

When I reflect on the major transitions throughout my life – various jobs, relationships, family dynamics – I have a tendency to quickly embrace what is next, without much thought given to healthy transition.

Now I know that my StrengthsFinder theme of Connectedness and Competition have been part of the problem as well as part of the solution. My Strength of Connectedness forms strong relationships with people and place. Transition not only interrupts this connection, but breaks these bonds, hurting me deeply, and takes a long time (and therapy) to heal.

My Strength of Competition sees each transition as a loss – no matter the outcome – and looks ahead to the new “game”… that has messy consequences for both people and place. (Yes, I am keeping score and I always feel like I am losing…I am still working on this). Without a doubt, my transactional approach to transition has not helped me relationally. It has only been through an internal reflection, conversations and learning that I have been able to understand how I can better prepare myself for transitions to come. What I have learned is that I need others to help me navigate the rough seas of personal and professional transition.

Why Is This Important?

Never underestimate the capacity of transition to provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to reconnect with people in new ways.

At Leadership Vision we recently completed a Strengths Communicator Training with a new cohort of twelve professionals. Interestingly, three of the twelve were participating while in personal and professional transition. One of the three chose to leave his job after being told he did not have a future within the organization. Another chose to leave her company after being told she needed to move to another city. The third chose to leave her company after it was bought by a larger company and her job became a redundancy. What stood out to me here was that each of these individuals spoke openly about their transition, and were choosing to experience transition within community. Here, I discovered a group of professionals who knew that relying on others through transition would be a generative way to leverage this time of moving from one thing to another.

Transition can be done alone or experienced with others

Whichever way you choose, professional transition and personal change provide a unique opportunity to learn about who you are, how you need relationships and what your capacities truly are. I believe that when we apply a Strengths lens to interpret and understand change, we can learn at depths greater than if we do not. It also will continue to teach us life lessons necessary to successfully navigating the coming changes.

StrengthsFinder During Transition

Strengths point to more than a person’s greatest potential. Strengths reveal our greatest unknown, our brokenness and our hope for growth discerning a way forward, identifying potential partnerships and leading to greater meaning and satisfaction. There are few experiences inviting us to face our unknown, brokenness and growth in the way that transition and change does. To explore this transformation, focus on the unique expression and reaction of your Strengths within your previous context.

Strengths have an incredible capacity to teach and re-teach us about who we are, how we relate to others and where we need to be next. This is known as the Provisional Capacity of Strengths.

Provisional Capacity refers to the timeless, generative application of Strengths – for the past, present and future. The capacity of Strengths provide a platform to learn – over and again – from past experiences, successes, failures, accomplishments and relationships. Strengths provide ongoing insight into the past and future, providing us with multi-dimensional learning and clarity.

How to Apply Your StrengthsFinder Themes

Transition will only provide transformation if we take time to remember and re-learn what we have already lived.

Let’s practice this personal exercise to engage our Provisional Capacity of Strengths. First, think of a recent professional transition or personal change, then ask yourself the following

  1. When did this happen?
  2. What were the circumstances?
  3. Who was involved?
  4. Where were you at the time?
  5. Why was / is this experience important for you to reflect upon?
  6. What Strengths did you rely on the most through this transition?
  7. What has become your greatest learning from this transition?

Whenever it is your time for personal or professional transition or personal change, take a moment to consider the Provisional Capacity of your Strengths. Share this process in a conversation with someone you trust, and ask them to share back with you what they think. Transformation is gradual and takes patience.

Use this personal exercise often so that no life lesson is lost.