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transformation vs. transition: reframe for optimal growth

What’s the difference between transformation and transition, and why is it important to reframe for optimal growth?

Transition is change, it’s movement. 

Transformation is evolution, it’s growth. 

With the right tools you can embrace change to empower evolution. You can use the momentum of transition, as an opportunity to evoke transformation.

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. — ANAIS NIN

Here are four ways to shift your mindset in moments of transition to inspire transformation: Stillness, Destination, Safety + Inventory.

Stillness

Transformation, of any kind, needs a safe space to be quiet. Be still. It’s in this silence you learn most. In times of change you have to learn to be still with pain, frustration, overwhelm, confusion —  be still even with joy. Instead of filling your head with noise, advice, and information — even if it’s positive, you must use this time to differentiate between the noise and the light. It’s in this quiet, in this stillness, where your answers lie. You need the time and space to process all the information that you receive. Less thinking, more thought. You need to give yourself the opportunity to figure it out. Maybe not perfectly at first but just enough to get the muscles moving, to deepen your reflection abilities and to generate insight. This space will allow you to transform your knowledge into wisdom. Suddenly when you connect to that space, the brain simmers down, and it can differentiate the fear voice and your real voice.

Ask yourself: How can I make room for stillness?

Purpose

Transition focuses on destination, but transformation focuses on purpose. Instead of locking yourself into a static vision, anchor yourself in understanding your why. Why are you on this journey in the first place? What is the purpose? Try and connect to a feeling: how do I want to feel on this journey, how do I want to feel a year from now? Find the excitement, joy and purpose in the change. Use a storyboard, vision board, or journal, to connect to an ideal state and space you want to reach. Find ways to connect with the journey by understanding the purpose behind your destination.

Ask yourself: Why am I going through this transition? What do I hope to find at the other end? How will it connect me with my purpose, and increase my fulfillment and impact? How can connecting to my why empower my transformation?

Safety

Transformation is not an all or nothing game. You can hold on to parts of the past and parts of yourself that still serve you, and that still add value. As you are evolving, and maybe having some oh so natural growing pains, it’s okay to take a ‘safety blanket’ along. Take something, someone, a part of you, that gives you comfort, support, and makes you feel safe. Need some examples of ‘safety blankets’? 

Here are two:

E.g. Imagine you are renovating your home and it’s taking way too long, and you are feeling overwhelmed and dislocated. Ask yourself: what is one thing that made me feel at home? Let’s say it was Saturday morning pancakes. Take that and incorporate it, so every Saturday you and your family go to a diner for pancakes to keep up the tradition while your home is in chaos to reimage a sense of tradition.

E.g. Imagine you just moved in with someone, or you just got married or have a newborn. You feel your sense of independence invaded. You feel you are living a life for others and losing parts of yourself. Ask yourself: what are three things from my ‘single’ life that I truly miss? Start by picking one of them, like going to see live music, and reintegrate it into your life.

Ask yourself: Which parts of myself am I proud of? Which parts ground me and make me feel safe? How can these parts help support and ease my transformation?

Inventory

You can do hard things, and you’ve done hard things before. Maybe not exactly like this, but other things, so take inventory. Rootless affirmations won’t get you anywhere. The brain is an amazing BS detector. However, if you remind it that you have done hard things, that you’ve evolved, changed, and transitioned before, this gives your brain and the affirmation a foundation to stand on and makes real change possible.

Ask yourself: What’s an example(s) in my life that demonstrates my ability to show up to a challenge and thrive? What did I do? How did I make myself proud?

When you start to crack open, don’t waste a moment gathering your old self up into something like you knew before. Let your new self splash like sunlight into every dark place and laugh and cry and make sounds you never made and thank all that is holy for the gift, because now you have no choice but to let all your love spill out into the world. — BRIAN ANDREAS

May your transformation surprise you, excite you and take you on ever-expanding adventures. 

Ayla Vejdani, MA, ACC
@msiamayla
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