I am in a season of transition right now, which is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. This year I am planning the growth of one business while cooking up a new business venture. I’m exploring new training options and wondering how to manage my existing responsibilities with the new endeavors of the near future. I don’t want to stop moving forward, but sometimes staying within the confines of my comfort zone seems awfully appealing.
I love looking forward to new adventures, but with every new adventure comes the uncertainty of entering uncharted territory. Every time I do a new thing, pursue a new goal, or explore a new direction, I build on the skills I already have and figure out new skills I need to succeed. It is a perpetual cycle of development.
Developing new skills is a worthwhile endeavor, but it is also time consuming. The first time I do a new thing, it always takes me longer. Since I don’t know what I’m doing yet, and I haven’t practiced the process, each step is slow and deliberate. There are often a few missteps thrown in for good measure too. Sometimes I get frustrated with my slow progress or mistakes. I might even wonder if the new endeavor is worth the learning curve.
In the process, I acquire new skills, but the real life lesson is in the times I have to dust myself off and try again. Recently, Dr. Deb Buenting commented that earning her doctorate was not an exercise in intelligence but rather a demonstration of persistence. I think this could be said of most major accomplishments. I once had an acting instructor who said success as an actor depended on three factors: talent, luck, and diligence. He said all three had to be present to make acting a career. This lesson goes beyond acting.
With any career path, we need to be good at what we do, the right doors need to open at the right time, and we have to be willing to keep trying until we make it. These are the ingredients for success. When all three come together, the result is exciting and satisfying. We make something new, serve our clients in better ways, or improve processes with new innovations. Our job along the way is to develop our skills and keep trying.
Entering a season of transition is a good reminder and motivator to put these principles into action. If I’ve become complacent, transitions offer the opportunity to sharpen my skills and add to them. If I’ve stopped pursuing new projects, transitions create a fresh start to try something new and persevere until it’s finished. As uncertain as transitions can feel, they are truly opportunities for growth, transformation, and greater success.