Have you recently decided to shift gears or make a change in your life? Anything from learning a new language to changing jobs or your career can be both exciting and frightening at the same time. Why?

You can prepare but you can’t always control the pace of your progress.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary transition means “passage from one state, stage, subject or place to another (i.e., change)”. Some of the synonyms for transition include development, alteration and the word shift, which is where I’ll focus for a few minutes.

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck behind someone who’s new to driving a car with a manual transmission (aka stick shift)? It gets obvious pretty quickly when you’re on a hill and they start to drift backwards.

There’s no way to avoid this newbie because you’re on a two-lane road and can’t pull around them. So you sit helplessly -- watching and waiting for impact.

Sometimes you may feel, regardless of your efforts, your progress has slowed to a crawl. Let me remind you... even though you’re only inching along (like in rush hour traffic) and it feels like you’re sitting still - you’re NOT.

So STOP being so hard on yourself!

Even when a shift or transition is positive it doesn’t happen without detours.

Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking we have to be “perfect” even when we know that’s unrealistic.

Follow a Process

When you’re trying to learn new skills or brush off old ones (like interviewing for a job in a new arena or starting a business) you need to remind yourself there’s a process, and possibly a learning curve to get from points A to Z.

Every goal requires a process. Occasionally, the sequence doesn’t matter, but usually doing things out of order take much longer and that’s when you are able to execute the steps that way.

Using my car example, I never thought of myself as being well coordinated, but despite that perception I still had to follow a specific sequence of steps.

After starting the car, I had to put it in gear to drive it. I had to depress the clutch, then shift to first gear, depress the clutch, shift to second gear and so on as my speed increased. All the while I had to maintain consistent acceleration with my right foot.

The first few weeks were mentally exhausting - probably the way you’re feeling as you learn a new skill (language or instrument), search for a new job, prepare yourself for a new career or business, etc.

Eventually, you’ll discover your rhythm and won’t have to think about each step. Once you have a plan, you’ll have a better idea what you need, and how to get there.

Just remember, you aren’t the first person learn how to fill in the blank. There’s only one way overcome your hindrances. You have to be willing start over even when you have temporary failures.

People Who Overcame

Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything” as a child and even fired from his first two jobs because he wasn’t his productivity was didn’t meet the standards set by his employers.

Lucille Ball was seemingly a late bloomer as an entertainer but “I Love Lucy” has been in syndication for decades. She also ended up being the first woman to run a TV production company (Desilu Productions).

Walt Disney failed and declared bankruptcy before forming the Walt Disney Company.

Oprah Winfrey is one of the celebrities who uses both her first and last names but is known worldwide by only her first name. Yet, she’s been very open about the multiple episodes of molestation and rape she endured as a child. Still she overcame those traumatic experiences as well as several in her professional life before launching her Oprah show which ran for 25 years. Of course, she started her OWN Network after walking away from her popular Chicago-based show.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States endured many public defeats, as well as private ones. Before he was elected president in 1860, he experienced devastating events such as his sweetheart dying, business failure, a nervous breakdown and political losses.

Read more inspiring stories here:

Despite situations that would have deterred many people, these leaders in their fields persevered. They stayed focused on their goals rather than dwelling on their defeats or being deterred by them.

When they experienced failure they kept going. Use their examples to inspire you. Your goal may not be life-saving but it can be life-changing, which means somebody is waiting for you to step up and tell people what you have and how you can help them improve their lives, their businesses, etc.

In summary:

Shifting gears can be both thrilling and scary at the same time, but transition allows us to find more fulfillment as we enrich the lives of others.

Sometimes we are Our Own Worst Enemy.

It's important to remind yourself when you set a goal, it doesn’t mean the achieving it will be all smooth sailing. You may stumble and even feel like giving up occasionally.

Although, it may be intimidating the most direct path to attaining our goals can be met by following these steps:

  • Identify your goal.
  • Picture yourself achieving it.
  • Implement your plan.
  • Be patient with yourself during the process.
  • Reach your goal!

Share in the comments the one goal you are working on right now.

Have you encountered obstacles? If so, how have you motivated yourself to keep going rather than allowing them to stop your progress?

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