Transition is never easy. It is hard to transition well, but we can look around us and learn from others to make our leaving a blessing and not a curse.
I have transitioned out of a few jobs but I feel like I’ve only done one transition well.
In 2011, Joey Defrancesco recruited an entire marching band to help him announce that he was leaving his hotel job, due to working conditions. It’s probably not the best way to transition out, but it drew attention to issues. You can find the link to the video here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A4UGtM4hDQ
Back in episode 465, I talked about how we all need to set aside times to rest and also set a time to start back. I also shared that we all need seasons to rest or we will burn out.
Today I talk about the next steps. You see sometimes taking sabbaticals or even vacations are not enough. Sometimes we have give things up or step back. But there are right ways and wrong ways to transition.
I know things happen for a reason. A lot of these transitions started earlier in the year. So when I sat down in August to write a SILY episode, transitioning well was fresh on my mind. I had no clue that the very podcast I was writing for would be transitioning away. But I’m thankful for the lessons in transitioning well.
There are times when we feel called to start something. Projects, jobs, ministries, and more can be started or joined out of a sense of calling. We feel like we were meant to do this. We were meant to be a part and we were excited. That makes it so much harder to transition.
But the hard fact is as much as we feel called to be some place; we are not going to be there forever. So here are some lessons I’m learning from folks who are in the midst of a transition and are doing it well.
First of all, we need to be fully there when we are there. Just because something will end, does not mean we can hold back. Life comes in seasons. Just because Winter will arrive does not mean we cannot enjoy the weather, leaves, and activities of Fall. The best life is lived fully in the season we are in.
Second, living fully in the season does not mean we can’t plan for our transition out and for the next season. In the working world, we are told from the start to think about, plan for, and save for retirement. We can and need to think about our next steps and set goals for them.
Third, we need to leave or step back well. Don’t get me wrong; we need to work to make ourselves valuable to our jobs and organizations. But if we truly care, we don’t want them to fail or falter because we are transitioning. That means investing time in others, passing along our skills, and helping others have the vision!
Lastly, we have to know ourselves and know when it is time to transition out. We are not helping our families, our organizations, or ourselves if we work ourselves into a breakdown.
Let me share about how I’m learning these things. I’m a guy who likes a good plan, but am not great at planning. I knew that, after serving at president of my local professional organization for three years and as secretary for several years before that, I was burning out. I knew I wanted to transition well and let some new blood take up leadership.
As a past president, I have the opportunity to help the new president and give advice. So I notified folks, well before elections, of my intentions to step back and transition to a smaller roll. Elections were held and a new president was elected. I’m looking forward to helping, but not having the full weight and responsibilities on my shoulders.
I’m a part of a Christian arts studio. The owners founded it 22 years ago with a vision and a drive. They have brought in great people who are good at their rolls. I’m blessed to have served for 17 years there. But the founding couple has gotten worn thin, due to changing seasons of life. They know they cannot continue in a way that is best. They thought long and hard, prayed for and sought out wisdom, and made a decision. They are going to close the studio and let a new work start up. It will be a work that will not have to live up to the expectations of the current studio on the first year. They are in no doubt that people have the vision to continue the work in new and exciting ways.
But they, at first, decided to just close down. They let the staff know. While we understood their reasons, we were devastated to say the least. It was like a death! They realized that it was not the best way to transition well. They saw that they needed to give time for a new work to rise up and provide for the students. They sought the staff’s help to take some of the weight off of their shoulders. We are having a final year, but are making it smaller and more focused.
The other group I’m learning from is the leaders at my church. Instead of one person at the top, we have a group of elders. They all have an equal voice and their responsibilities differ some so that they can walk out their gifts. They knew that the church is not theirs, but the Lords. But to be the best stewards of the church they had to plan for the future. They decided to make a transition plan that included emergencies, moves, and big life events. A big part of the transition plan was recognizing the abilities of others in the church. Then bringing on those called to be elders. It means training, discipleship, long conversations and more. But in the end we will have double the number of elders and steady leadership for years to come!
I can’t close the podcast about transitioning well with out mentioning Darrell. Darrell has been a part of many podcasts and when he made the decision to transition out of SILY he did it well. He let the host know ahead of time and then let all of you know. It’s given us an opportunity to share and talk together about what SILY has meant to us. It gave the host the opportunity to do the SILY roundtable. It’s been great and as sad as hearing SILY is leaving is, it just means we have a greater calling to stay connected. Though the Facebook group and however we connect via social media. Let’s transition well from being a weekly podcast of friends, to friends who communicate via social media and in person. Let’s take the lesions we have learned on SILY by sharing and listening and apply them to our daily life. And once again thanks Darrell for helping us transition well.
What I Learned Yesterday:
So what have I learned? To transition well requires planning for the future. It means that we have to look beyond ourselves and see the bigger picture. We also need to look beyond ourselves and see the gifts and abilities in others. We cannot be replaced, but others can take up our responsibilities and vision and continue on with excellence! Lastly, we need to pass the flame on and not burn out.
For my last time this has been Geoff Gentry and this has been Stuff I Learned Yesterday.
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