Life and Leadership Transitions

by Kylie Butler

[3 minute read]

 

Over the past 12 months leaders have grappled with some of their greatest life and leadership challenges, not just the challenge of leading their organisation through a global crisis, but also themselves, their families and their teams. None of us anticipated 2020 to turn out the way it did, and many leaders in the first few months of 2021 find themselves exhausted, stretched, with low energy and overwhelmed from last year.

Not surprisingly, new research suggests that 40% of the workforce will be seeking (either required to seek or by choice) new jobs in the next 2 years. That’s a large number of the workforce moving.

Terry Walling, author of the book “Stuck; navigating the transitions of life and leadership”[1] identifies six (6) characteristics that may signal that you are entering a transition:

  • Persistent restlessness
  • Isolation, even in the midst of a crowd
  • Internal confusion
  • External conflict
  • Hunger to hear God – yet He is silent
  • Inability to move forward or change the situation

The presence of three (3) or more may indicate you are entering a transition.

When we realise that we are entering a “transition” our heart cries out to hear from God, to seek His direction and leading. Where would He have us go? What would He like us to do next? But… He is sometimes silent. This can cause further restlessness and frustration. We want to rush a transition, to get through to the other side. Transitions are uncomfortable seasons – often with feelings of anxiety, confusion, numbness, self-doubt and anger.

But sometimes, God is not ready to speak to us about the “doing”, the “role” or the “job”. He is inviting us to deeper intimacy with Him, calling us to do some ‘deep work’. Transitions are a function God uses in a leader’s life, to demonstrate obedience, integrity and faith. God may use transitions to refine and grow us.

Terry Walling suggests that “transitions happen in order to help leaders:

  1. Clarify their values and convictions
  2. Clarify their contribution to others
  3. Heal the past and bring new options and opportunities for the future

Without transitions, leaders would arrest and plateau in their development.”

Questions to reflect on if you think you may be entering a transition:

  • What have been the indicators in the past that you were in a transition?
  • What are you doing to process your transition?
  • What is your biggest fear about the transition?
  • Who can you honestly share with about your potential transition?

There is good news! Even with all the challenges that come with transitions. Transitions will come to an end, with renewed hope and the courage to face old challenges. The key to a transition is to gain all that God has for you as you go through the transition.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding. Agree with Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.


[1] https://terrywallingleaderbreakthru.wordpress.com/stuck-the-book/