"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly". Richard Buckminster Fuller
- Do you know who you really are?
- Have you unlocked your fullest potential?
- What comes up for you when you hear the word transition?
- What are the feelings that arise within?
- What physical sensations do you feel in your body?
- Do you experience an expansion and joy when you hear the word or do you feel your gut tighten and your chest contract?
MOST INDIVIDUALS do not embrace change and transitions well. We often hear – why can’t things go back to the way they were, or why rock the boat, or some variation on that theme. Embracing change is often difficult because it throws us into the sea of transition and the tides of uncertainty, ambiguity, and the depths of the unknown. Rather than going with the current that can purge the old self into new opportunities, insight, and self-actualization, fear arises, resulting is a resistance to flowing into unchartered territories of the undiscovered self.
As an executive coach, one of the joys and challenges I encounter is when someone is in transition, either from one organization to another or moving up in their current organization. There is a sweet spot of re-creating one-self during this time. When changing jobs and/or positions, this person in transition is often more open to swimming in the waves of change and self-actualization because they are usually the one who initiated their conversion.
Abraham Maslow described 18 characteristics of self-actualizers and 7 behaviors leading to self-actualization. Of these characteristics and behaviors, these are the ones that are vital during transitions and what I often focus upon and challenge during the coaching sessions:
- They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty
- Problem-centered (not self-centered)
- Able to look at life objectively
- Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths
- Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up
These particular 5 points all fall under the category of the EQi – 2.0 assessment of self-perception, which encompasses three areas – self-regard, self-actualization, and emotional self-awareness. Whenever we are in transition, it is an opportunity to take a deep look into ourselves and challenge our self-perception. It is also a time to look at the common issue that keeps being mentioned in performance reviews.
I am currently working with an individual who is in the process of interviewing and wanting to move up into a VP position. Our work together has been one of identifying and owning his strengths, changing the way he acts, the way he perceives himself, the way he expresses himself, and changing his patterns of thinking. We are exploring in-depth his self-perception as the door to unlock his fullest potential.
He took the EQi – 2.0 assessment and even though these three areas – self-regard, self-actualization, and emotional self-awareness scored high, he still needed development and strengthening so that he would perform and interview with unbridled self-confidence.
One of the key areas we worked on was his mindset. Often moving up into a VP position can be daunting and he admitted he was a bit nervous. As he approached two different interviews, we explored how to walk in with confidence and with the mindset of a VP. He was an avid learner and as we worked, I watch the inner caterpillar transform into a butterfly right before my eyes. What a joy to take part in the chrysalis moment that transformed my client into a VP. The inner leader emerged full of confidence and strength. There is a leader in all of us and we do not have to wait for the title to be a leader.
In the book by Steven R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Powerful Lessons in Personal Change he wrote:
"To change ourselves effectively,
we first had to change our perceptions."
My client changed his self-perception and was a star performer in both his interviews. He wrote to me after the interviews stating that he was in command (a concept that he grasped early on in our sessions) and had great confidence. He stated that our work together resulted in giving him-self permission to be authentic, confident, and believe in his strengths. We often do not own our own strengths. As a coach, identifying one’s strengths allows one to stand upon that foundation and consciously bring awareness to them in a different light. He also informed me that he spoke assertively.
If we break down the mindset of a VP, it is about being:
- in command
- being authentic
- being confident
- knowing and owning one’s strengths
- speaking assertively
In his conclusion, he was aware that he could make a stronger and better decision about his path with his increased confidence. This final quality, being able to make decisions with increased clarity, makes a great leader exemplary. After reading the email, I realized that my client had a peak experience in both interviews. Who walks away from interviews with that sensation? For the record, peak experiences are another characteristic of self-actualization not mentioned earlier.
If my client re-took the EQi – 2.0 assessment, although his scores in self-perception were above the mean, I am sure he would see an increase beyond his original results. We can always push past our own parameters and exceed our successes through continuing the journey of self-actualization. To paraphrase the profound work of Carl Jung, the transformation journey is an ongoing process, in which there is no end, which equates to multiple chrysalis moments.
I offer a complimentary coaching session to uncover your fullest potential. To learn more about the EQi – 2.0 assessment, and schedule your coaching session, please email me at:
Thank you for reading this article. I welcome all likes and comments to forward the discourse on transitions and transformation.