As human beings, we all go through multiple transitions in our lives. Since I am personally going through a challenging one right now, I thought I would share some thoughts.
Transitions, whether chosen or forced, are particularly difficult when you are moving on from something you have put all your heart, soul, belief, effort, and time into. It is doubly hard when it is not just you but a dedicated, loving, high-functioning team who believes in a common vision that has put in all that effort. People matter immensely.
For all who have gone through difficult transitions, these can serve as crucibles. Self reflection at times of transition can be additionally focused and energized through these crucibles.
Here’s my take on the personal front. It doesn’t have any business or leadership wisdom, but is focused on personal insights which I believe are relatively generalizable.
Love: Find people to love, do things you love. Create small communities of people and work that engage you emotionally and fill your soul and spirit. DO NOT spend time on things you do not love and people who do not resonate with you. Be careful about scale that is depersonalizing.
Uniqueness : Be part of groups and organizations that celebrate and nurture your uniqueness. Stay away from those who do the opposite and force conformity, regardless of what their public persona might look like. Your uniqueness is what makes you a creative human being.
Happiness : This only comes from within. It is easier if you are doing the other two things related to love and uniqueness. DO NOT try to get happiness from external things, that will not only be fleeting but will also be like an addictive drug with progressively increasing dosages needed for the “high” and with only one undesirable final result.
The rest of life is just details — deadlines, commitments, ego satisfaction, peer pressure, “shoulds” and “wants”!
Now all this advice isn’t for folks who have the triple of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy that seems to serve so many so well in being in positions of influence in various organizations, which I guess is more an issue with the systems that celebrate and encourage this archetype than with these people. They dont need love, uniqueness, or happiness, and are often fueled by insecurity, ego, fear, jealousy and greed.
This is also not for those amazing hypersensitive, ultra-creative types — how they are able to transform personal torment and pain into something beautiful that benefits the world at large is incredible and yet inexplicable. Somehow societal benefits and personal pain can coexist in such tormented yet brilliant people.
It is for the rest — with some sense of conscience, some sensitivity, and some desire to do good around us and also be supported or acknowledged for it in some form.
Even my amazing young kids have internalized this message — they repeat back what I told them “help people, keep learning, have fun”, and now even at their tender ages have advanced this message to “love, uniqueness, happiness”.
I wish I had had the opportunity to learn this early in my life. For those with young children, I really encourage that you use this message for your children — they will appreciate it and so will the world that they end up creating and being part of.
So, back to transitions. Sometimes, to paraphrase (and misquote!) a great role model and technology leader and friend I would have loved to work for and with, it’s time to “hit reset”. And if that soft reset doesn’t work, to turn the power off and back on and hopefully to see something fresh and different.
Thank you to those whose advice, support, love, and efforts have helped so much at these times. Love, uniqueness, happiness!