As mentioned in the welcome page, you may be visiting this site as you are keen to explore your own transition challenges.
Alternatively, you may have arrived here with a military-to-civilian transition background.
Either way, your story is central to understanding and perhaps enhancing your transition experience.
Well, let’s begin by looking at why any story is important.
What’s in a transition story?
As children, we begin to learn and communicate by telling stories, and this tendency continues as adults. Whole industries are based on this most human of characteristics: we are surrounded by newspapers, books, comics, comedians, theatres, television, radio, cinema and adverts; all telling and selling us stories, and inviting us to buy, tell and sell our own.
Essentially, it through story that we attempt to understand our existence and guide ourselves in life; and this is particularly the case when we are confronting periods of significant transitional change.
These transitions, which can be experienced as significantly challenging disruptions, often cause us to instinctively review our current situations and even our whole lives. This review process can be subconscious or deliberate, but almost always takes the form of us revisiting and piecing our lives together in story form.
If we are finding it difficult to move on from events, we feel have caused disruption, then considering them in the wider context of our life story can help us build practical and emotional bridges over troubling these experiences, thereby restoring a sense of continuity and continued momentum in our lives.
But how can we do this?
Structuring the transition story: a question of chronology
Most stories tend to be chronological: they have a beginning, a middle and an end — as do our lives. In terms of ends, let’s consider them as goals. Determining our transition goals is likely to profit from a review of where we have come from and what we have learned and experienced along the way. It might also benefit from considering where we are now; and doing all of this is likely to place us in a far better position to determine where our life might take us in the future.
That future is also likely to be much more rewarding, fulfilling and meaningful, based on an assessment of the strengths, preferences and motivations we can harness and deploy; and what we might need to adjust and account for as we bring them to bear.
Therefore, writing a stimulating plan for our futures might begin by considering our:
- earliest memories;
- other childhood, youth and adult memories;
- high points in our lives (e.g. times, events, jobs we have really enjoyed/are most proud of);
- aspects of our lives we haven’t enjoyed so much, and
- turning points (or ‘light bulb’ moments).
A bit of transition theory…
From that, we can determine what motivates us and what self strengths we have, what our current situation is, what support is available to us, and what strategies we can use and develop to manoeuvre us into a motivating future. Transition theory calls these the transition ‘4S’ (after Schlossberg), and each might contain transition ‘assets’ and ‘liabilities’ (strengths and weaknesses). However, rather than focus on any apparent liabilities (these can be physical, financial, educational etc), the idea is to simply recognise them, and if necessary, manoeuvre beyond them by harnessing our assets.