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Gotham Leadership Consulting
  New York City, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale & Singapore

Surviving Transitions

This post was written by LUKE PEREIRA, our colleague in Singapore. Click on the “About Us” tab to learn more about him. 


Dec 31st 2017 was the wettest New Years Eve Singapore had seen in years. A monsoon surge in the South China Sea brought an unusually heavy deluge but it did nothing to dampen the spirit of the New Year. The fireworks were spectacular, the mood was still festive and hey, at least it wasn’t snowing.


Like most people I took stock of the year and tried to find the resolutions I penned down this time the year before. Looking back on 2017, my wife and I welcomed twin boys, moved into our new apartment and our careers were still intact heading into 2018, but we lost family members, close friends and amazing colleagues.


Nothing in school ever prepared us for parenthood. The “onboarding” manual for home ownership was a blur of mortgage repayments, insurances and renovation guidelines that were tedious to read let alone understand. And I found myself reflecting on my job and how competitive I would need to be in order to keep my spot on my team.


Then it dawned on me that in spite of the calendar date, the reality was that I was in transition. Constantly. In any capacity imaginable, transitions aren’t easy. Whether you’re starting anew, closing a chapter on a professional or personal relationship, or simply trying to weather the unexpected storm, here are 5 things that could help in surviving any transition:


  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.

On the morning of Jan 1st 2018, I read a tweet that went “done f***ed up already, 2019 my year for sure!” I laughed but then thought about all the perfect expectations I had for the year before and how little control I had over the good and horrible things. Few things happen exactly according to plan. Take responsibility for your actions and have realistic expectations but be sure to make room for allowances. You’ll be surprised how blessings often exceed expectations and how disappointments hurt less, when you don’t expect perfection.


  • Take stock of the things you have, not the stuff you want.

Being grateful for the things you have, is probably the best way to put the things you want into perspective. It’s all too easy to take for granted your health, family, friends and other resources for a temporary or frivolous win. Begin your morning by thinking of the things that you’re truly grateful for. You’ll discover your focus becomes clearer, your decisions more honest and how it is possible to tackle any situation with the resources you already possess.


  • Keep a routine.

In his address to the University of Texas that has since gone viral, Admiral William McRaven spoke about how the simple act of making the bed every morning made it possible to bounce back from any unforeseen situation by simply going through a well-established routine. I recommend making the bed, while thinking of things you’re grateful for.


  • Seek valid and reliable information.

Disbelief was my initial reaction to having twins. Not joy, not worry, I simply didn’t believe it for a good long minute. No onboarding procedure can completely address any role, and often times it can be quite shocking no matter how good your interview questions were. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, communicate with the people you trust most but keep your eyes open to the task in front of you and be flexible to the new information. Most things are learnt on the job.


  • Enjoy the ride.

Some people wait for a transition in order to make them happy. You’ve probably heard “I’ll be happy if only…” and then use that as an excuse to be miserable. The journey is complicated, and perhaps there are things that would make you happier “if only…” but waiting around is an awful waste of time. There are so many forces at play in any life transition that it might help if view moving from situation to situation as one giant adventure. The entire journey is not based on one event, number or phase. Make the most of it where you can.