Being a mum is a blast, but I’ve always known that I wanted to be a career mum. So now baby Charlie is old enough to fend without me all day, every day, I am saying goodbye to full time motherhood (and my trackpants) and returning to lead the team at FizzPopBANG NZ.
On top of this momentous personal change in my life, I am faced with returning to a world of work that looks very different to the one I left behind in 2020. Being a global company, FizzPopBANG has evolved, adapted and recreated itself to cope with the uncertainty of the pandemic. The amazing UK team have curated over 20 new products and sessions designed to support our global clients as they adapt to the challenges COVID-19 posed to their business, culture and people. And I thought I’d been busy…hats off to you lot!
HOW DO I MAKE SENSE OF ALL THIS CHANGE, ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT I'VE BEEN THROUGH AND TRANSITION INTO THE FUTURE?
As I was swatting up on the newly created FizzPopBANG sessions, I came across Bridges Transition Model which explores the human side of change. I decided to pretend I was an attendee at one of our sessions and through completing the activities within 90 minutes, I’m in a completely different head space about my personal crisis.
William Bridges talks about the difference between change and transitions:
“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational: the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, the new policy (the dumping of the baby at a nursery and going back to work). Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal.”
Exploding head emoji.
For me, I was super excited about getting time back to running FizzPopBANG NZ, my newfound freedom and to use my brain again. But the moment I dropped Charlie at childcare this week I was shocked at the extreme emotional response I had – terrible guilt, longingness and an almost crippling fear for both him and me. When I actually made the physical change of leaving Charlie for the first time and heading to the office, it was the transition of coming to terms with the reality of the change that threw me the curve ball. Bridges talks about how every transition begins with endings and today I am definitely mourning the time we had together, as I hadn’t taken the time to sit with what I was leaving behind.
Now, as I write this blog, I am in what Bridges refers to as “the neutral zone” – and this is a tough place to be because it’s a confusing nowhere of in betweenness. As a classic “over-functioner” I find it a lot easier “to do, than to feel”. I naturally jump into serious action mode rather than sitting with my emotional needs and feeling vulnerable. This morning I decided that rather than jumping into work, I would do the FizzPopBANG session activities, explore what I’ve learnt and what I actually want for the future. FizzPopBANG looks very different to what I left months ago, and I need to spend time to find my way to the new beginning.
For me, writing helps give me clarity of thought by capturing the emotions that speed around my mind and locking them down on paper so I can process them. We all have our own ways of dealing with endings – what’s yours?
WHEN YOU REACH A CHANGE AND TRANSITION IN YOUR LIFE, YOU MAY LIKE TO:
Give yourself time to explore your feelings around the change (in order to transition we must first identify what you are losing and learn how to manage this loss).
Figure out what you want to let go of to help you move forward.
Consider what the opportunity is that you should be aspiring to?
Ensure you have a clear vision of your bright new future – an understanding of your purpose, the part you play and how to contribute to this new beginning.
This process has been pretty cathartic. By sharing my emotional journey from motherhood to career mum I have gained clarity around my feelings of transition and how different they were to what I had imagined about the change.
We all have our own individual psychological response to change, and the impact of every change will be felt differently for every person. You may have been through a similar change to me and have a completely different experience of transition … but whenever those big changes come for you, I wish you well with your journey.