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It's Transition Time. Three Ways to Move On and Up!

Mindset Made Simple Tip #159 – Watch or listen HERE.

It’s transition time. My Mom hated the end of summer (so do I!). I think, in part, it was that she loved the sun (so do I!). But she claimed it was because she loved having us home for the summer. Most parents were looking forward to school bells ringing. It made her sad.

This is such a sweet thought on the 7th anniversary of her passing. It makes me smile and cry all at once. It’s funny she felt this way because she loved school. She loved teaching and everything about learning.

But she hated transitions. Most of us do.

Some of us are in for major transitions over the next few weeks. My sister’s kids start school tomorrow. As we were driving to get dinner last night, she was talking about her anxiety surrounding her kids returning to class.

She’s not going to school, but she HATED the transition from summer to school days much more than my mom did. I walked her to school when we were kids. She walked right back home…often!

New beginnings…and every school day is one…are not her thing.

Everyone on your team is in for something new as they arrive on campus this month. A completely new experience. A new role. New expectations. New, new, new!

And new, new, new means change, change, change!

And our brains do not like change, even when it makes us better!


Transitions are inevitable. How can we manage them in a way that allows us to be our best?

First, we must realize that new situations ARE GOING TO FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE! And discomfort often puts us in a negative mindset. Physical work is often uncomfortable, too (or maybe this is the transition we wish we could avoid), but as we know, this is where we find growth…in our muscles, our speed, our skills and our grit.

But rile up some emotional or mental discomfort and we want to run the other way even faster than we want to run from the treadmill or burpees! When we get stuck focusing on what isn’t the same or the fear of what may come (our what ifs!), we are setting ourselves up for a long and tough road and we perpetuate those yucky feelings.

The crazy thing is that our mindset is more affected by the stories we tell ourselves about what is about to happen or what has already happened that affects our ability to adjust than the actual situation that requires us to adapt, change or grow.

One way we can help those around us in transition is to point them toward a shift in their mindset by focusing on all the ways they can succeed in this new situation. What can go right? How many ways can they thrive? Have them write them down, think them through and then think about the skills and experience they have used in the past to perform well or have helped them move through other new and different opportunities.

Once we begin thinking of ways to succeed, we find them. This beats our tendency to scan for problems. Searching for issues, whether to prove to ourselves or others that the situation doesn’t deserve our effort “undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our motivation and ability to accomplish goals.” (Achor, 2010).

Another way to productively manage transitions is to focus on the little things we can control and work on tackling one small challenge at a time.

Perceived control matters, even if it is over the smallest things. In a study conducted in a nursing home, Langer and Rodin found that residents who could arrange their furniture, had a plant to care for and were told they had more autonomy were healthier and lived longer than those who were told the staff was there to take care of them and their plants.

What small things can we manage in this new space? What is one thing we can accomplish that will make us more adept at operating in our new circumstances? Whatever it is that we can control or accomplish will remind us that our actions matter. What we do shapes what happens next.

Our decisions…followed by acting on them…determines our destiny!

Finally, when we get stressed, we tend to isolate. Transition times demand the opposite…if we want to succeed that is! Instead of holing up in our office or our new dorm room, it’s time to get out and connect.

Back to more old people research, it is well known that relationships play a bigger role in longevity than any other healthy thing you can think of. If they help us live longer, why, then would they not help us manage something new? Finding ways to help those we lead connect is key to a successful transition.

You can take this transition mindset shifter a few steps further with other research, too. How about throwing in a goal of everyone paying it forward with random acts of kindness throughout a tough week or encouraging your newbies to find ways to help others cope? When we are helping others we reduce our stress and even boost our immune system.

And one last shout-out to research on the elderly, data collected between 1990 and 2009 in the Berlin Aging Study found that older adults who showed helpful and supportive behaviors to others lived 57% longer than those who did not. So get to helping 😊!

Transitions are often hard and often wrought with emotion. Instead of telling ourselves unhelpful and usually untrue stories or seeking out issues that make us long for our old, yet comfortable circumstances, there are so many ways to manage what is in front of us.

Aside from thinking of all the ways we can succeed and the skills we have to do so, thinking about what we can control and how to tackle the little things one at a time and leaning into and helping others, if we can simply think about what is in front of us RIGHT NOW, we will often find we are just fine where we are. It’s when we allow our minds to travel too far ahead or behind that we find ourselves thinking about problems. It isn’t often that we are faced with something RIGHT NOW that we cannot do something about or figure it out.

Our bodies can only perform in the moment, and we need our minds to be there, too, to be our best. If we can train ourselves to do these things…and they are all trainable skills or habits…we will be saying “BRING IT ON” to our next transition and getting ahead in the meantime!

It’s transition time and now is the time to manage them…and the moments!


P.S. Hire me to work with your team for one day or all year. Let’s put together a mental training plan that works for your team. Shoot me an email at and let’s get started before 2023-24 program pricing increase begin!

Julie Jones

Mental Performance Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946


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