Blog: Coping While in Limbo
Leadership Journey Levels:
Life is filled with change. Most of us will experience quite a few significant life altering changes in our lives and careers. Perhaps it’s a promotion, a new career path, a move to another city or the birth of a child. Transition is part of life.
These CAN be very exciting and welcome changes, however I’ve noticed that they all come with that “waiting period”. I dread this “limbo” because more often than not, I’m not fully in control of the situation but I can’t move forward till circumstances or decisions outside of my control are to be made. I feel the most anxiety and frustration in my life during these unavoidable limbo periods.
- Waiting for that position to open up so I can apply.
- Waiting for our employer to determine where we will be stationed next.
- Waiting for the opportunities of my next career to begin to come to fruition.
I have to imagine I’m not the only one that finds it difficult to be patient. However, I’ve learned that the more I fuss, or worry, or try to push the decisions and circumstances, the worse I feel. And strangely enough it seems like that limbo period is longer and more painful that if I had just let things unfold.
But let’s face it… I’m probably a little too ‘type A’ to just sit back and wait, so I’ll share with you some of the ACTIONS I have taken that do actually help to manage the stress of limbo and maybe make it just that much more tolerable.
Prepare – Do what you can to be ready for that change. Study and get that next degree or certification. Build your network and be open to the opportunities as they present themselves. Use this time wisely, because just waiting for the apples to appear won’t help when you haven’t planted the seeds.
Contingency Plan – In circumstances where there are factors or decision out of my control – I have found that if I plan for the 2-3 circumstances that COULD happen I felt more content to just wait and see which scenario comes to fruition. Knowing your bases are covered not only gives you ease that you can handle what ever comes your way, but it helps to keep your mind occupied while you wait!
Focus Inward – As I have moved from one career or one stage of life to the next, and found myself in the ‘development stage’ of that next step, one critical and rewarding ACTION I could take was to be more self-aware. Ask yourself: What did I learn from this previous career or stage in life? What did I love? What did I hate? What would I do more of? What will I change in the next stage? Take stock and set yourself up for a more informed and mindful next step.
Self-Care – Take time during this transition to take care of yourself. When we are stressed, we feel the effects physically in our bodies and minds. Keep up with, or start, a regular self-care routine that included a healthy diet, regular exercise and plenty of water. It’s often the first thing that we forget but is so critical to ability to cope with that stress!
Spend Time with your Passions – Do more of the things that make you happy. What are the things that make you light up? Deliberately spend more time doing these things when in limbo. Your spirit will be fed and you will have less time to worry. Explore those things you never had time to or wish you had. You might even find a way to incorporate them more regularly into your next big stage in life.
Limbo can feel terrible because it’s a time of inaction and waiting for the next big thing… these ACTIONS, while not changing the situation, make good use of that time by lessening stress and focusing on what you CAN do!