Closing the Past to an Energized Future

By Bob Rausch, Ph.D.

It’s imperative that you close the mental, emotional and physical door on your previous employment or team association. If you carry any anger, frustration, fear or regret into your transition it will decrease your energy and establish a pattern that will negatively affect your new position.  Here are some steps to close the door and refocus personal energy:

  1. Say “Good-Bye” – figuratively and literally. DO NOT leave without telling superiors or team members that you appreciated the opportunity to be a part of the organization. This is especially important if you feel you have been “wronged” in some way. If you can’t say good-bye in person write the person(s) a note and express it in writing.
  2. Make leaving “Impersonal” – Don’t take leaving personal. I know it was personal because it happened to you, but once it’s over let it go. Feeling like the victim only serves to create frustration and anger, not to mention draining a great deal of energy that can be used for more profitable activities.
  3. Walk-away benefits – Make a list of the benefits you gained from that experience, even if it’s only the money you earned. List things you learned as a result of your job or from people you worked with. Who did you learn from and what did you learn?
  4. Walk-away limitations – What did you need to do differently in that last position? Make a list of areas of improvement. You might find ways to improve from a performance evaluation or recall comments or suggestions from co-workers or superiors.
  5. Define and Refocus – Go to the dictionary and look up the definition of a transition. Using that definition and the information from the previous steps define what you want to accomplish during this transition. What are you going to focus on? Are there skills you need to learn or behaviors you need to improve upon?
  6. Establish clear and concise intentions – Once you know what you are going to focus on write down concise statements about each of them. These work best if they are simple, explicit, and action statements, for example, I am going to learn better conflict resolution skills, I am going to learn how to communicate more effectively, or I want to develop better listening skills.

Following these six steps will help you get the most out of the transition you are experiencing. Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes Magazine stated, “Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always makes you less than you are.”

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