“Innumerable confusions and a feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological and cultural transition” – Marshall McLuhan
And, I would argue, during periods of great personal transition.
2016 has been an interesting year for many of my colleagues and friends.
- New jobs
- New relationships
- New definitions within old relationships
- New businesses
- New towns
In each transition, whether good or bad, there is a period of grieving for what was lost and throughout there is the underlying fear of the unknown.
- “Maybe it’s not so bad here. I could stick it out.” And then something happens that tells me that the pain of staying the same is going to be greater than the pain of change.
- “What if this new thing is WORSE than the old?”
- “What if I screw this up?”
- “What have I gotten myself into?!?!”
I’ve had every single one of these thoughts over the past year as I left my 8.5 year University job to become an independent business owner. And, at the same time, changing my primary professional identity from an eLearning specialist and IT trainer to a project manager and enterprise analyst.
Joseph Campbell laid out the process in The Hero’s Journey. The graphic at the link is a fantastic illustration of Campbell’s theory.
At the end of 2016, I am in the process of “birthing” a new identity.
After years of developing mastery in one field, it is a bit unnerving to be (by choice) a beginner again. Even as I have been performing the tasks, albeit in a different context, for some time.
Then there are the new tasks, especially in the service of creating a new business:
- Taxes and Accountant (Hiring an accountant from the beginning was the best decision EVER)
- Licenses and Legal matters
- Business Development and Marketing (ie – finding work … constantly)
It’s a brave new world. And I find it shockingly fun.
2017, for myself and many of my friends, will likely be a year of going through the early initiation stages Joseph Campbell discusses in The Hero’s Journey. The Road of Trials, the Temptation to abandon the quest, and (hopefully) getting close to “The Ultimate Boon” as each of us go through our individual transformations.
I hope you had a peaceful and safe holiday season.
May your 2017 be happy and joyful.
And to all of my friends, family, former colleagues and current clients – thank you for being in my life.
I look forward to strengthening those relationships over the next year.