Times of transition can be hard for everyone. Whether you’re going from primary school to secondary school, or from university to whatever comes next, it can be a time filled with feelings of self-doubt, uncertainty and subsequently fear.
I find myself currently entering another transition period in my life, and these emotions are exactly what I’ve been feeling lately.
Fear of the unknown is just an archetypal theme we experience all throughout life. It’s unavoidable, and I’m sure Darwin would explain it as a way to promote survival, as what we don’t know may in fact kill us. Fortunately (hopefully), outside of that “survival of the fittest” world, our periods of transition don’t always make us fearful of not surviving, but of something much worse: a fear of not succeeding.
*Cue Ronald Weasley telling me I need to sort out my priorities.*
Comfort is just a synonym for security and stability. Prior to times of change and upheaval we have gotten used to the routines that keep everything working in fine order, and whatever chaos that does ensue can usually be fixed by an equally comfortable plan of action. We know exactly what it takes and what to do in the bubble we’ve created around ourselves to ensure the version of success that this realm allows. However, what happens when you want more? When that success isn’t success to you anymore, what’s next? Rather, what if you just can’t stand that job, or major or whatever you have settled for any longer?
If you are willing to take that plunge 20,000 leagues into the sea of uncertainty, discomfort and quite possibly instability, then you’ve already won a major battle in the war. If the transition isn’t much of a choice, such as going into high school or university, you still shouldn’t be discouraged as on any scale, the battle is fought the same way.
Let the need for certainty go. The truth is, there is no way of knowing what the outcome of this new chapter will be. Let the need for certainty in the situation go and grasp onto the certainty of who you are. Look back and see how far you’ve already come. Spoiler alert: you didn’t make it to where you are now without going through transitions! Remember that before you were in the place you’re in now, you once felt unsure, nervous, distressed, fearful and yet, here you are. Hold onto those moments because they are already done. You overcoming in the past is certain, and with that certainty and faith within your capabilities the situation no longer matters because if you could do it before, you can do it now—and even better.
God did not plant in us a spirit of fear.
In the midst of imminent struggle, keep going. This time of your life isn’t going to be easy. It’ll be rough, difficult, daunting and a variety of other negative synonyms, but despite all of that you should keep moving forward. If it’s something you truly want, if it’s something that you know you need to get through to make it to where you want to be, then just keep putting one foot in front of the other. We can learn a lot from watching babies develop. A baby learning to walk falls countless times, and every time they get back up and try again until eventually the falling becomes a little less and the walking becomes a little easier. Instead of stopping because of “failure,” fail your way to success as Megan McArdle outlines in her book, The Upside of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success. Learn about yourself and how you work under different situations, and figure out the methods that work best for you. Grow because that’s exactly what periods of transition are meant to nurture: growth. My personal mantra: Growth stems from being uncomfortable. So be uncomfortable and discover parts of yourself and your mind you didn’t realize existed. We often surprise ourselves during these times. God did not plant in us a spirit of fear. Take this transition and embrace it, analyze it, grow from it, learn from it and even when it seems like absolutely nothing is right, step back and look at how you made it there—enjoy that highlight reel of yourself and use it to become inspired and empowered. You will come out on top every time.