Two Principles Guaranteed to Help You Successfully Move Through a Transitional Season

In early November (of 2013) I transitioned into a new job with the County of San Diego. During this transitional period I worked at my old job (So I could give my full two week notice) while training for my new position. Between both jobs I worked a lot of hours and put in some long days.

It prevented me from focusing on some of my normally routine tasks and priorities so that I could concentrate on the transition. Going through this short season required more time working and less time with my family, writing, and participating in recreational activities. It was very stressful and demanding.

I was able to maintain my sanity and successfully transition into my new position because I applied two principles into my life. These same principles can allow you to move successfully through a transitional, busy, or demanding season. The key is to remember and adapt them into your life. The two principles are:

1. Take care of yourself-

One of the best things you can do when going through a busy or stressful season is to take care of yourself. To make sure your physical, mental, and spiritual state are not neglected. When you take care of yourself by nourishing those three areas you will be better able to handle the current season. During my transition, I had to reprioritize my free time so that I would be able to refresh and renew myself in those three areas. This meant I had to stop doing some of the unnecessary (or not as important) tasks, like building my online platform. I took time to make sure I got enough sleep, do my devotions, and got in a run 3 times a week.

2. Know it’s just a season-

The varieties of seasons you go through during the year are just that, seasons. Whenever I go through an especially demanding or difficult time, I say to myself that “this too shall pass.” While in the middle of my transition I regularly (2-3 times a day) told myself that soon enough I would not be working as many hours. I had to keep the end in mind and that kept me going. When you are faced with a busy or difficult season, make sure you remind yourself that it’s a season and it will eventually come to an end.

Question: What do you do to successfully move through a transitional, busy, or demanding season?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.pauljolicoeur.com/ Paul Jolicoeur

    Its easy in those transition times to get completely wrapped up in the new position and forget the other areas of your life. Thanks for the reminder that we need to stay committed to self care for the better of the long haul.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Glad to share about my experience. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

    • http://livetogivecoaching.com/ Jason Pockrandt

      I definitely did this once I started my new leadership position. It was a tough time to let go of my own relaxation as I pushed into these new roles. I almost fell off track. But I’m stil in it to win it.

      • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

        Glad that you were able to get back onto stable ground:)

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    Your two points are essential for sure. I also do my best to stay organized. Helps keep my head on straight, prioritize and not miss important things. I see people neglecting what you recommend all the time. They simply don’t take care of themselves and end up burned out when they’ve barely begun. I also see people who get stuck in seasons. They fail to do what they need to for progress. Such simple points but crucial for long-term success.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      I’ve also seen many people burn out due to not taking care of themselves. If we gain success but are burnt out then our success won’t last long. Keep “organized” is a great additional point. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • http://theregoi.com/ floyd

    I have to admit that first of all I try to avoid them! But that isn’t reality in this life so I try to embrace the season. It’s easy to become obsessed by working solely on the task at hand and can even become addictive. Balance is key and it starts in our spirit. “Seek God first and all these other things will be appointed unto you.” That’s the thing that I need to be reminded of and am again today! Thanks, Dan. Glad to hear things are going well for you!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Great passage! The key is to keep God first in everything we do. Thank you for adding to the post.

  • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

    I do the same two things you do, Dan, and a third that you mentioned in your intro – getting rid of as much as I can as far as the rest of my life goes so I have time for what’s important. I had to do that when I was putting out my second book last year as there was no way I would have had time to finish it otherwise. It’s kind of an interesting experience because it shows you what’s important in life. Because my transition time was three months, I also kept time with family at a maximum. I hope to never be that busy again!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Hello Barb,

      I also had to do that when I was finishing my book. I like how you “kept time with family at a maximum” during that time.” Family can bring energy and strength to keep going so we have to always nourish and spend time with our family. Thank you for adding to the topic.

  • http://zechariahnewman.com/ Zechariah Newman

    Great points Dan. The thing that helps me is to remember that even on good days I can’t get “everything” done. Keep first things first and let the rest fall where it may. Great job transitioning properly.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      I always have to tell myself that:) It’s difficult to get everything done with a kid running around. Thank you for adding to the conversation. I appreciate it.

  • kentsanders

    Good thoughts, Dan. I see this principle all the time as a college prof. The last few weeks of the semester (especially the Fall semester, because the weather is usually cold and they don’t have summer to look forward to), students typically get very stressed, and many get sick because they don’t take care of themselves.

    I am in an incredibly busy time right now because I have a major product launching in a month and I have so much left to do. But I keep telling myself that it will be worth it!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      I’ve been their as a college student:)

      So this is an especially relevant post in your situation. Keep making progress! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read and comment.

    • http://www.startgainingmomentum.com/ Ludvig Sunström

      Interesting. I agree with what you are saying, being a college student myself.

      What subjects do you teach and are you perchance Swedish too?

      • kentsanders

        Nope, just American. :) But glad to see Dan’s blog has made its way around the world. :)

        I teach at St. Louis Christian College in Florissant, MO. It’s a small Bible college, and I mainly teach in the areas of worship and music, guitar, and the arts.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Glad you made it through Dan! For me, it’s all about doing less and keeping it simple. I have to really evaluate what are the things I can do and should be doing, those that aren’t that critical I’ll have to come back to. In the past I’ve taken on way too much and paid the price for it with not getting much accomplished!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thanks man:) Great idea, less can defiantly be more. Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.startgainingmomentum.com/ Ludvig Sunström

    “This too shall pass”

    —> Words of wisdom to remind oneself of daily.

    Great job on building your online platform so far Dan. Keep rocking it!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Those are helpful words. Thanks man:) I’m looking forward to connecting more with you this year.

      • http://www.startgainingmomentum.com/ Ludvig Sunström

        You as well!

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    Thanks for sharing. We all hit busy seasons. This past year was busier and more challenging than I had wanted, but it helped me to seek God more. It showed me how certain things aren’t as important as others. It taught me that just because I can do something doesn’t mean God wants me to do it. I must seek Him.

    I have a feeling 2014 will continue to be busy. Having a toddler means tons of joy but also more work. He will only be little for a short season. Investing in him is more important than so many other things.

    Taking care of ourselves and making time for God is essential for making it through the busy seasons of life.

    God bless you and your family in 2014.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Hello TC Avey,

      Know what we should or should not do is crucial. Seeking God and what He wants us to do allows us to produce the maximum results. I think it’s important to place God and family at the top of our priorities.

      Yes, toddlers keep us busy:) My son is now 2 and he is getting into everything. They are blessings though.

      I’m looking forward to reading your content and connecting more with you this year! Thank you for reading and sharing.

      • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

        Thanks so much, Dan. I look forward to reading your work as well.
        Enjoy the family! Two is great. A blessing and a growth process for the parents as well.

        • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

          :)

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    Dan I like this post because it seems to me that in general we are all going through a transitional period in our lives. For us right now that means living in the US for 10 months and away from our usual conveniences of home. I don’t have an office I can go and that makes it really tough for me to study and work, but I know that this is temporary!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Yes, we all do. What a season for you guys. I’m sure you are enjoying it but I’m also sure it’s a strength for you to be away from home for so long. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

      • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

        Yes, Dan we are enjoying all the family time and visiting old friends and travel, but it sure does make it difficult to stay disciplined with things like writing, studying and exercise!

        • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

          I understand about that. I know it’s difficult for me to stay disciplined when I’m in an unfamiliar place/living quarters.

  • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

    Thanks Dan for these thoughts. It’s encouraging to see a like like yourself upholding these values in your life. It all comes down to priorities and how well we execute it in our daily life. This was a great reminder that I should focus on the things that matter most and jettison sometimes the trivial yet more addicting things.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you man:) They are important principles to know and adapt. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

    I just went through a period like this also Dan, but you handled yours way better than me. You are so dedicated and focused on serving others that I can’t tell the difference. I keep learning how to do this from you by watching everything that you do and say. You are an inspiration for me and I know us all. Thanks for sharing this because it means allot that you put your all into everything you do.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Hello Lincoln,

      Thank you for the complements. But I’m not that good. My perspective and attitude was not the best during that time. The two points I shared helped me but I made a lot of mistakes (Like being short with my wife) during that season. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    For me, I do a lot like you. Power through it and realize it’s only for a short season. Once I reach the transition, I slow back down.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you for sharing that, Joe! Great minds think a like:)

    • http://livetogivecoaching.com/ Jason Pockrandt

      That works wonders as long as you know what the end goal is for the season and when the new one begins. But that brings the question of Faith. Do you really know what is coming next? How can you just push through when or if your not sure where your pushing too? I know many struggle with that one.

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        @jasonpockrandt:disqus, it can be tough because we don’t necessarily know what’s coming next. However, I believe there’s almost always something better on the other side. Just like the storm systems that come through, there’s always sunshine afterwards.

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    Having the attitude of the timing of it all can definitely help. Plus being upfront with others, letting them know why you can’t yes to every request, as well as what your priorities are at the moment can deliver the clarity to all. Good job sharing what you have been doing to help during your time of transition.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Great thoughts about making sure the people around you are informed about the season. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • http://www.reflectionsfromthealley.org/ Dave Arnold

    Great thoughts Dan! We’re in a season right now with my wife’s pregnancy & being so sick. This post is a good reminder!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Glad to help remind you:) Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    • http://livetogivecoaching.com/ Jason Pockrandt

      I will send my prayers your way for your wife and you in this season Dave. I have a friend at work who I recently asked if he was a Christian. He said he was more of an Agnostic type because there is just so much science. Also that God had such bad things happen to his family and they all told him it was God he found that hard to believe or rather to take in.
      Oddly enough the next day his wife who is pregnant had a small scare. After he found out she was alright, he tells me, “Jason just between you and I, I said a little prayer and it worked. I guess their is a little something left in there.”

      That made me feel awesome. The point I want you to know is that your patience in the season matched with your level of Faith will carry you through this season sooner than you may know. I am here for you. :)

      • http://www.reflectionsfromthealley.org/ Dave Arnold

        Thanks, Jason. Means a lot!

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    great thoughts Dan, right now am working through my book and sometimes it’s a struggle to keep making progress on it as keep my other prioritities. i had a two week break from blogging and keeping up with writing world – and i feel much rested. it’s something i want to make priority this year – focus on fewer things so i can do more.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Yes, the right fewer things can defiantly bring about a better return. It’s something I’m learning and trying to implement into my own life. I’m looking forward to reading your new book, do you have a end goal date or an idea when you will be finished with it?

      • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

        i don’t have a definite time set yet, (last year i’d set it for Dec!) but hoping to be done with first draft by march.

        • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

          I’m looking forward to reading it when you are finished.

          • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

            Thanks Dan!

            • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

              :)

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I think knowing that it’s just a season is key. We understand when people take off work when they have a newborn baby. So I think it’s the same with working a lot for a season. The key is though we’ve got to be honest with ourselves – is it really a season or is this the new normal? And also: what can we do to avoid this season of busyness in the future if it’s caused by our own poor choices?

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Great point, Loren. We can’t allow our busy season to become the new normal. Thank you for adding your wisdom to the discussion.

  • http://dosomethingcool.net/ Steve

    I know all about tough transitional times. When I was finishing up my Master’s degree, I was putting in a ton of time. Plus, it was super stressful because I had to finish a project and presentation in order to get my degree and teaching license. Seriously, it was one of the most stressful periods of my life. My advice would be to make transitional phases like this as short and infrequent as possible. But seriously, taking time out for yourself is a must. No matter how busy you get, you have to give yourself some downtime or else you’ll just crack.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Hello Steve,

      I totally relate to you. When getting my Bachelors degree I was going to school full time, working full time, volunteering 15 hours a week, and was newly married. All of those things took up my time, but I made sure to have time’s to relax. Thank you for sharing about your story and adding to the topic.

  • http://livetogivecoaching.com/ Jason Pockrandt

    Those are great points Dan. I a, excited to ask what is the new work your doing? Are you still able to work and mentor youth? I have a chance to begin doing some of that work again soon I believe. I am pretty excited. I worked with Abused and neglected Teenage males for 1.5 years so I know what you have dealt with. Thanks for your work in here and in life.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Hello Jason,

      It’s great to see you comment on my blog. Yes, I’m working with teens in a short term facility. I’ve been doing that type of work for about 9 years. I’m looking forward to connecting with you more. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  • http://www.psychowith6.com/ Melanie Wilson

    What an important topic, Dan. I’m in that period right now. I find I talk more to relieve stress. Just sharing with someone else helps me get through these times when I don’t have time for much else. Congrats on moving through your transition smoothly!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Great point about talking about our season with someone else. My wife really supported me and encouraged me during this transition. Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation.