A friend asked me recently what I consider myself an expert in. According to research, “experts” are individuals who have exhibited “deliberate practice,” encompassing at least ten years or 50,000 hours of experience in their field of interest (Ericcson, 2006). An expert exemplifies an individual who has put in tremendous hours of practice and hard work, rather than a person with innate ability in his/her chosen field. Time and effort are viewed as the important factors in developing superior skill. The more a person practises, the better he/she will become at the skill.
What have I spent 10+ years practising?
Sometimes it takes awhile to see the most obvious thing that has been there throughout our whole journey. We focus so much on the details and not on the bigger picture; hence why I had been stumped on my friend's question. I reflected, dug deeper, and after some serious thought, discovered what the common element was.
I am an expert in coping with transition. Not only had I experienced a lot of transition personally, I counsel individuals and organizations on how to improve (change is a huge element of this).
An essential tool that I have learned during my twenties is how to cope with change. I used to be terrified of transition and wanted life to stay the same. When I was younger, I was bad at goodbyes – I remember leaving after a fun weekend away; this would be really hard for me. I would spend the first part of the journey home crying and feeling like I wasn’t able to move forward. Goodbyes were tough as I travelled a lot with my parents for business or to visit family and friends. Two of the ways that really helped me cope with the transition were: having amazing parents and sisters who lifted me up, and writing (i.e., in my journal or letters to friends).
When I graduated from high school and started my transition into adulthood, I realized that you can't control many external things. Now, I still find change hard initially; but I plan for it, and am able to jump in easier. Some of the changes I persevered through have included:
- Two University degrees in different cities
- Moving several times
- New jobs
- Relationships (beginnings and endings)
- Births ( Friends and Family members having kids)
- Deaths of prominent people in my life
- Starting creative projects
- Career Goals
- People coming and going
I initially feared these changes but now I embrace them and look at them as opportunities to grow. These experiences have shaped my route and taught me so much. One of the essential things I have learned from looking back is that:
That is what I have learned through my twenties; I am coming into my thirties with a positive outlook. I hope my stories and the lessons I have learned on my journey so far will encourage you on yours.
Thank you, friend, for helping me realize the thing that I used to fear the most is actually my greatest strength. If you are coping with a transition and having a hard time, I encourage you to reach out and talk about it with friends and/or write it down. Trust me, both help.
What are ways you have coped with change in your life? I encourage you to share, as your words will impact another’s journey.
Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.
See you at the beach!
- Shaping Life After the Olympics (World Rowing)