Blog with Joel Brookman


Sarah GraduationAs creatures of habit people often have a difficult time moving from one part of life to another. We resist the inevitable by fighting against transitions. Why, because transitions take us out of our comfort zone.

The first step in dealing with transitions is acceptance. I have a friend who worked in tech support for a Fortune 500 company. The company decided to try outsourcing some of their support functions to India. Little by little people around him were being let go. He refused to believe that it would happen to him. He just continued to justify his position in his mind, and came up with reasons why they wouldn’t outsource the entire department. Instead of being proactive and searching for another opportunity while he had a job and was more marketable, his mindset of denial caused him to stay until the inevitable happened. In the end he got a couple of months severance and was escorted to the door with all his belongings. He nearly lost his house in the ten-month period it took to find another job.

You can never see the whole picture. In the grand scale of things we have a very narrow view of our world and the circumstances that come together to create it. Think back to things that happened in life that you resisted or deemed as negative. So often those things create a life trajectory that turns out to be a much better path. Part of acceptance is the understanding that you can’t see whole picture. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Even if you disagree, it’s still important to be open to life’s possibilities. Things have a way of working out. You can fight the current and try to resist the transition, or navigate within the current while accepting the transition. Assuming the transition is inevitable, life runs far more smoothly once you relinquish resistance.

Change when things are going well. Last week Yahoo was purchased by Verizon for a small fraction of what it was once worth. Yahoo lost it’s way because it wasn’t able to make the transition from a desktop portal to a mobile application. What happened? The world transitioned but Yahoo didn’t. Successful companies and individuals realize that transitions will happen continuously. They are willing to make changes even when things are going well. They realize that if you don’t adapt you will ultimately go the way of the dinosaur.

Growth comes through your openness and ability to make transitions in life. Sometimes transitions are forced–My daughter is going from a small middle school to a huge high school. There is no option but to continue to ninth grade and become part of a much larger population. Other times it is incumbent upon you to bring on the transition yourself—you are in an unhealthy relationship or working in a dead end job. In the first example my daughter has no choice, so resisting the inevitable is futile and will just lead to stress and aggravation. In the latter examples you could accept the status quo and live an unfulfilled life, or you could make the transition to strive to improve your life. As we take on new experiences we grow. As we grow life becomes more fulfilling.

We live in a dynamic world. Things are constantly changing. You can choose to fight and resist the changes, or you can put yourself on a path toward the future and make the appropriate transitions as you go. Two questions: What transitions should you be making now? When will you begin? Email me at and share your thoughts.

Posted by Joel Brookman in accept what is, Can't see the whole picture, Change, Surrender.


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