By Dana Mancuso
Bigg Success Contributor
01-22-09

white_house

I've seen photos of the presidential transition. You know the ones. The President and First Lady are followed as they walk around the White House in their last minutes before officially leaving office. All of them have had at least a tinge of sadness to them, even though by the time the president leaves office he has made new plans and is most-likely looking forward to the life ahead of him — complete with book deals and speaking engagements.

For me there have been very few transitions as abrupt as the last moments of a presidency. Most of my life has sort of evolved into the next phase of my life – much like seasons move seamlessly one into another. Yet a couple of them stand out. And both are job-related.

A new chapter

The first is my last day at a job that did not suit me. I gathered my small box of personal items and walked out the door, having only sent a short e-mail of thanks for the opportunity. I did not look back. There was no need. There were no fond memories to recall or to be wistful about. In fact, I walked quickly to the elevator in hopes that no one would say goodbye. I got to my car without incident and was quite happy to drive away into the next chapter of life.

A heavy heart
I left another job due to relocation with my husband. It was a different story. When that chapter ended, I was not only leaving a good job that I liked, but I was leaving the city, the entire area. I was leaving people I enjoyed and tasks I had been successful at. I was leaving hallways where I had laughed; a place where I had made friends and grown professionally.

I took in my surroundings carefully during the long walk to the elevator. My box of personal belongings was light, but my heart was heavy.

A combination
I can imagine that the President, as he exits the White House and drives off, will have a combination of both of my experiences, as do most of us at one time or another. He'll look back at places that remind him of decisions made or not made, actions taken, and people consulted with. He'll think of the impact he has had on the country in his job. He'll wonder how he'll be remembered by those who are staying behind and how he'll handle the next steps in his career.

Look Three Ways

Moving forward, moving on, transitioning, or whatever you choose to call it, requires three different types of looking:

Looking Backward
To be successful with any transition, you need to review where you've been. Take a hard look at what has happened to you in this phase you are leaving. What did you learn from it about yourself or about others?

Looking Around
What did you learn that you can take with you? What will you choose not to bring into the next phase? What will you put in your box of personal goodies that will be a good addition to your new life?

Looking Ahead
Ask yourself: What next? What do you want to become now?  What kind of “you” will best fit your new situation?

As we collectively move forward with a new leader, it's a good time to do a bit of looking. It's a time of major national transition, and perhaps it is a good time for us to make personal transitions as well. You can do this type of looking, not only at your professional life, but with personal relationships or even with goals you have been pursuing.

Take time to look and find the next you in the process! 

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