“When something goes wrong in your life, just yell “PLOT TWIST!” and move on.” 

I saw this on a refrigerator magnet recently and thought it was a great way to view change in one’s life: with a combination of humor and grit. However, it’s not always that easy. Life changes can be tough – regardless of whether they are sudden and unfortunate, or anticipated and joyful. As a financial professional, I frequently see people in the throes of life’s big changes. And part of my job is to help them navigate these new situations as gracefully as possible.   

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy 

Transitions take time.   

That may be hard to hear, but let’s be clear on this. “It takes time” doesn’t mean “it’s going to last forever.” Life changes constantly. The tough part is that it doesn’t always change at the rate we want or expect. What can you do? As a Financial Transitionist, I talk to clients about the stages of Transition, and remind them that transitions take years. Not months, not weeks. It takes time to navigate from life as it was to life as it will be. During that time, periods of high activity can be followed by periods of complete sluggishness. This is all totally normal. So have patience with yourself, and with others, as you move through whatever transition you are going through. 

“Never make irrevocable decisions when tired or hungry.” 

When we are in transition, we are not always at our best. We can get emotional. Our brains can get foggy. We can get forgetful. We can get confused. It’s not all fun, but again, it’s all normal. The important thing to remember is that sometimes is it OK to rest and take a break from decision-making. In Transitions work, we use something called the “Decision Free Zone” or “DFZ” to help clients see this. After a cathartic brain dump, we sort everything into “Now” / “Soon” / and “Later” categories. Seeing this on paper helps to ease the overwhelm while ensuring that nothing gets missed. If a task has a hard deadline, we’ll work through it. And if it doesn’t, we’ll give ourselves permission to hold off until after we are rested and fed (physically and metaphorically). 

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela 

Change can feel scary.  

Like, monster-in-my-closet scary. Did you ever feel that as a kid? Change can often hide gems of opportunity, but it’s easy to lose sight of that when we feel attacked by a monster – even as adults. It can be difficult to maintain perspective. Something helpful I use is a conversation tool called “What Has Changed?” It guides a discussion about where you are now, and helps to identify areas of concern. Sometimes these areas can be addressed, bit by bit, gradually easing the sense of fear. I’ve seen this tool help clients defeat the monster and move from fear to hope by realizing where they actually stand.   

“Just when the caterpillar thought its world was ending, it turned into a butterfly.” 

When life hands you a curveball, it can feel painful at first – but it can also end in something fantastic. 

If you or someone you care about is going through a financial transition, I encourage you to reach out. You don’t have to do this alone. Sometimes all you need is a partner to help you yell “PLOT TWIST!” and move on.