Moving away to pursue your career? 5 tips for a smooth transition
Everyone keeps commenting on how exciting your life seems and you can’t help but smile. Except, a confused mix of emotions also dance in the pit of your stomach, leaping from excitement and anxiety to elation and dread.
Truth is, this thing you’ve been working towards all of your life, suddenly feels like a stranger.
Rest assured, this is a sign of change.
Are you moving to a new school? Or perhaps you’ve landed your first performance job?
Although the process of change may feel daunting, being prepared can help make the adjustment as smooth as possible. Seeing beyond the symptoms and responding practically to change will aid you through this transition.
Slowly but surely you will become more familiar with your new situation. Culture Adaption researcher Kate Berardo has developed the 5 R’s of culture change. Start by labelling 5 cups; routines, reactions, roles, relationships and reflection, day by day manage your adjustment by gradually filling the cups.
Take care of these 5 areas and watch your confidence grow.
It’s one of the first things to get disrupted during big life changes, and it happens to be your anchor in times of stress. The first thing to get in order is your routine. Where possible, try to keep a few familiar things from your usual routine. In addition, working some new things in can help you adjust to your new life. Perhaps you like to do some yoga or mindfulness in the morning before breakfast? Make this a daily commitment. When you’ve grounded yourself, why not make a habit of exploring your surroundings, you may stumble across your new favourite hangout.
New places = new faces and as you navigate the map to your next class, you’ll be sure to discover some cultural differences along the way. If you’re used to being fairly comfortable in relating to others, some awkward encounters may leave you feeling critical of your new environment. You see, the feedback we receive from social interactions can affect the way we see ourselves.
“When I say this at home, people’s faces crinkle up into a smile, now all I’m getting is furrowed brows and have even felt dismissed entirely, what is wrong with this place? People don’t like me here.”
Try to remind yourself of your strengths throughout this transition, and see if you can find someone who can help you with insights into the social aspects of your new home. You can begin to understand others’ reactions by learning about the culture. Give yourself time to get to know this new world and try to keep things in perspective.
With all of the changes happening outside of you, you might be surprised to discover that you are also changing. Within your community you play many roles and when you move, the roles you play get reshuffled. Each role is a part you play in a certain situation; maybe you’re a sister, or the dishwasher-unpacker, the top-of-the-class or the funny-one-who-makes-people-laugh… all these ‘roles’ contribute to your sense of belonging and identity.
Along with the excitement and anticipation you feel in this new phase of your life, you may miss roles you identified yourself with at home (or be happy to leave them behind)! Either way, adapting means letting go of previously held roles and forming new ones. Naturally, some of your new roles might feel daunting at first (e.g auditionee or the-new-guy). As you transition, you’ll be able to draw on skills you already have, but the process will take time. Try focussing your energy on what is required of you, and have patience as things fall into place.
Moving can affect your relationships in many ways, so try to remain open minded and patient throughout this time of change. Accepting that change is sometimes out of your control can help things to progress naturally. Focus on what you are in control of by thinking about which relationships are most important to you, and find ways to maintain them. You may find some naturally drift away but deeper connections can be made with those around you, as your relationships develop through shared experiences. Build a support network around you, whether it be people who live next door, or a plane ride away. Create your very own village to reach out to in times of stress.
Like many of the techniques we’ve discussed, reflection comes down to perspective. There are many ways to look at something and sometimes writing things down can help to shift some unhelpful thoughts. When you feel stressed, your view may cause you further distress by distorting the way things are. When you change gears in your mind and write down your concerns or perspectives on any given day, it gives you a chance to step back. The act of writing also clears the narrow filter you may have developed, opening your eyes to some of the more positive aspects of this change., You may even discover how well you’ve actually been handling things and how far you’ve really come!
The good news is that no matter how long it takes, your mind will eventually catch up with the distance you’ve travelled. What a great opportunity for you to build your resilience and discover an ocean of strength you never realised you had.
If you want to make the most of your new beginning, sign up to join Mindset School. Learn vital mental skills, be supported to reach your fullest potential and find your performance edge.