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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Roberts

Embracing Change: Navigating the Transition to Life’s Next Chapter

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

As a seasoned mergers and acquisitions expert, I’ve had the privilege of helping countless women business owners plan and execute successful exit strategies. This experience has provided me with an intimate understanding of the emotional journey that accompanies such a transition – the exhilaration, the uncertainty, and ultimately, the satisfaction of seeing a new chapter begin to unfold.

Over the past year, I’ve made my own transition to a new phase of life, most recently deciding to follow my heart and move to Hawaii. Like many of my clients who decide to leave their businesses, I made a decision to change my life and live in paradise. I am now settled into a temporary rental, but on an island, so nothing is far from the beach—my happy place.

Finding peace in the transition

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

For many women over 40, the decision to exit an entrepreneurial venture is not taken lightly. It often represents the culmination of years, perhaps even decades, of passion, hard work, and resilience. As such, the period following the sale or integration of your business can be accompanied by a complex mix of emotions. It’s an end, yes, but also a beginning.

All transitions take time, and finding peace can mean many different things to different people.

It’s difficult to move from everything you know and love to a whole new you without sitting in it and getting to know yourself again. There are days when I look in the mirror, and I know the soul looking back at me is me. I look peaceful, my eyes are peaceful. Then there are the days when I look and ask myself, “Who the hell is that?” But I do think I found inner peace with who I am now. I was a different person then, I grew, and I continue to, now just on a different path.

To find peace in my transition, I followed a few simple steps:

The first is acceptance. It’s perfectly normal to experience a sense of loss when you exit your business. After all, your business likely consumed a significant portion of your life and defined part of your identity. But remember, the end of your business doesn’t equate to the end of your journey. It’s simply the close of one chapter, making way for a new one to begin. This acceptance is the key to unlocking the future that awaits you.

Next, allow yourself time to reflect. After the whirlwind of negotiations and paperwork, take a moment to step back. Revisit your achievements and the challenges you overcame. You’ve proven your ability to create, build, and exit a successful venture. This is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Reflecting provides closure and helps identify the skills and experiences you can carry forward.

Last, take time to reassess your goals and desires. Whether you’re considering another entrepreneurial endeavor, planning to join a corporate role, or even eyeing retirement, this is your chance to realign your priorities. What are the things that truly matter to you now?

Inner peace

Finding peace inside is also a journey. It takes awareness and work. So I committed to doing that during this transition. To live a more fulfilling and meaningful life in my new surroundings.

They say “inner peace” is about the contentment of accepting yourself as you are, a sense of calm no matter what comes your way. Alignment to our own beliefs and values to live that way. Being aware of our thoughts and emotions. Really tuning in to who you are, including imperfections, and be OK with it. I suppose a good way to put it is a sense of inner harmony.

Transition is a work in progress

They say that the phrase “Flight of the Phoenix” has come to symbolize the concept of rebirth or renewal. Basically coming alive again but being different. Rising from the ashes when faced with a seemingly impossible situation and emerging more vital, more resilient and self-aware as a result.

Reinventing yourself after a business exit can be a daunting prospect. Yet, it’s also an opportunity for exploration. If you’ve always harbored a passion for painting, now might be the time to pick up that brush. Or perhaps you’ve long dreamed of contributing to a social cause – why not explore the non-profit sector? The options are limitless, and the choice is yours.

A crucial aspect often overlooked during this transition is self-care. Amidst the excitement of exploring new opportunities, remember to care for your physical and emotional well-being. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep can work wonders in helping you maintain balance during this period of change.

Don’t hesitate to seek support. This could be in the form of a mentor, a coach, or a group of like-minded individuals going through similar transitions. Sharing experiences, fears, and hopes can be incredibly therapeutic. And remember, professional help is always available should you need guidance in this new phase.

Finally, embrace the uncertainty. It’s natural to feel apprehensive about the unknown. However, remember that this uncertainty also comes with endless possibilities. The future is a blank canvas, and you hold the brush.

The journey is the destination

For me personally, this year of transformation was a year of growth too. I faced many fears, some I didn’t even know existed but showed up right in front of me. Through it all, I learned that no obstacle is insurmountable, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Everyone is capable, and we all have spirit in us, sometimes, you simply need to focus on it and ask the universe for help.

I understand that this journey can be overwhelming, but remember, you’ve already proven your resilience and adaptability. The same strength that helped you build your business will help you navigate this transition successfully. This new chapter holds promise and opportunity waiting for you to seize them.

Remember, change is the only constant. It is the catalyst for growth, transformation, and new beginnings. So, as you stand at this juncture, poised to embark on the next chapter of your life, do so with an open mind, a willing heart, and the knowledge that you can make the most of whatever comes next.

I am mindful every day in anything I do. I have made a decision to live this life. There is another phrase by Ralph Waldo Emerson “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

It is true. Make a decision on how you want to live your life. The type of person you want to be, the type of person you want to share your life with, and theirs with you. The people you want to be surrounded by. Pray for it and put it out there, see what happens.

Because, after all, life is not about the destination but the journey.

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