As a woman business owner specializing in helping women business owners and executives through transitions in their work lives, I’ve seen my clients put their heart and soul into building their businesses. They’ve spent countless hours pouring over every detail, making tough decisions, and taking risks – spending years making the business a part of them, and the idea of moving on from it is both daunting and emotional.
In truth, it wasn’t always easy for me to understand the depth of emotion that came when it was time to transition to the next phase for my clients. That is until my own life changed in an instant.
I unexpectedly lost my beloved husband, Gene, just over a year ago. He passed away suddenly during a routine surgery. In just 45 minutes, on a fabulous early spring day in Denver, all of the plans he and I had been making, the work I had done to build my business, and my vision, my life changed.
There is a saying, “We do not remember the days; we remember the moments” (Cesare Pavese). It is very accurate. That is all there is to it.
After Gene’s passing, I had to spend time handling the logistics of death. The funeral, estate planning, and selling the house were just a few of the necessary things to consider.
These steps were familiar to me, as I have helped people move through business transitions for over two decades. Partnering with my clients as they prepare to transition or exit their business. Watching as they get financial documents in order, reviewing contracts and agreements with them, and making necessary updates to the business’s infrastructure.
But there are also emotional aspects to consider beyond the logistical aspects of transitioning out of business or your envisioned life. Letting go is not easy, and feeling sadness, grief, and a sense of loss is natural.
In my own life, I moved into a version of “Eat, Pray, Love” (by Elizabeth Gilbert), where I explored my new reality and rented short-term homes in several locations across the U.S.
This year changed me. It changed my vision of what I want to achieve and who I wish to be. We had plans, but now, it is just me re-planning. Including re-planning my business and my bucket list. I never thought I would be doing this alone, without him.
But I’m also trying to focus on the positive aspects of this transition. I’m excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for myself and my business.
I’m also reminding myself, just as I have reminded my transitioning clients for decades, that my business (or the home I built with Gene) is not just the physical entity but also the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the years. My life before Gene’s passing, like the knowledge and experience my clients have from their work, will always be a part of me, and it’s something that I can carry with me as I move forward.
Of course, there will still be days when the emotions of this transition hit me hard. But I’m also trying to remember that this is a natural part of any transition and that the feelings of sadness and loss will eventually subside.
The One-Way Ticket to Paradise
As I moved through this past year, learning to live in a new way and deciding where to live physically, I realized I wanted to be in Hawaii.
I realized that living life to the fullest means residing in paradise. For some of my clients, it means buying the dream retirement home they imagined, finally scaling the business, or spending more time with family and friends.
That’s why, two weeks ago, I bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii. First class, of course!
I’ve decided to live a life I only dreamed of in a place that I love, Hawaii. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for anyone.
As I move forward with this transition, I’m keeping a positive mindset and focusing on the opportunities that lie ahead. While it’s hard to let go of something that has been such an essential part of my life, I know that this is the right decision for me.
What’s Next for You?
Whether your work transition comes from a sudden event, as mine did, or if it is a long-planned exit, there is no right or wrong answer when deciding what’s next after a business exit or transition.
It’s essential to keep an open mind when considering your next move. Be willing to explore new ideas and industries and consider taking on a new challenge. It’s natural to feel a bit uncertain or even scared about the future (I know I am), but embracing the idea of change can lead to personal and professional growth.
Finally, remember to take care of yourself during this time of transition. Selling, integrating, or expanding a business can be emotionally and physically draining, and it’s important to prioritize self-care.
Take time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, whether moving to a paradise island, spending time with loved ones, practicing yoga, or taking a long hike in the great outdoors. Taking care of your physical and emotional well-being will help you to approach life with clarity and confidence.
When is it time to transition your business?
I want to remind you that this is an exciting time and that you have the opportunity to create the next chapter of your journey.
While it can be daunting to consider what comes next, many resources and avenues exist to explore as you embark on this new adventure. Take the time to reflect, seek guidance, and embrace new opportunities. I wish you all the best on this next chapter of your journey.
Ready to learn more about how to plan for your next chapter? Schedule a free consultation with me. I’d love to hear your story.