Jun 15, 2021

1 min read

Leaning into the in-between

“ The between-identities phase of a career transition is about bringing possibilities to life, proving they are feasible, and not just pipe dreams, and learning whether they are appealing in practice or only in theory.

To discard outdated identities once and for all (that is, to do the work of ending), we need some good substitutes. Old possible selves are always more vivid than the new; They are attached to familiar routines, to people we trust, to well-rehearsed stories.

The selves that have existed only in our minds as fantasies or that are grounded only in fleeting encounters with people who captured our imagination are much fuzzier, fragile, unformed.

The middle period is the incubator in which provisional identities are brought, tentatively, into the world via the projects we start, the people we meet, and the meaning we lend to the events of that period.

What happens in this period sets the stage for the degree and success of one’s reinvention. Whether it takes months or years, living the contradictions is one of the toughest tasks of transition. Indeed, living with uncertain identity can feel like “living inside a hurricane.””

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