Transitions, by their nature, involve ambiguity, disorientation, and a lack of lucidity. It’s important to recognize that this zone is a natural part of the process of growth and change. In this episode we break down the nature of the being in an in-between state/liminal space, embracing it as an identity, and navigating it through small and tectonic changes.
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Mentioned in this episode:
The Quick and Dirty guide to calling consults Here
In this episode, we discuss:
What is a liminal space?
- It is a transitional or in-between state where you’re in a place of vagueness or uncertainty. It’s a place of being ‘in-between’. In architecture, it’s often a passageway. What a perfect metaphor. You’re neither in the room you were before nor arrived at the one where you’re heading.
- “You’re neither here nor there. You are becoming. You have not yet become.”
- We often don’t like it as it feels unsettling and disorienting because we don’t know what to expect.
- An example of this is referred to as ‘post-vacation stress disorder’ which is the difficulty to reintegrate into the flow of daily life or to come back to a shift after taking a break.
Situational awareness and the big picture:
- Full situational awareness requires going back in and putting in the work. There is no substitute for actually being in the arena.
- There are ways to ease the process of re-entry like visualization, getting to work early, and re-entangling with the flow.
- For some individuals, changes in title, role, location, and responsibilities may occur, i.e. a resident becoming an attending.
- The liminal state can be a catalyst for impostor syndrome due to a misalignment of expectation and aspiration.
Embracing transitional identity:
- Liminal space is an essential part of transformation and rites of passage.
- The concept of transitional identity originates from the business world which refers to an intentional effort to change identification toward a new one that better reflects the desired direction.
- Transitional identity on a personal level is the acceptance of the fact that we haven’t fully evolved into the person we aspire to be. To thrive in this state, we need to cultivate awareness and acceptance of our situation and work through strategies and tactics to help us navigate uncertainty and change.
Essential Tools and Strategies for Navigating Uncertainty
1. Awareness and Acceptance
- Recognize and accept the in-between state of liminal spaces rather than avoiding or trying to suppress it.
- It is a process. The moment you know you have accepted is the moment there is no longer a struggle.
- Practice mindfulness to increase awareness of your thoughts and feelings.
2. Reversal of Desire
- Shift your mindset to embrace challenges and ongoing work rather than seeking ease and comfort.
- Approach it head-on while being aware that this is also a period of constant effort.
- Take action towards your goals and cultivate a growth mindset.
- Consider setbacks as chances for development and learning.
4. Mentors and Community
- Seek out mentorship and a supportive community to provide guidance, encouragement, and perspective during transitional moments.
- Connect with others who are going through similar experiences.
5. Prioritizing Self-Care
- Make self-care a priority to ensure you are in the best possible state of mind and body to navigate uncertainty.
- Take part in enjoyable and fulfilling activities.
- Set limitations and make recovery and rest a priority.
6. Surf the wave
- There is only so much you can control. When you are entering a new situation, it’s like surfing a wave. You can control what your feet are doing on the surfboard, but not much else. You can’t control the feelings of uneasiness or disorientation that arise, but you can control how you respond to them.
- Visualize yourself surfing the wave of whatever is coming at you, understanding what you can and cannot control.
7. The two arrows
- Pain is unavoidable. Suffering is a choice.
“Liminality encompasses feelings of confusion and security and vulnerability.”
“I want to present a different way of looking at this interval of time, and that is to identify and embrace that this is a liminal state.”
“Now, I could say, use the stress and uncertainty as fuel to propel you to greatness, but stress and uncertainty can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking, and it’s okay to feel those things. They’re natural.”
“When you can be okay sitting with that sense of unease or disorientation, that can be the first step on the path to having the liminal state be a healthy period rather than something that sucks.”
Stutz – Netflix Documentary Here