I participated recently in a small group exercise in which we shared our challenges that we are facing currently. I described how I was part of an organization that was expanding and growing and my personal intent was to decrease my activity to the point of a half-time commitment. It’s a small organization and I have been a significant part of it since its founding 14 years ago so that everyone’s participation and commitment are critical to its success.
The feedback from the others in the group was enormously helpful as I continue to wrestle with the transition from full-time to part-time professional work. One person said, “How long might you be comfortable living with the tension? For example, in your experience, do these things tend to resolve themselves with a little patience? And/or is there a willingness for the idea you have for your life to change if something unexpected is being called forth that you didn’t anticipate?” While I might have responded no, these things do not tend to resolve themselves what I focused on instead was my lack of patience, thus the lesson learned was take a breath, step back and realize it doesn’t all have to be accomplished within the next two months. Plans are just that and sometimes they might need an adjustment here and there.
Another person said “Fill your other hours (over the 20 you’re willing to work) with those things you are excited to be able to now pursue and try to truly be just a consultant – distancing is an opportunity to appreciate.” Other responses included answer your own question objectively as if you were one of us and make a pro-con list of benefits and burdens of being either full time or part time. I did not expect anyone to have the magic recipe or answer that would solve the transition equation but their responses were thoughtful and very helpful to me personally and professionally. The exercise also demonstrated the tremendous value of feedback from others as a learning experience and what I learned has helped me take several more steps toward the desired goal.