On a recent hike through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, I struggled up a steep incline toward Bell Pass. My goal for the day was a 9.4 mile loop through beautiful desert. I had made it fairly easily through the first two miles of the trail with its gradual incline. I could see the top of the ridge but didn’t know exactly how far I had to go to the pass. I had to stop every few minutes to catch my breath and let my legs rest. This reminded me of a term that was described during my Bradley method birthing class: transition. This is the worst part of birthing a baby, when the pain is the worst and you feel like you just can’t do it. Knowing about the transition phase and that you are in it, helps you to get through it because you know it will pass. In the same way, as I labored my way up the trail, I knew that this was the hardest part and well worth the overall hike. When I reached the pass, miles of open desert stretched out before me in a gorgeous view and I rewarded myself with a snack.
Many times we talk about making a transition in our lives or careers. I had never related it to the birthing term before though. The hike through the preserve was a good metaphor for my journey so far in my coaching business. I had hiked up the first part in a gradual climb, taking classes and gaining my certification. This was challenging but very doable. Now I am in the steep climb of refining my work and building my business. I am not really sure where the top is. There are ups and downs. I often have to stop and catch my breath and look for support. Once I reach the peak, I will still have lots of hiking to do, but hopefully it will be enjoyable. Knowing that I am in the transition phase helps me to understand why I am struggling and that I will eventually get through it if I keep putting one step in front of the other. Then I can gleefully jog down the next part of the trail until the next incline slows me down again.
As I help others through their transition, I try to help them keep their eyes on the goal while accepting that this is difficult and it may take some struggle to get there. We can stop and rest and catch our breath. We can pause and look back at how far we have hiked up the trail. We can look to small goals along the path such as reaching the next ridge then celebrate when we get there. We can enjoy the scenery along the way and the support of those hiking with us. The journey is worth it.