Ep #285: Navigating Transitions

The Design You Podcast Tobi Fairley | Navigating Transitions

I love the transition we experience during fall, but transitions in our lives and businesses aren’t always as pretty. I’m currently in the transition of empty-nesting, and in a changing world, it can feel like we’re always going through transitions in our businesses. If you’re navigating any kind of transition in your life or business, I have a few coping strategies to get you through the discomfort of change.

Life isn’t easy. No matter how much money you have, how busy you are in your business, and regardless of how much personal growth you go through, some things are still going to be painful and challenging. That’s the deal for humans. Of course, half the time, being a human is amazing, but if you need a little help with the tricky half, this episode is for you.

Tune in this week to learn the practical strategies that allow you to have a more positive experience of navigating transitions. I’m sharing the thoughts that build a negative emotional experience of transitions, and showing you how to decide what you really want to create in your life or business as you navigate difficult transitions.


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What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • Why your experience of life as a human is 50% positive and 50% negative.
  • How it’s possible to hold multiple contrasting emotions simultaneously during a transition.
  • My experience of transitioning into being an empty-nester and transitions in my business.
  • How to identify your thoughts around a transition you’re going through.
  • Why believing that every phase is better than the last will transform your experience of transitions.
  • How to decide what you really want to create as you’re navigating transition.
  • 4 strategies to move yourself through transitions in your life.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, Episode #285.

Welcome to The Design You Podcast, a show where interior designers and creatives Learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth, and joy. Here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hey, hey, friends. Happy week. Happy month of September. Happy fall. Yes, fall, my favorite; I talk about it every year. But it’s actually relevant to today’s episode. It’s not just the typical, “We know Tobi, you love fall. You tell us every single time; for five years when we get to the fall. You tell us in July, it’s almost fall. You tell us in August.” Now, it’s September; we’re getting there.

But it’s relevant today, y’all. So, hang with me. Fall is a transition, right, from one season to another. Really, that’s what we’re talking about today, is transitions. I’m in the midst of a transition with empty nesting. I’m going to tell you how that’s going; hint, it’s going really well, by the way.

But when something keeps coming into my orbit, into my universe, into kind of my life from all angles, as this idea of transitions has been happening in the last week or two, I always know it’s a sign that that’s something I’m supposed to talk about. It’s some wisdom I’m supposed to impart. I’ve had multiple people say to me, “I love, Tobi, how,” it appears, at least, “you make transitions.

Some of the tools you use and some of the coping,” I call them coping strategies more than coping mechanisms. Although, sometimes I’m sure it’s a mechanism, or a little bit of a buffering occasionally. But mostly, coping strategies that I use to get through hard things.
Because life is not easy for us human beings, right? You’ve heard me talk about, probably, if you’ve been a longtime listener to The Design You Podcast, this concept of life for humans being 50/50; 50% good, 50% bad. It’s not always going to fall, of course, on 50/50. Not on any given day, or any given moment, but the point of using that concept is to say that no matter what we do, how we grow, how much money we have, how healthy we are, all of the things that we strive for in life, we’re still human beings.

There’s still going to be sadness. There’s still going to be death. There’s still going to be loss. There’s still going to be pain. It’s part of who we are as humans, and it’s unavoidable. We don’t get to that place in life where it’s 90% good and only 10% bad, right?

That’s kind of how it is with empty nesting; amazing, exciting, and bittersweet at the same time. I’m so excited that my daughter has gone to college, and that she’s becoming her adult version of herself, doing fun things, making new friends, learning to do laundry, and figuring out how to live in the day to day without being with me or my husband or our pups, or all the things, and yet we’re sad sometimes. She’s sad sometimes.

We miss each other. All of that is true, and can be true, and still, we can be doing well in this transition, right? We can hold two contrasting situations or emotions or experiences at the same time. They can both be true. We can be happy and sad, which can be confusing. And so, sometimes, we need tools to cope with things. Sometimes we need strategies. Sometimes we need reminders.

That’s really what today’s episode is about. So, let’s start with how is the transition to empty nest going. Because that’s just one of the transitions that I’m making right now, as we speak. It’s one of the transitions that is happening in my life.
Some of the others, I have team members leaving. One of the others, includes the fact that I’m 51. So, I’ve moved into this decade of the 50s not that long ago, and I’m transitioning to that version of myself. So, there’s always transitioning happening.

But the most kind of prevalent one at the moment is this idea, this concept, this experience, of becoming an empty nester. A lot of people hate the term “empty nest,” they think it feels sad. A friend of mine, Courtney, that I may have mentioned here on the podcast before, who’s an amazing designer in Houston, says she loves the idea of “free bird.” It’s not an empty nest, you’re a free bird, mama. You can become the next version of you, which is great. That’s one of the strategies that we can hang on to.

But I still think it’s just important to look at the concept square in the eye, of empty nesting. And to be honest, it doesn’t feel that sad to me. One of the reasons I think, and this is one of the strategies that I definitely have used for this, and have used it, honestly, every time that my daughter has transitioned from one thing to another.

When she went to preschool, then when she went to kindergarten, then when she went to middle school, and then when she went to junior high. Which, y’all, was maybe the hardest one yet. Then when she went to high school.

All of those transitions that as parents and mamas we sometimes feel sad. It’s all about how you think about the experience. This is not to gaslight us or to be woo woo. But really, to just look at the way we’re wired as humans. What we think about creates our emotions. Usually, the things we don’t like and the things we’re trying to avoid is negative emotions; sadness, emptiness, loneliness; all of those things, right?

I have had a beautiful teacher, a beautiful example, in my mom. Not only for this, my gosh! She’s an example for so many things. But for children growing up, and aging, I have had this beautiful example from my mom that every phase is better than the last. That’s just a belief that she has had.

She’s told me that my entire life, when I would say, even as a child myself, “Are you sad I’m not a baby anymore?” She’s like, “No. You know what? I’m not. I loved you being a baby. But I like you even more now.” She has said that over and over. She has said, “I love my children. I liked them when they were children, but I love them as adults.”

And so, having that to model, having that experience for me to look at and to see it as a positive kind of guide, has been one of the things that has been so helpful.

I remember taking Ellison to preschool and to kindergarten. I never cried. I was like, “Is something wrong with me as a mom? I see other moms crying, am I supposed to be crying?” I was always so excited for her. Because I knew it was the right place for her to be. I remember when she went to preschool. Literally, at age…Ah, I don’t know, she went to daycare for a little while. Same thing, right?

We had a nanny, and then she was bored with the nanny. She needed friends and she needed interaction. She went to daycare and loved it. I’m telling you; this child loved it. We called her the “cruise director.” She is the kid that loves summer camp. Not me, by the way, y’all. So, she’s not just like her mama.

She loves summer camps. She loved people, maybe it’s because she’s an only child. But I would get so excited and happy for her, because I loved seeing her in an element where she was thriving. That was true for kindergarten. And even in the transitions that were hard… Middle school was really, really hard. But I could keep perspective that it was exciting for her. She was becoming the next version of her, she was growing.

Me having that perspective of excitement, of believing “I like this version of her even better than the last.” Y’all, there’s nothing cuter than the three-year-old Ellison and the four-year-old Ellison, and her tiny little voice. She was so smart, and it was so amazing.

But as she grew up we became closer, if that was possible, and more connected. I liked her as a person, and having conversations with her, and hearing her opinion, and growing into who she was going to be, and respecting her and learning from her. You’ve heard me say before, she has been my greatest teacher in so many ways; about body image and confidence and being brave and all kinds of things.

And so, it was focusing on those aspects that made the transitions really easier. It was also remembering a lesson I learned, some point along the way, as a mama. Maybe the most important one I’ve ever learned, which is really a realization.

When I realized that all of the, I don’t know, the wisdom, the maturity that we gain as human beings to become the next version of us, the person that we’re meant to be, the person that can thrive as an adult, all of those lessons come through growth.

And there’s a reason there’s something called “growing pains,” y’all. It’s a real thing; physically, emotionally, all the things. There was a point where, especially in junior high, I know I keep reiterating how difficult it was, but it was such a difficult period. Not just for us, for every kid, everywhere, right? I’m sure there’s some outlier kid who had the most amazing like Junior High experience. I haven’t found them, yet.

But when I learned that it takes growth and growing pains for us to become the next version of ourselves… There was this mama a part of me that wanted to prevent all her pain and fix all her problems, and go beat up every kid that didn’t invite her to the sleepover, or that made her feel excluded or whatever those things were.

I had some perspective at the time, that if we’re not willing to go through the growing pains, if I was going to fix all of her problems, she would not grow. She wouldn’t grow into the human and the person and the amazing young woman that she is now, that she’s supposed to be. This is true for us as well, y’all.

When we try to prevent growth, when we try to prevent pain, when we try to prevent emotions that are negative, we don’t become the person that we’re meant to be. All of that is part of transition. So, in this empty nest phase, I keep laughing and joking. People are like, “How are you? Are you okay?” Because they know exactly how close I am with Ellison, and how much time we spend together, which is a lot.

She’s a lot like I always have been. She’d just as much enjoy spending time with me, at home, with her dad and I, and the rest of our extended family, as she would friends. I was always that way, too. I liked my parents as much as I liked anybody else.

But we’re doing great. It’s kind of, in one way, surprising and in another way, when I look at our track record of how she went to kindergarten, how she went through all these phases, it’s not surprising. Because it’s the way we’ve transitioned all of this. It’s the way we’ve intentionally thought about this experience over and over.

Y’all, you can use these same tools for all kinds of transitions. I had mentioned earlier that I’m in a period of transition with my team. I recently, at what seemed like the most inopportune and worst time, had two key team members, my COO and my lead designer, both leave for two completely different reasons.

One wanted to stay home more with her grandkids, and go back to work running her own business. The other was sick of working in a remote situation, even though she loved us, and wanted to go back into a real-life office experience. They both came, literally, while I was transitioning Ellison to college.

I mean, I don’t want to be so dramatic to say blindsided, but they really shocked me. I was not expecting either one of these things to happen. So, I can think, “Why is this happening to me? Why did this have to happen now? This is the worst possible time this could happen.” For a minute, I probably thought that.

For a minute of the pity party, of the day that I was told, especially when the second person was leaving, I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Yeah, maybe for a second. But I didn’t indulge in that space because I was able to lean into the transition: What does this make possible? What does this mean for the future? What fun things could I do now? How can I think about this differently?

That’s really, very similar to the way we’re thinking about the transition to empty nesting, right? I know she’s going to come back. I mean, I know she’ll be back at Christmas, and even in the summer. I remember when I came back from college, after being away for a little while, my mom really kind of wanted me to go back as quickly as possible. Because you get used to your new habits, right?

I can already see that happening. I can already see how much of my own time I get back to myself. I’m not having to think about what Ellison is going to have for supper. She’s not changing the plans my husband and I have because she doesn’t feel like eating that or that doesn’t sound good, or she had something else to do.

Life seems really simple when it’s just he and I. We have no issues. We haven’t had any arguments. It’s so easy to decide what we’re having for dinner. We go to bed early. It just kind of feels like a routine; it feels simple and easy. I’m excited to say that we’re even laughing and connecting more.

Because I wondered if we would be some of those people who the kid goes away, and we look at each other. We’re like, “I kind of don’t even really like you anymore… know you… or have that much in common with you.” But it doesn’t feel that way, it just it feels like ease and ease. I don’t know if ease is technically a feeling; calm would be a feeling.

But again, feelings come from our thoughts, and it comes from “how I’m thinking about this?” If I’m thinking, “Oh, this feels so easy. Oh, this is fun. Oh, this is calm. Oh, I’m enjoying this,” I’m going to create feelings of calm and joy. I don’t know serenity; whatever. I’m creating it from my thoughts, and those, again, are tools for transitioning hard things.

So, thinking on purpose, creating certain feelings on purpose with your thoughts, that is one of the major tools that I use for transition. I’ve told people all week that have asked me, and all last week, and I can’t remember how long she’s been gone, maybe the week before that. I think I’m cut out for empty nesting. I think empty nesting is my jam.

But one of the other strategies that I’m using, partly intentional, partly just the way I’m wired, because you’ve heard me talk about the fact that I’m a Manifesting Generator and I like to have a lot of irons in the fire, and I’m happiest when I’m doing all the things that light me up. But I’ve not been able, or had any space, to be sad, because I’ve been too dang busy.

When two team members quit, and I’ve been frantically trying to find replacements for at least one of them. One of the people on my team, I promoted up into a role. She’s awesome, so that made that easy.

But the other one, I’ve needed a replacement for my design team. Because we have a lot of design work. We’re starting a new construction project in Dallas. We’re doing projects here in Little Rock that are in the middle of renovations. Like, I need help. And so, I haven’t had time to be sad, y’all, because I’ve been too busy.

I’ve been busy getting back into the design work, at a level that I haven’t had to in a little bit. Which is also a good thing. I was just saying to some of the coaching clients I have this week, “It doesn’t have to be bad when someone leaves, because it’s an opportunity.” Not for the long haul, I don’t want the all those jobs back long term.

Because I do other things that really play a more important role for the company. So, I don’t need to be the person going on every job site walk or typing out every spec myself on my computer for a spec binder. A builder can order the tile.

But in the short run, doing the some of those things again, myself, just reminds me not only how valuable the people are that work with me and for me, but making sure our systems are still working, that I’m not losing touch with the process or the client, so that I can ensure that we’re really doing a good job. So, all of those things can be important in transitions.

I was telling some of the people I was talking to this week, one of the mistakes that we make there, again goes back to our thinking. When we have the thought “I’m going backwards,” like, I could have that thought right now. I can think, “Oh, I worked all that time to build this team. I’ve told the world about how amazing my team is, and our company culture is so fabulous. And now, we’ve gone backwards.”

That does not have to be true for me. Because we had a transition, for a human being who wanted to go do something else in their life, which they have every right to do, and then I need to fill that position, that does not mean we’re going backwards. It means we hit a road bump. It means we hit an obstacle.

But we still made all the progress that we’ve made. We’ve still built an amazing team. We know so much more about what we want, when we’re looking for the next person. And so, it’s just a little detour for a second, it’s just a little roadblock. But if I were to sit and tell myself, “Ugh, we’re going backwards. I knew this wasn’t going to work. I might as well just shrink my business again. I might as well be small.”

Those are thoughts that are going to create some really negative feelings and emotions for me. They’re going to make it really difficult to do all the things that I have to do. I’m going to make it even more painful to process empty nesting.

So, think about it. If I was having really negative thoughts about empty nesting, “I’m miserable. I miss her. I’m sad. I wonder what she’s doing. I can’t believe that I have to live without her. All these team members left; how could they do this to me at this worst time in the world when I’m trying to process empty nesting?”

A lot of us do that. A lot of us are in the habit of verbalizing those negative thoughts over and over and over. And then we wonder why we create, we don’t think we’re creating it, we think it’s happening to us. But we wonder why we have the life experience that we have.

What we don’t notice is that we’re absolutely creating it with our thoughts, with our words. And we have the opportunity, equally available to us, to pick completely different thoughts.

I just did a little Instagram live. I’ve done a lot of those in the last month or so. I did one recently, after I’d gotten home from this transition of physically moving Ellison to college and going through sorority rush. Which also is pretty hard; felt a little bit like junior high again, for just a minute. Thankfully, it was only a week long or a little over. But it’s behind us now, and all as well.

But I had some moments where I started noticing that I was in a negative loop. I was in a negative habit. I really kind of practice that a lot this summer. I was complaining a lot for all the extra things we had to do. She and I both were like, “Oh, we’ve got to do all the sorority rush stuff. It takes so much time, and we’ve got to get it ready. We’ve got the dorm, and we’re behind on it. We’ve got this story to read.”

I noticed that I had spent, I don’t know, maybe 60 days, in a fairly negative thought habit, loop spiral. I wondered why summer felt so hard. I’m like, “Why does this season feel so hard? Why does it feel like a struggle?” I was making the assumption, “I guess this is what it feels like when you move your kid out of the house,” especially your only child; and that’s partly true.

But mostly, it was the things I was saying out loud, and internally, for 60 days in a row, that were creating some really negative emotions for me and making life harder than it had to be. So, in transition y’all, are we doing that? Are we trying to avoid negative emotion, while also creating the negative emotions? A self-fulfilling prophecy, right?

The last thing we want to do is feel sad or mad or overwhelmed, yet we spend all of our days creating those feelings with our thoughts. We try to avoid the growing pains, instead of just leaning into them and going through them. Those two things in combination, the habit, the practice, of thinking things that create negative emotions on purpose…

Again, we’re humans, we have to have the negative emotion. It’s not like we’re going to eliminate all the thoughts that eliminate negative emotion, some of them are supposed to be there, right? It’s fully appropriate to be sad when I drop my child off at school, and let sadness be there.

But if sadness is still there, weeks or months later, and it’s keeping me from thriving, then I can go, “Why am I creating this? What am I doing to perpetuate this with my thinking? Could I use my thoughts as tools to create a different experience?” We absolutely can.

So, another thing that is kind of related to this, is this idea of being busy. I was saying a little bit ago, I’ve been too busy to miss her. That’s actually been really helpful. I remember back six months ago, when I was talking to one of the life coaches that I work with personally, Susie.

She works with… What does she call us? Basically, middle-aged women; women in the middle, is what she calls us. Which sounds a lot more positive than middle aged, right? But she helps people create regret-proof strategy, so you don’t regret seasons of your life. That you look back on them and are happy, mostly, with your choices.

I remember her saying to me, I was telling her about starting this store with Alison, this business with Alison, and then also starting, which is currently still on hold because we just haven’t had time to get to it. But starting some short-term rental properties with my mom. I was telling her about this, especially the store.

She was saying, “What an amazing choice to make at empty nesting, Tobi. Such an amazing choice. Because you are going to be positively reimagining yourself, and giving yourself an amazing project to pour yourself into in a moment where a lot of women lose themselves. Their kids go away, and they’re like, ‘Who am I? What am I? Who am I? My whole identity has been wrapped up in keeping these children alive and feeding them and going to their ballgames, and all the things, for years.’”

“A lot of women wake up and they’re like, ‘I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I want to do.’” I’m not saying that I didn’t have some of those thoughts of, who do I want to be next? But I’m able to look at those more as an opportunity. Not like a sadness or a grieving period, necessarily. Like, that part of my life is over, and my life is over.

So she said, “This is going to be really helpful for you.” She’s absolutely right, y’all. Because whether I want to be sad or not, right this minute, there is no being sad. Do I want to work this hard all the time? Probably not. We’ve talked about this.

I struggle because I am this Manifesting Generator, who likes to do a lot of stuff at a time. I struggle to rest and to be idle and to be still; something I have to really practice. But at the same time, right this minute being overly busy, right this minute having had team members leaving, maybe it is happening for me.

Maybe it’s happening so that I’m not sitting around lonely at night, because I don’t have time to be lonely at night. Because a lot of nights right now, I’m working. I’m working on things. I’m working on content for the shop, the E-commerce, making reels, and making TikToks. I’m working on getting design stuff to people and builders and clients in the evenings, that I didn’t have time to do in the day because my day was already booked.

So, long term, I don’t want to be burning the candle at both ends. But in the short run, it’s actually serving me in a beautiful way because I don’t have time to be sad and lonely. I exhaust myself, as a good Manifesting Generator knows how to do. I deplete my energy through the day, doing all the things that I love and that light me up, and then I fall into bed at night exhausted.

I get a good night’s sleep, and I get up and do it again. That is really working well for me. I would say that is the Manifesting Generator strategy, I’m sure, for transition. And so, having a lot to do right now is a gift for me. I’m really, really enjoying it.

So, things for you to start to think about as you make transitions, and this could be any transition y’all. I had a transition about, let’s say, seven or eight years ago. Maybe that’s partly why Middle School seemed so hard, because I was also having a hard season in my marriage. My husband and I, thankfully we moved through, that we stayed together, we got therapy; we did all the things. But it was a transition.

And even in that transition, I found a project. I can look back on it and see how I was really struggling in a lot of ways, maybe more than ever before. It was the first time I had hit something like that in a relationship. And after going through some hard periods for a few months, I thought, “I’ve got to have something to get excited about again.”

That was when I found a program for health coaching, because I was really trying to focus on my own health and wellbeing. I thought, “I’m signing up for this. I need it. I need to learn something. I need to get excited again.” I love learning, it’s probably one of the things I get most excited about. So, I signed up for it. Ultimately, after I became a health coach, I learned about life coaching, and that truly changed my life.

But it started me on a whole new trajectory, a whole new path, of the next version of me, because I was able to see I need something new, I need something fresh, I need something to learn, I needed something to pour myself into. Just like I’ve done with the store this year; at the perfect time for empty nesting. But in that moment, I needed something.

That’s one of the things that came up this week, when I was coaching for one of my programs. Somebody said, “Tobi, I love how,” and this was a person who’s going through a hard period in their business. Y’all business is hard right now, the economy is hard, business is hard.

Things have been slow for a while for a lot of people. There is a recession. I keep saying to the people I coach, and the people in my sphere, it feels like a secret recession. One we’re in denial about, because the world keeps saying, are we going to be in a recession? Are we going to go into one yet?

When you look at everybody around you, the businesses, and the humans in the way they’re struggling, we’re in one. Let’s just be honest, we are in one. We will look back, and the economists and the financial gurus will look back, and say this was a recession.

But of course, we don’t always know it when we’re in it because those analysts look at lagging indicators. They look at what was happening after the fact, and saying, “Where was the low point? Did we hit that recession point in the fall?” It feels, for a lot of people, like we’re in it right now. I would say we are.

One of the people that I was coaching, because y’all, I’ve coached, let’s see five people in the last, I would say, 45 days, on what to do if they have to lay off a team member. So, some businesses are struggling right now. This person was saying to me, “Tobi, I love how it always seems like you do other things in your life when things are hard. You paint again, do something creative, or you take a class or a course.”

Y’all that is very much true, and is very much one of my strategies. Find something to pour myself into. Find something to get excited about. Because, yes, I know, as a human, I have to have negative emotions. And yes, I know there’s a place for sadness and missing my daughter. But there’s also an opportunity for me to get excited about something new all over again.

It’s not just a hobby. I did start playing tennis again, I don’t know, three weeks ago. I haven’t taken tennis lessons or played tennis since before the pandemic. I had hurt myself and took a break. Before I knew it, it’s like five years later, I’ve picked up a racket. I’m not a great tennis player, but I’m coordinated. I could be good if I ever really stuck with it, practiced. But I love to take a tennis lesson, it’s a great way to exercise. I enjoy it, I have fun, I’m learning.

And so, what I’ve learned, is I don’t just need a hobby to pass the time, I don’t need to just paint or play tennis as a filler, I need something where I’m going to learn something. So, when I’m painting, I’m also taking painting classes. When I’m playing tennis, I’m also taking tennis lessons.

When I am starting a new project, like the e-commerce shop that we started this year, it’s something that has a longer-term vision of what’s possible. It’s not a time filler, it’s not just something to do. It’s something that moves me to the point of dreaming and imagining, envisioning, what the next version of me or the thing could be.

I really highly, highly recommend that if you’re struggling with a transition, whether you just dropped your baby off at kindergarten a month ago and you’re still sad about it every day. Or you are struggling in your marriage, or you’re having a downturn in business, or maybe some team members left, like in my case, or maybe you dropped your kid off at college, your first or your last, and you’re feeling the pain, the growing pains, the transition.

I want you to know that these are strategies that you can use, okay? So, number one, find yourself a project or a thing to pour yourself into that is not just busying your time. That’s not just buffering. It’s not like I need to go shopping.

Yeah, retail therapy is great in little, short stints, right? But something that you can have a longer-term vision or dream for, that you can pour yourself into, that you can pull out your journal and map out what’s possible here. That’s number one.

Number two, yes, be busy. Not busy for busy sake. Yes, rest. Yes, relax. Yes, care for yourself; self-care; all those things are important. But if you’re just sitting around, if you’re just creating all of this opportunity for you to be sad and lonely, and you’re just watching TV, and you used to watch this TV show with your now college student, and they’re not there with you, you’re going to be more prone to think a lot of thoughts that create more negative emotion.

So sure, watch TV. I love TV. I love streaming shows, nothing against it. But what else are you doing with your time? And part of that really, you want to think about as play. So, you know “play” is my word of the year. And so, what can you play in, with your time, that is fun? What have you always wanted to do or wished you could get back to?

For me, I needlepoint a lot. I’ve wanted to get back to tennis. I’m taking other classes. I just took a course, or a little workshop, last night on AI, and how it’s going to impact the design industry moving forward and how it’s impacting the fashion industry, it was really fascinating.

So, I’m learning I’m playing, I’m doing things that help me have that bigger vision, but that are also filling my time with things that feel fun and new and exciting, not old and lonely and sad. And, it’s really helping.

One, project with a vision. Two, be busy. Or consider adding some things back into your schedule. It doesn’t have to be the “B” word. But fill your time with things that light you up. New things especially, because new and novel can feel really good in these moments.

The third thing, is the thought model, y’all. Manage your thoughts. Notice that your thoughts create your feelings, create your actions. And if you’re like, “I’m lethargic and can’t get out of the bed. I don’t want to do anything.” Your thoughts, the thoughts you’re thinking over and over; “I miss her. Why is this period of my life over? This is so sad. Who am I now?”

Those thoughts are going to create some emotions that probably then create a lot of inaction most of the time. Not action, but inaction for you; procrastination, being lethargic, laying around not being motivated to do things.

You can absolutely create motivation that moves you into action if you spend time intentionally changing your thoughts. It’s easier said than done. But one of the first things you can do is just start journaling, if you don’t already. It’s a practice I’ve done for, gosh, probably going on 30 years, if not longer, maybe 40.

Seeing your thoughts on paper, and just getting a handle and noticing. Don’t even do anything about it, yet. Just notice the thought loops you’re in. I noticed, after the fact, after I had been in some negative, complaining thought loops all summer long. I was like, “Oh, I’m so tired and fatigued.” I looked back and I was like, “Oh, well, that makes sense. I’ve been complaining daily, multiple times a day about all this stuff we’re having to do. Of course, I’m creating this kind of experience for myself.”

So, really understanding that think-feel-do cycle, and what I think creates a feeling, and then it makes me do or not do things. Get awareness around that. What are you spending all your time thinking about? What experiences are you creating or not creating in your life, good or bad? Can you shift or reframe some of those thoughts in a way that are going to create a different experience for you in the day to day?

Because we really do have this much power and this much control over our daily experiences if we’re willing to look at our thoughts. You’ve got to put them on paper to look at them. You can’t just see them in your head. That we just believe them when they’re up there. You’ve got to write them down and be like, “Oh, I didn’t realize I was thinking that so much, am saying that so much.” So, the thought model.

Then, number four, I combine these. So, it can be play or exercise, but definitely something that lights you up. But it needs to be really, play plus exercise. Move your body. When I get home from tennis, every week on a Tuesday, I feel like a different human. Plus, I’m really tired and I sleep really well those days.

But moving your body, getting that stress out, doing something fun, laughing, playing. You want to exercise and play. That’s strategy number four, and you’re going to need this. It’s really as simple as that. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, and it doesn’t mean it’s always going to feel good.

What I do for transitions, is I have a new project with a vision. I put new things in my life and schedule, so that I stay pretty busy. So, don’t have time to just sit around and be sad or only be sad. I make space for sadness. Trust me, there’s times to be sad. There are times to journal about my sadness. I don’t try to buffer those feelings away. I let them be there.

Sometimes I’m sad while painting. Sometimes I’m sad while playing tennis; two things can be true at once. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t put those actions or activities in my life.
So, that’s number two, doing the new novel things to keep ourselves busy, managing our thoughts, getting aware of them, journaling them, and then number four, play and exercise. Y’all, I’ve used the strategies over and over again.

Like I said, to get my daughter to kindergarten, to go through a difficult period of my marriage, to transition through hard times in business when money wasn’t coming in, or team members are leaving, or I’m just burned out or tired of the thing I’m doing.

These four things, I realized, when I sat down and really looked at how I moved through these strategies, have been my go-to tools time and again, over and over again. They really work. I wanted you to have them. I wanted you to have them in this four-step process, because it’s really not hard. They don’t have to be in order, but four things you can do to move yourself through a transition.

Because I know we’re all humans. I know every one of you is going through some kind of transition as we speak. Okay, friends, that’s what I have for you today. I’m rocking the empty nest. It is my jam. I’m loving it. I’m loving my new hobbies and experiences. It’s feeling easy with my husband.

That might not always be the case, it might get bumpy at some time, but if it does, I’ve got four great tools and strategies that I can keep using to move myself through these transitions. I think that you’re going to find that they’re really helpful to you, too.

Okay, so let me know what you think about this. Let me know out on the interwebs, tell me in my DMs on Instagram, what you thought about this. Have any of these been tools you’ve already been using? Are they things that are new to you, but you’re going to use them now?

If you want to hear me talk about some of this, and how I noticed myself in the negative thought loop and decided to intentionally have a little tool for that, you can go listen to one of my lives. I can’t remember exactly what day it was, but sometime in August, probably the latter part of August.

You’ll see it on my Instagram that I’m talking about how I just really simply got out a piece of paper and started writing down all the things that were going right, instead of all the things that were going wrong. It made a huge difference. But yeah, come back to these practices and these tools time and again, because they’re going to really transition you through hard times. They’re going to be there for you.

You don’t have to have someone else now. Yes, therapists are amazing. Go to them, please. Coaches are amazing. Go to them, please. Use all the resources. But in those moments where you’re not sitting in your therapist’s chair, or you’re not having somebody right there to support you, you absolutely can support yourself with these tools. I’ve done it time and again, and I know it’s going to work for you, too.

Okay, that’s what I got for you today, y’all. So good. Don’t forget, if you’re in a transition in your business, and you’re wanting to think about new revenue streams, we have completed all three parts of our Revenue Stream Training, but it was epic. So good. It was a three-part workshop. You can still get it, you can still buy it, and watch all the parts and pieces at stream.

That might be another tool for you as you move through a business transition. We’ve got a lot of new workshops coming for you, because that’s what I’m hearing from everybody right now. Things trend, people, we all kind of move in similar patterns. Most everybody I’m talking to right now wants shorter, sweeter, to-the-point workshops instead of eight or 12 module courses. I get that. So, we’re listening. We’re obliging.

We’ve got some other amazing workshops coming for you. And if you would like a workshop on a specific topic, I want to know, so tell me that in the DMs too. We have people asking for workshops on creating content, creating reels, how to work your social media, implementing deeper strategies for some of the specific revenue streams. There’s just a lot of things people have asked for. We want to know, so we’re listening, we’re all ears. Let us know.

I’ll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye, for now.

Thank you for listening to The Design You Podcast. If you want to discover a new path to success in the interior design industry, then join me for my three-part training called How to Create Additional Revenue Streams. In this training, I’ll teach you the strategies to launch innovative income streams and free you from the limitations of traditional design services.

Don’t miss this opportunity to revolutionize your business and thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Grab the training series now to prepare you and your business for today and beyond. Go to

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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