Transition Assistance

It is a drumming rain this morning. Puget Sound weather was known for persistent drizzle with occasional sun breaks. It was good weather for rainbows. Lately, I’ve noticed a change. The environment is getting wetter, windier, and wilder. The meteorologists have noticed a change too. Their climate models have fallen out of their old patterns. They don’t know what’s coming next. I hope we get to keep our rainbows. I don’t know what’s coming next either; but of course, that’s the way most of my life is right now. Transition is upon me, and I don’t know where it’s taking me. With logic, I’ll sort out as much as I can. With luck, there will be help along the way. With wisdom, there will be pieces that just have to go with the flow.

The logical parts of my life are so engrained by upbringing and training that I frequently forget to mention them. Engineering teaches a mindset and philosophy as much as it teaches math and science. Break a big problem down into little choices and daunting tasks become doable. The steps in Joe Dominguez’s Nine Step Program for financial integrity (see New Road Map’s web site, or check out Your Money Or Your Life for details) provide tools to sort through choices that balance needs and wants, money and life. The resulting frugality means my terrible financial situation is made more manageable by focusing on my values. Eating out is too expensive, but I prefer my own cooking anyway.

Logically, I also know that I can’t do everything myself. One of the benefits of living on Whidbey, or any small yet caring community, is that support is available. On Monday, I’ll call up Hearts and Hammers, a local home repair program run by volunteers. My house has a window frame that requires repair beyond my skills and current finances. It is the south window, the one that catches the storms. Maybe they can help. I look forward to helping them after my finances recover.

More formal help has been harder to find. Eighteen years of working at Boeing and working at my own business for fourteen years mean zero unemployment benefits. The Boeing work isn’t recent enough, and my business has never made enough to pay me or the State unemployment fund.

Luckily, help arrives from unexpected directions. Yesterday started with a surprise email and call from an editor compiling an anthology of stories of men in middle-aged transition. A friend and client referred me to her because of my newest book, Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland. Within an hour she had an excerpt, two photos, my bio, and my portrait for a package she was sending out by the end of the weekend. A tweak or two later and more of my writing and message are ready to go out into the world along yet another avenue. (I enjoyed her description of my writing style. Evidently, I write about emotional awareness and spirituality as if I was speaking from the pub instead of the pulpit.)

A while later, Sandra Rodman of Right Brain Aerobics called to collaborate on a corporate consulting tools and subsequent e-book, and a think tank and newsletter. We even touched on a business that may make money by paying people to meditate. Sandra is helping corporations that are facing transitions. Old business models and even recently shifted paradigms are already out of date and are being replaced. She intrigued me with an interesting observation. The very people who are best at guiding others through transition are the ones who are already there, but being in the midst of this transition isn’t easy. Most of these pioneers and scouts, the two of us included, knew we had to set off into a tumultuous unknown. We’ll play a valuable role, but we must pass through hard times so we can empathize with those who follow.

As the day closed on dinner I got phone call from a friend who is using one of the most powerful hiring tools, personal help from the inside. I’m sure most companies have referral programs, but they are easy for the folks inside to forget about amidst their daily tasks lists. She, however, has gone through three years of even harder times than mine. One of the first things she did when she got her job was to reach out to people like me who she is eager to endorse for positions in her company. I salute one of my champions. If it works, you’ll read about it here, and I’ll reach out as she is doing.

Those last two friends together convinced me to rephrase one aspect of my consulting services. Yes, I consult entrepreneurs and artists, but I also consult with people in transition. A person choosing to change or being required to change can use some help, and it is best to get that help from someone who has experienced change. Let’s see. I’ve gone from engineer to voluntarily frugal to private karate instructor to millionaire to writer to photographer to teacher to speaker to consultant to necessarily frugal to . . .  ?


Luck arrives too. I’ve noticed people say things like, “You could use some luck.”, “Your luck will come.” Lately, I’ve been asking them to repeat it and include the word, “good”. Considering the incredible string of not-so-good luck that I’ve had for the last two years, I think the rephrasing is worth a try.

Good luck dropped by when I told another friend about the referral. It turns out that yet another friend has an empty house within walking distance of that potential job, and it is all in an old, familiar neighborhood. It isn’t on Whidbey, but that job and that house, and that commute, and that salary would mean I could keep this house and my financial sanity.

The best luck can be the easiest to ignore. The car that runs fine. The heart that beats. The lungs that breathe. The experience that keeps my back pain-free despite stumbles. The chance glance out the window that reveals a momentary rainbow. The myriad of things that go right every moment, even if they don’t have to.

Wisdom is the most valuable. The good luck involved in winning the lottery jackpot would be appreciated; but wisdom is the hardest to describe with due humility. Partly that’s because the consequences of logic and luck can be immediate, yet the decision to follow intuition or to choose life paths based on personal values can only truly be called wise after a life has been lived. What’s more important than that?

Good logic and good luck and good wisdom are, well, they are what I am counting on. Good logic, good luck, and good wisdom are probably my best transition assistants.

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: and at my amazon author page:
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3 Responses to Transition Assistance

  1. Susan Averett says:

    Always appreciate your insights and your outlook, Tom. You have a wonderful ability to stay positive, regardless of the challenges on the path. Would like to offer you a complementary reiki session sometime in the next few weeks, if you would like one. Just let me know! Sue

    Sue Averett The Enchanted Studio/Whidbey Magic Whidbey Island Reiki

  2. Sue, Thanks. I intend to take you up on that. I’ll see you at the other bit of community help, The South Whidbey Commons’ annual holiday local author signing event this afternoon.

  3. So nice to see that your reaching out with such unending positive outlook in spite of that now banished bad luck is finally getting the response you deserve…recognition for the value you have and can bring to others. And now that all these things are moving from opportunity to reality I figure there is a big party coming that will fill that empty house.

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