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Transition time? Ugh. Here we go again.

Transition blues. Ugh. Here we go again.

Nineteen years ago, I had a plan. I’d quit my job as a journalist, write my book of mentoring wisdom from great women leaders, then get real rich. Talk about career transition and reinvention!

The day I resigned, my friend Susan said, “I hope you understand that it will be a very long time before you see a penny from that book.”

I thought she had no idea how good my book was going to be.

I dove into my dream, all gung-ho and certain of my inevitable success. But soon I became the humiliating cliché of the starving author in transition

Careers move in and out of transition. It's all about the obstacles.

Careers move in and out of transition. It’s all about the obstacles.

who couldn’t find a publisher. I’d left my career to pursue my dream – and I’d failed.

I remember driving through the toll booth on Florida’s Skyway Bridge and seeing a sign that they were hiring toll collectors.

“I wonder if they’ll hire me,” I thought.

That’s how defeated I was. Never mind that I’d been very successful as a journalist and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize four times. Was this my next transition?

A friend shook some sense into me.

“If you lose faith in yourself,” she said, “Then who is going to have faith in you?”

Susan was so right that it would be years before I ever saw a penny from my book. But I persevered and it became a best-seller and then an Oprah book. All of my obstacles led me to a career as a leadership speaker. I never would have imagined that in a million years.

That whole experience, which was both crushing and exhilarating, taught me so much about our career highs and lows. It’s never a straight shot up. There will always be setbacks. If it were easy, everybody would be wildly successful.

And the real challenge is this: Once you figure it out and make it, you have to figure it out and make it again. These days, this world changes so fast that we have to keep re-inventing. That can be exhausting.

Shouldn’t we get to coast a little?

But we don’t get that luxury. I have to do re-invent, too. What worked five years ago doesn’t work now. Reboot or be irrelevant.

Your ability to succeed rests solely on your ability to recalibrate and rebound. If you are sick of proving yourself, you aren’t alone. But you have no choice. You can’t keep doing what isn’t working and you are too smart to just give up.

So, buck up.

Figure it out.

Recalibrate your vision, come up with your task list, expect obstacles and setbacks and always know that, one way or another, you will be successful.

I just finished writing my ninth book – this time, it isn’t about leadership. It’s about dealing with my parents as they aged, faced stroke, Alzheimer’s and dementia, then died. Per usual, I’ve had some obstacles. I had an agent tell me the book was too personal. Another said that nobody wants to read a book like that when they are dealing with those issues. But I persevere for one reason: I needed such a book when I was facing those issues.

And, anyhow, if I don’t have faith in myself – and my work – who’s going to have faith in me?

Fawn Germer is one of America’s most sought-after leadership keynote speakers. She’s the best-selling author of nine books and is one of two women in the top 25 on the prestigious “Guru List” of best leadership speakers worldwide. For speaking information, write



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