This episode is a little bit of a sad one because it will be Ferne’s last episode as my co-host. My little girl (who’s not so little) is growing up. She’ll need this time to focus on her PhD and head to the tropics for fieldwork. In this last episode together, we talk about transitions. We talk about moving from one phase of life to another: a new job, a different town, time without a partner, no longer being on a podcast. Why do life changes always feel so hard? And how do we make them just a little bit easier?
A note from Ferne: Thank you to all our listeners who encouraged me to continue recording. I appreciate all your kind words and notes of encouragement. I’m sure I will be back as a guest soon!
Listen to this new episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast!
Read the episode's transcript here:
Don’t forget to fill out our survey!
What do you think about this episode? Let us know! Do you have a case or a topic that you’d like us to talk about? Reach out! Please email us:
[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back™. You have just tuned into The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast with my awesome, amazing, incredible, outstanding, phenomenal daughter and co-host Ferne. Ferne, welcome.
[00:00:23] Ferne Kotlyar:
Hello, hello! How are you?
[00:00:26] Kim Ades:
I'm great! I'm happy to see you and I'm happy to be doing this podcast with you. What is on your mind today?
[00:00:34] Ferne Kotlyar:
So today I wanna talk about transitions. I know transitions are kind of hard for everybody moving from one place to another, physically, mentally, emotionally, whatever it may be. But for me personally, this transition is a particularly tough one because... I'm gonna be transitioning off the podcast.
[00:00:55] Kim Ades:
Yeah. It's a sad day.
[00:00:58] Ferne Kotlyar:
A little bit.
[00:00:58] Kim Ades:
But it's a temporary one, kind of, sort of, right? You're just taking a hiatus. You're just taking some time off to focus on your PhD.
[00:01:09] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah. I've had a lot– I have a lot going on right now. Tackling a lot of different projects, and I'll be heading to Costa Rica soon to do field work. So I really need to focus on getting my permits ready and making sure all my experiments are lined up accordingly. And... Yeah, I'm gonna have to take a break.
[00:01:30] Kim Ades:
Okay. Well, we understand and we encourage you to focus on your primary joy or passion, which is right now your school. And so, I'm okay with it.
[00:01:45] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:01:45] Kim Ades:
Even though I'm gonna miss my co-host.
[00:01:49] Ferne Kotlyar:
I'm gonna miss it too.
[00:01:51] Kim Ades:
But maybe, who knows? You'll tune back in and every once in a while as a special guest. What do you think about that?
[00:01:57] Ferne Kotlyar:
Absolutely. Sounds incredible to me.
[00:02:00] Kim Ades:
Okay, so let's talk about transition. So, how are you feeling about all the stuff that you're transitioning into? You're leaving, you're coming, you're going, you're gonna be moving in with your boyfriend soon. Like, lots and lots of change!
[00:02:14] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah. And I'm changing my lifestyle from a close to campus, always around, always involved to commuter, and I'm not– I'm very excited about it because I will be living with my boyfriend and I cannot wait for that. I miss him so much when he lives in Montreal. But it's a very different lifestyle, and I... I have to come to terms with the fact that it's gonna be different.
[00:02:42] Kim Ades:
Yeah. Okay, so we're gonna talk about transitions in general, so not just for you, the notches for this situation, but overall, what makes transitioning from one thing to another hard? So there are a few things. One thing is we don't know what to expect.
And so sometimes when we think about a transition and imagine ourselves in another place, we sometimes picture things being hard or tough or uncomfortable, not as easy, and certainly not as familiar as they are now. And that causes a little discomfort, right?
[00:03:15] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:03:16] Kim Ades:
When we think about transition, we anticipate -that word is important-, we anticipate a negative emotion, a negative experience. And so, where does anticipation come from? Anticipation comes from the way we think, right?
So when we think about our thinking process, what happens first is we have a thought, that thought turns into a belief. If we have the same thought over and over again, it becomes a belief. When we have a belief, it forms our expectations, right? So when we talk about anticipating something, we're talking about our expectations.
[00:03:52] Ferne Kotlyar:
Would it not be the the other way around in the sense that you have a belief that creates your expectations, not expectations creating beliefs? Or is it... Doesn't really matter?
[00:04:01] Kim Ades:
No, your beliefs, the beliefs you have form or lead to the expectations you have, but at the same time, right? When we have something coming up, we have certain thoughts about it and we have beliefs about it, and those beliefs lead us to a certain level or a certain kind of expectation about what that experience will be.
So in your case, you're like, "okay, my boyfriend's coming to town. I expect that to be a good experience. But there are some parts of it that I anticipate, I expect might be more challenging, like commuting, like living off campus, like not being so close to all the things that I'm really close to right now, not having as much accessibility. So I believe that might be tough", right?
[00:04:49] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:04:49] Kim Ades:
And when we believe something's going to be tough or difficult, it creates dis-ease, discomfort.
[00:04:58] Ferne Kotlyar:
So what are you supposed to believe?
[00:05:01] Kim Ades:
Well, it's not "what are you supposed to believe?". In your case, I've seen you make so many transitions in your life. You've transitioned from being in a home with two parents to a home with two– Divorced parents living in two homes.
You've transitioned from high school to university. You've transitioned from Toronto to Montreal. You've transitioned from going to university and then doing these really extraordinary trips in weird and different places where sometimes your living accommodations didn't have walls. You know, you are an incredible adapter. You adapt so well to transition because...
[00:05:45] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:05:45] Kim Ades:
...part of the conversation you also have is "it'll be fine". You literally say that out loud to me all the time. "It'll be fine. It'll be fine".
[00:05:54] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Chuckles] What are you supposed to say?
[00:05:56] Kim Ades:
Well... But that's also a belief. So how do we make transitions easier? By really assessing our ability to cope, and looking back at historical experiences where we have been able to cope. So when we know something's coming up, a transition's coming up, something that is unfamiliar and might cause us to be out of our element, what helps us with transition is looking back at our previous transitions and realizing, "Hey, we handled it fine. We coped with it. We have the ability, we have the competency, we have the resilience to handle transition". So yes, it will be fine.
[00:06:45] Ferne Kotlyar:
And if, for example, someone didn't handle a transition so well and they look back and say, "Hey, look, I actually didn't handle transition so well, how can I change that for the future?"
[00:06:55] Kim Ades:
[00:06:55] Ferne Kotlyar:
Would that not...
[00:06:58] Kim Ades:
[00:06:58] Ferne Kotlyar:
...cloud, the way they make judgements in the future?
[00:07:01] Kim Ades: Well, so that's a good question. So let's say they didn't handle a transition well, we might say "what made it tough?" "Oh, well, what made it tough was, you know, I moved into a place and I didn't have all of the things that made me comfortable. I didn't have my furniture, I had to sleep on a floor".
And so, what we say is let's look at the things that make transition tough and let's figure out strategically and from an implementation standpoint how to make it easier. So when we look at, for example, okay? Let's look at kids. Do they transition easily? We need to give them a bit of a head start.
Let's say you take your kids and they're on a play date somewhere at your neighbor's house. Typically, you can't just say, "okay, we're going now. Goodbye. Grab your things, let's go". Kids resist that, right? So they need a little bit of a heads up, they need a little bit of a warning. So you say, "okay, we're leaving in 10 minutes". And then five minutes later you tell them "you have five more minutes". So you're giving them a bit of a countdown, and that prepares them mentally for that transition.
But at the same time, we can prepare physically for transition too, right? By making sure we have our things done and prepared and ready. So, for example, you're gonna be moving into an apartment with your boyfriend in the summer. Great! So you're expecting a transition.
How do we not leave that transition as a last minute experience? How do we prepare for that in advance? How do we make sure we're ready? Perhaps we can hire a moving company. Perhaps we can get a real estate agent to help us find the right place to live in. Perhaps we can tie up the loose ends in our current living situations. Perhaps we can think about what are the things we're gonna need in this new house; maybe we need to buy a bed.
And so there's a planning element and planning enables transition to be easier too. The same way that we need to give kids a little bit of advanced warning, when we have transitions, planning makes life easier.
It also applies to work related transitions. How do we help someone change jobs? A little bit of planning, a little bit of advanced notice, a little bit of exposure to what is expected so that they can come in prepared. Preparation enables transitions to be a little bit easier.
Sometimes we don't have preparation time. Sometimes we're thrown into new things and leaning in on the fact that, hey, we are capable, we can handle this, we'll figure it out. You know, that figure it out ability component helps transitions tremendously.
[00:09:43] Ferne Kotlyar:
And how do you teach somebody that figuring it out component?
[00:09:48] Kim Ades:
When you have children and they figure things out, we say, "Hey, look! You figured it out, way to go! You're the kind of person who figures things out. I'm proud of you". And so what you do is you would reinforce that a person has the capacity. And if you've never had that as a child, look back at your own history, your experiences, and notice when you figured things out.
And it could be little things like, "oh! I figured out how this new computer works", or, "oh! I figured out how this mathematical formula works", or "I figured out how to work the tv", that could be a challenge. Whatever it is.
[00:10:28] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:10:28] Kim Ades:
Right? "I figured it out. I figured out how to buy groceries under budget. I figured out how to go on a trip and get everybody's luggage into the car".
[00:10:41] Ferne Kotlyar:
Okay, now here's a question.
[00:10:44] Kim Ades:
[00:10:44] Ferne Kotlyar:
With respect to figuring things out, does that refer to figuring it out alone? Or can you get help and say, "well, I figured out how to get help. Who helped me figure it out?" Does that still say "I figured it out", or does that say, "I asked for help"? Do you understand the question?
[00:11:00] Kim Ades:
Asking for help is a hundred percent part of figuring it out. "I figured out who to ask, and I figured out that if I ask, someone will say yes!" Right?
[00:11:12] Ferne Kotlyar:
So it's not like "I have to figure it out alone and therefore I figured it out".
[00:11:18] Kim Ades:
Of course not. Of course not. It's not like, a task of independence. It's not a task of figuring things out in isolation. That's not the goal. The goal is "I'm gonna make a change. How do I handle change? What are my resources? What am I focused on? Am I focused on what I want or what I don't want? Am I focused on the problem or the solution?"
And you know, in addition to that, "what are the beliefs that I have around transition and change?" Right? So we're looking at all of these aspects and elements when you're saying, "can I help someone?" Of course, that's part of figuring it out. If you move to a new city and you don't know how to get to the bank, and you ask someone and they say, "here, go here, here, and here". You're like, "oh, look at that. I figured it out. I asked somebody. I made it. I figured it out".
[00:12:14] Ferne Kotlyar:
So it doesn't take away merit.
[00:12:16] Kim Ades:
Of course not! I would say it adds merit, extra points for asking for help.
[00:12:23] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:12:23] Kim Ades:
Because it's leveraging the resources that are at your disposal. So many people struggle because they're uncomfortable asking for help. They're uncomfortable leveraging the resources that are right there.
[00:12:36] Ferne Kotlyar:
Do you think that there are people who ask too soon for help and don't even try to do it themselves?
[00:12:41] Kim Ades:
I think sometimes people ask too soon, but generally speaking, I don't think that that's the biggest issue. The biggest issue is that people are uncomfortable asking for help. They'd rather pack it in, they'd rather call it a day than feel the discomfort of saying, "Hey, I need some help".
[00:13:03] Ferne Kotlyar:
And do you think that that lack of asking for help is an inhibitor to change?
[00:13:10] Kim Ades:
I think it makes transition more tumultuous. I think it makes transition and change harder to cope with. Because if I'm moving somewhere, if I'm making a change and I think no one's there to help me, I'm in it all by myself... Boy, that's–
[00:13:28] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:13:28] Kim Ades:
Daunting. That's exactly the word I was looking for. That's daunting. But if I think, "hey, I'm gonna go somewhere new and I'm gonna talk to people, and if I need help, I can ask someone. If I'm lonely, I can meet someone and we can go for coffee together. If I'm having trouble with the language, I'll ask my neighbor to translate for me. I'll figure it out". Now it's not so daunting.
[00:13:55] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:13:57] Kim Ades:
Yeah. I'll tell you a very quick story. I, I don't know if you ever knew this story. It's a story of how I met your father, my first husband. So I moved to Ottawa, I was living in Montreal, moved to Ottawa. I was 18 years old, moved to Ottawa and it was my first night in residence.
I didn't know anybody, I didn't have any friends, and there was a party called "Thrill on the Hill", and I made a decision that I wanted to go to that party. I moved to a new city and I wanted to socialize, I wanted to meet people, and so I got myself to this party by myself. I–
[00:14:33] Ferne Kotlyar:
You went alone?
[00:14:34] Kim Ades:
I went alone. It was called "Thrill on the Hill", Parliament Hill. I walk in and all of a sudden it hit me: "oh my God, I'm alone".
[00:14:41] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:14:42] Kim Ades:
Right? But I had a plan and I said, "here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna go and buy a drink", right? Like, there was a lineup to get drinks, wine, beer, whatever. "I'm gonna go stand in line to buy a drink and I'm gonna start talking to the person standing beside me". That was my mental plan.
[00:15:03] Ferne Kotlyar:
Nice. Love it.
[00:15:05] Kim Ades:
Right? So transition plan. I had a plan and on the way to the bar to buy a drink, your dad intercepted me. He stopped me. He cut me off.
[00:15:16] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:15:16] Kim Ades:
Yeah, and he said, "would you like to dance?"
[00:15:19] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:15:21] Kim Ades:
That's exactly what happened. And in my mind I'm like, "thank God someone just saved me". [Laughs]
[00:15:25] Ferne Kotlyar:
Who knew he was so bold!
[00:15:27] Kim Ades:
Who knew he was so bold. And I said, "sure!" And it's not like, you know, it was love at first sight, it wasn't something like that, but I felt like a sense of relief that suddenly I wasn't at this party alone.
[00:15:40] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:15:41] Kim Ades:
Right? But... So, when you have a plan, you're like, "okay, I'll figure it out. I'll deal with it. I'll do my best", and sometimes it doesn't work out. But more often than not, it does.
[00:15:55] Ferne Kotlyar:
So, we discussed transitions, physical transitions... What about emotional transitions? Like the transition of somebody being– Well, for example, your husband to a divorcee. Like, how do you deal with... Not that you're necessarily moving locations, but state relationship status with somebody. And that doesn't necessarily have to mean emotional or sexual relationship with somebody, but friendship or a parent or whatever it may be.
[00:16:30] Kim Ades:
[00:16:30] Ferne Kotlyar:
How do you deal with that kind of transition as well?
[00:16:33] Kim Ades:
How do you deal with– Well, I think that there's... When your status, relationship status changes, sometimes, it's a loss. And so you have to think about "how do I mourn this loss? And how do I experience this loss as something that is not life defining?"
In other words... So, when I got divorced, what does that mean? Does that mean I'm a terrible wife? Does that mean I'm a horrible person and unlovable? Does that mean I don't deserve to be in a good relationship?
We don't wanna do that. We don't wanna do any of that. It means this relationship didn't work out. So it's very important to define what it is as it is, and to understand why the relationship status changed. You know, maybe somebody died.
But what does it mean for you? Does it mean the end of your world? Does it mean that things are done? Like what does it actually mean for you? And assigning meaning in a positive way to a change of status is super important in handling that transition.
So when I look back at my marriage, my first marriage, was it a terrible marriage? It wasn't. It was in so many ways a wonderful marriage. And of course it gave me you and your brother. It was right at that time. It wasn't right forever. Right? And so, it's very important not to go back and rewrite things as though, you know, don't change the past.
The past is the past. And don't use the past to get stuck in the past, right? So the idea is grow from transition, grow from your history, take your learnings, understand what you need now, understand what's important now, understand what a better relationship might look like, a more compatible relationship, whatever it is. But take your experiences and leverage them to continue on your path, and that's very important when you think about transition of any kind.
[00:18:51] Ferne Kotlyar:
So you mentioned assigning positive intent or... putting a positive spin on kind of what happened in that transition.
[00:18:59] Kim Ades:
[00:18:59] Ferne Kotlyar:
I forget the exact words that you used, but how would you do that in a case where it feels like everything's terrible about it?
[00:19:07] Kim Ades:
Well, from my perspective, and we teach our clients this, that everything has a silver lining, everything has a gift wrapped up underneath it. I'll give you an example, okay? So Allan, my current husband, your stepfather, had very severe eye problems and had trouble seeing.
One eye working at 40%, the other eye had so much volatility that it really affected him and he couldn't drive, so I did all the driving. And over time he worked with a wonderful eye doctor who helped him find a very specific lens called the scleral lens that now helps him see.
But because he didn't drive for so long, he didn't feel comfortable driving. He was very uncomfortable and uneasy behind the wheel, so I did all the driving. But then my knee had a meniscus tear in it, and every time I drive, my knee kills me.
So Allan, being who he is, said, "okay, well let me drive. I can drive during the day or I can drive on the highways because it's just a straight run". And what happened was he started taking on the role. He stepped up and he said, "okay, well let me try more. Let me try more", and because it really hurts me to drive.
So now... like, is a meniscus tear a great thing? It's not. It hurts. It's not a great thing. But that bad thing had a silver lining. What's the silver lining? Allan's driving again. And so, what I'm really trying to say is every bad thing has a silver lining.
Every thing is just a thing, it's not bad or good. We think it's bad or good. We assign positive or negative to each instance, but if we just look at it as a thing that takes place, we can learn to assign positive meaning to that thing.
[00:21:13] Ferne Kotlyar:
Do you really believe that anything can be assigned positive meaning? Like, aren't there some things that are just objectively bad?
[00:21:20] Kim Ades:
I think some things are objectively bad that lead to, that lay the foundation for objectively good. Right? And it's our job to not look at it in isolation, but to look at things in a grander, a more whole manner.
[00:21:43] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:21:45] Kim Ades:
[00:21:45] Ferne Kotlyar:
I think sometimes that can be really hard, but you really need to take a step back.
[00:21:51] Kim Ades:
It can be very hard because we can get very trapped in the moment and in the, what we perceive to be, objectively negative experience. And what I wanna do is say, okay, like, yes, it feels objectively negative in the moment, but how is this going to serve you?
And if you can start to build the mindset, build the habit of leveraging your negative experiences and turn them into advantages as opposed to disadvantages, now we're also building resilience. And what we understand is negative experiences typically are a moment in time, they pass.
[00:22:34] Ferne Kotlyar:
But then, do positive experiences not pass as well?
[00:22:37] Kim Ades:
Yes they do. But what does that mean? We're constantly assigning good, bad, good, bad, good, bad. Stop doing that. It's just a thing. And we have the brain power to move faster, if we want to, from bad to good. And we have the brain power to lean on good, expect good. And when we expect good, transitions are a lot easier.
[00:23:04] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:23:05] Kim Ades:
Yeah, that's a good way to wrap this up.
[00:23:07] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah. Very interesting.
[00:23:10] Kim Ades:
Very interesting. All right. Well, I'm sad to see you go, but I'm really excited for all the adventures that lie ahead for you. I know you're gonna crush every single one of them, and I wanna say goodbye, but only temporarily. This is only a moment in time.
I know we'll be back and I know we'll be doing some cool and interesting things together soon again, and for anybody who wants to say goodbye to Ferne for now, please, I invite you to reach out to her directly. What's your email address? How do they reach you?
[00:23:44] Ferne Kotlyar:
Please email me at Fernekotlyar@live.com. And this isn't goodbye, it's a see you later. I also wanted to thank you for everything, for the podcast, for hosting it with me and for inviting me onto the show and doing this together. It was really lovely.
[00:24:07] Kim Ades:
It was fun. I love you, I love talking with you and discussing things with you, and it's always good. And what's gonna happen to the podcast next, you ask? Well, I'm gonna have special guests, I'm gonna invite some of my coaches to join me, maybe I'll do a solo act.
I'd love to hear from you. What do you think? What do you wanna hear more of? What are you interested in? What questions do you have? What issues do you wanna discuss? Maybe I'll coach people anonymously.
If anyone wants anonymous coaching, please reach out. My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. We really want your feedback on this. And for those of you who are listening next week, I will see you then. Have a good one, everyone!
[00:24:54] Ferne Kotlyar: