Like the old Nina Simone song my mom used to play, she laments in her velvety voice, “Everything must change, nothing stays these same.”  With this healthy expectation of change; it’s a wonder that we are still surprised when it happens when we are in it, and when our priorities are shaken by it.

Many times the reality that you are in a transition doesn’t settle in until you notice essential parts of your life not working as they should – health issues arise, relationship friction begins, or your overall contentment slumps.

It’s normal, and there is a way to shift your perspective about all the chaos. When I help my clients create new confidence, the first thing I help them reveal is the recent significant changes in their life and how that change is affecting their self-belief to create growth and happiness.

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”

John C. Maxwell

Transitions are anything from relationship changes – marriage, divorce, separation, windowing; to role changes in relationships – to wife, to mother, to empty nester. Also, let’s not forget the vocation transitions – promotions, demotions, career field shifts, business starts, partnerships, business ends, and leadership challenges.

Breathe! All of these major transitions shake every part of your life outwardly but rock the core of you are internally too. Putting the pieces of yourself – your priorities with others’ expectations – back together in an order that feels fulfilling is overwhelming.

I’m here to share three ways to reduce the overwhelm and turn the tables toward new confidence after any period of transition.

1. Focus On Yourself

“Sounds like being selfish, Michele!”

It is, and it’s essential.  Use this word with positive connotation instead of a negative one. The time after a fresh transition is the time to be focused on your self.

It’s easy to see how a transition is affecting those outside yourself, but far too often, women forget they are the nucleus to the change and forget to see how it has changed them as a person first.

Seeing how a change has first affected you is vital for gaining personal perspective and meaning from any situation. It makes a stronger foundation to see then how you will adopt the change toward your priorities and purpose.

A useful way to focus on yourself is to do step two.

2. Adopt A Directed Journal Practice

“But I don’t know what to write, Michele!”

I know. I hear it from my clients all the time when they begin working my processes of journalling.

That’s why adopting a directed journalling approach is so valuable. It makes opening a conversation with yourself much more comfortable. It allows you to drop “how do I” and to commit to “I’m doing” of listening for your most authentic feelings and meaningful lessons any transition is offering you. You can try my free 7×7 journal project here.

3. Redefine Your Confidence

“You mean to find myself, Michele?”

No, and yes.  You already know yourself deep down.  You’ve made decisions and choices as yourself for a long time.  “Redefining” is not the same as “finding.” You are merely uncovering things about yourself that you may not be seeing clearly.  

Confidence is a muscle that is built over time by “finishing” – over and over. In a transition, this opportunity to win, to finish, and to see your greatness in a situation gets clouded. As an image-confidence coach, this is a classic signal that your confidence must be rediscovered, redefined, and renewed. You need to see yourself differently to embrace a shift that captures the new you in your new life.

After 20+ years working with women, I know that one of the best ways to do this is to (literally) see yourself differently in the mirror with your image – the representation of your best inside, placed on the outside. Doing this honors the new individual you are becoming.

Of course, there are other ways to get the same result – health and wellness journeys, traveling, sabbaticals, volunteering, or passion projects. Dive into one that makes your heart sing and showcases your best self.

Adjust The Expectations Of Others

When you embrace the first three strategies, they will connect you to this result. Adjusting the expectations of those around you is the fastest way to feeling settled after a transition. It can also be the most uncomfortable to achieve because it requires the confidence to be assertive and sometimes awkward conversations.

Here’s the thing. Any transition causes you to change but ripples out to those around you, requiring your relationships to change too. They may not want to, and they may not be ready to shift in the way you need to since you’ve redefined your priorities and confidence. Honest, gentle conversations that come from your most honest heart are the key to evolving your most cherished relationships after the change.

These strategies bring new contentment and resolve and help you settle into your new place – until it’s time again to make another transition.

Start your journey to new confidence from your transition with this Confidence Shift podcast episode and my free 7×7 Journal Project. Listen now and sign up to begin!


  • Michele Charles Gustafson

    Certified Image Consultant & Master Life Coach, Amazon Best-selling Author

    Michele Charles Gustafson is a strategic marketing consultant turned Certified Image Consultant, Certified Master Life Coach, and award-winning international success mentor. She is the creator of Hue And Style® - a mentorship platform where she teaches growth-focused entrepreneurs, professionals, and community leaders how to transform their self-belief and personal brand presentation into a superpower. Michele teaches that nothing new happens without fresh confidence and that how you see yourself in the mirror either fuels or stalls your self-esteem, business, career, and relationship goals. After working with thousands of women and more than two decades of success combining self-development clarity, personal branding strategies, image consulting concepts, and success mindset techniques, Michele’s highest aim is to help women activate their greatest potential, make their mark, and live a blissful, purpose-filled life. Michele is an author of two books including a children’s book, Angel In Your Heart, and her latest release an Amazon best-seller called Show Up Confident. She has been a featured contributor here on Thrive Global, has worked in collaboration with a global cosmetics brand for women of color, IMAN Cosmetics, and has appeared as a regularly featured guest on, CTV Your Morning,  Canada’s leading nationally-broadcasted morning show. Michele loves journal-writing, morning coffee, and resides in Northern Alberta, Canada.