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The best of times, the worst of times…

Heidi Wheatley is a successful marketing executive who finds herself in transition.  She’s been kind enough to write a series of blogs for us, and – as we enter a new decade – she writes about New Year’s Goals and her targets for 2020.

Embrace the Happiness and Joy

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” I believe Charles Dickens may have been in transition during the holidays when he wrote that. As the entire world reflects on what was accomplished (or remains unfinished) during the past 12 months – I am conducting the same audit – reflecting on the same months – and trying to determine how my actual year stacked up to the one I envisioned I would have.

Unforeseen Opportunities & Landmines

I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago and started writing New Year’s Goals. I create Personal, Professional, Fitness and Travel categories, assign goals to each, and then post them on my refrigerator. Interestingly enough, changing jobs and moving to a new state were not goals I had for 2018 – but that’s exactly what I did. Taking advantage of opportunities as they arise can completely derail the goals you’d written for yourself, but goals can always be adjusted to adapt to the opportunities and landmines you encounter throughout the year.

At the beginning of 2019, my goals did not include leaving my new job or planning a move back to the city I had just moved from but, that’s exactly what has happened. My transition, albeit stressful and panic inducing at times, was a landmine that derailed my goals but turned out to be an incredible blessing. Transitioning also gave me an opportunity to adjust my goals, adding  new ones to my list, including focusing on my life and getting it in order, spending more time with family and friends and volunteering in a way I never could have while employed full-time. So, while I did not check off any of my original goals for this year, I did add some that were far more beneficial to the new path that I am on and consider this year, not a win or a loss, but a necessary step in finding the best path for me.

The Great Unknown

Not knowing what’s next is scary and exhilarating all at the same time. I wonder where I’ll land professionally, look forward to being back in a city I love with people I love and enjoy having a chance to catch my breath and focus on myself for the first time in my life. The nagging doubts and fears I’ve talked about in previous blogs are still there and I continue to use my worst-best-most realistic case scenario exercise to calm my brain.

As I focus on 2020 and grapple with the vast unknown of the New Year, just like those of you that are also in transition, I find myself unsure of what goals to set. The past two years have brought major life changes that I could not have anticipated. Those changes put me in a place of uncertainty and feeling a bit like a tumbleweed. I’ve been calling this period of time “purgatory” because I have been unable to put down roots – build a solid life – have a familiar routine – for more than a year and my personality type finds that very challenging. If I’m honest with myself, I’m a little scared to write down goals as my professional decisions have upended my life two years in a row. I’m having trouble trusting myself to find a good professional fit, to choose an employer that will value and respect me and be a place I can put down roots and grow right along with the company. I may have just written my first goal – to trust myself to find the right opportunity. In 2018 and 2019, I made the best decisions I could at the time with the information I had. I took a chance and, while that chance didn’t turn out to be the opportunity I’d hoped for, it did bring some amazing new people and adventures into my life – and I’m grateful for that.

Soak Up Joy

The holiday season has been a welcome distraction from the isolation that transition brings and some days I feel almost normal again. I know that feeling is temporary, as everyone will be busy with work priorities again after the holidays, so I am embracing the chance to gather with family and friends and enjoying the busyness of the season, maybe for the first time ever.

How are you planning for the unknown of 2020? What goals do you have? What dreams do you want to come true? It is my sincere hope and belief that we will all find a professional opportunity that allows us to make a positive impact with employers that value our contribution. I want for each of us to have a future that is so wonderful it will make the challenges of transition worthwhile. Transition is not easy but I truly believe it will be worth it. Fully embracing the joys of the season is difficult to do with so much uncertainty about our future but I encourage you, as I encourage myself, to embrace the happiness and joy – pushing those nagging doubts and fears to the dark recesses of your brain – even if it’s just for these next two weeks. Our bright future awaits us in the New Year, and that’s just around the corner.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and for all your dreams to come true in the New Year.


Heidi has been kind enough to write a series of blogs for us on what it is like to be an executive in transition.  You can find her earlier blogs here, here and here.  You can find Heidi on Linkedin.


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