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Transition With Purpose

Dear blog readers,

This is my first post since leaving my role as CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Thank you for the the many emails and posts wishing me well in the next adventure.  I am grateful for the outpouring of encouraging words and support.

Last fall, I planned 12 topics that I would blog about in 2017.  For the month of April, I chose the topic of Purpose.  Of course, at that time I had no idea that Popeyes would be sold to a new owner on March 27th and that I would lose my job.  So it has taken me a couple of weeks to ponder what I would say about purpose during this time of personal transition.  But then, as I have talked to others about transition, I realized that there is never a more relevant time to talk about purpose than at a time of transition.

Work transition, particularly when it is unexpected, brings with it a range of emotions… the primary one being a sense of loss.  Loss of relationships.  Loss of role. Loss of a future plan. Loss of financial security… to name a few. And thus, transition can bring with it a version of grieving that might include emotions like shock, pain, anger, and loneliness. It might feel like you are suddenly without a purpose.

If you are experiencing transition, I can assure you these feelings are a normal part of the journey. In recent weeks, I have felt a sense of loss at this unexpected ending. But thinking about purpose has been an antidote to these thoughts.  And I believe purpose will eventually provide the “answer” to what my next adventure will be.

My Personal Purpose: To inspire purpose-driven leaders to exhibit competence and character in all aspects of their lives.

In the short-term, here is how purpose is helping me move forward.  I have used my purpose as a filter for things I can do while I process the emotions.  For example:

  1. I’ve written notes and made calls to encourage leaders in their career journey.
  2. I spoke at a leadership event to encourage young leaders with my Dare to Serve principles.
  3. I read a John Maxwell leadership book called Intentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters.
  4. I’ve met with five or six people who have gone through a job transition recently to learn how they used their personal purpose to find their next adventure.
  5. I’ve listened to potential job opportunities, but have delayed my response until I’ve reflected on what will best match my purpose.

But let me add this warning: you can’t think about your transition non-stop. That will just lead to worry and anxiety.

Plan some activities during this time that are relaxing and different from your ordinary days. Perhaps you can use this time to do things you may have neglected when you were busy with your job.  A few things in that category for me:

  1. I have called a few of my girlfriends that I have not seen in a long time — and caught up with their lives.
  2. I’ve planned two “date nights” with my husband.
  3. I signed up to do volunteer work at one of my favorite charities.
  4. I’ve worked on losing a few pounds and walking more steps.
  5. This weekend I’m going to two movies — and I haven’t been to a movie in over 3 years!

Many of you have asked me, “What will you do next?”  And the honest answer today is, “I don’t know.”  But focusing on personal purpose is going to be the path to finding that ideal place to contribute.

 For those of you experiencing transition, I hope you will dedicate time to creating, refining, and revisiting your personal purpose.  For guidance on how to draft a statement of personal purpose, you can find instructions at cherylbachelder.com

Serve yourself well, as you navigate transition.

0 Responses

  1. Cheryl, I enjoyed your blog as I am also in transition mode after my role was eliminated on February 27 due to a company-wide restructuring. I immediately jumped into the job market but after a few weeks realized that without a purpose, I would not find the right role. I have also taken a moment to enjoy the time: walks with friends and after school talks with my teenagers. Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s a reminder that transitions happen to everyone and that maybe they happen for a reason.

  2. Thank you for your willingness to be authentic and vulnerable. Having been through 2 career transistions, I would add this presents an opportunity to examine, reaffirm and/or modify what is truly important to you and how you choose to live the next phase. We seldom get the chance to stop and reflect. It’s a gift of severe mercy.

  3. Cheryl, reading this blog made me realize that although you were the CEO you too could be caught off guard about your future. It’s not a fun place to be in but your post was spot on- what should the focus be but also allowing yourself time to do things that you haven’t done in a long time. It’s nice to hear you are seeing movies, going on dates and catching up with friends. It is an interesting part of life when you can reinvent if you want or take time to think about the next chapter of your life. Yes your comments about “loss” after the job is gone can be difficult because so many people associate who they are with the job they do. For some, it’s a loss, not only of a job but a loss of themselves.

    Hope you stay in Georgia awhile. Good luck and take care.

    Laurie Chrisner

  4. Cheryl, as always, thank you for your willingness to put yourself out there for others. Your coaching/teaching style if one of the most genuine ever experienced by your fans.

    You have so many more followers than you realize.


  5. I enjoyed your blog about purpose. I too am in transition. I want to stay in touch to see how you find God’s new plan and purpose for your next move. I am finding no burning bushes just one new step forward each day. Though I’m asking, He is not telling all the details.

  6. You’re awesome Cheryl! Some fortunate group will soon be benefiting from your purpose. Thanks for continuing to inspire!

  7. Cheryl – no worries that you will uncover HIS purpose for this stage of your journey. You will be amazed at what HE has in mind. If you read Jesus Calling, seek out March 12th. This one really spoke to me. God Bless.


  8. Cheryl, Your message is inspiring and conforms to me the feelings I’ve had and steps I’ve taken ( and more I will now take) in a recent transition. God is good and I’m excited to see the doors he will open for you. I look forward to hearing from you at the John Maxwell Live2Lead Simulcast in October!
    – Cindy Dove

  9. Thank you Cheryl for your insightful blog on transition with purpose. I especially appreciate the portion on non-stop transition fixation. Allowing yourself some time to enjoy life and to reconnect with important relationship is key, This will allow a fresh wind to flow and allow those you care to flow with you. They have some adjustments too. Blessing. Cecil

  10. Cheryl, I thoroughly love your perspectives here and agree with your approach. I love the concept of creating a “new normal” for yourself as you face endings and new beginnings. So many people try to get “back to normal” and what they miss is..
    That isn’t possible. That version of normal is no more. Creating a new normal for oneself requires proactive, forwarding-thinking behaviors and thoughts and hopefully helps to lessen the pain of loss you mention. I wish you all the best as you find the next thing for yourself!

  11. What an insightful post Cheryl! You are so right, purpose is more important during transitions than ever! May you use this transition to be even more purposeful in the work you’re doing!

    My best to you!

  12. Very wise counsel, Cheryl. Having experienced sudden, unexpected transition myself, from a job and organization that I loved, your words resonated with me. I would only add that it may take longer than one thinks to truly move on emotionally and intellectually to the next chapter. Giving yourself time and grace for that period of grieving, however long that is, will serve you well and you’ll make a better choice for that next chapter. I know I did and I’m happier and more purposeful than I have ever been.

  13. Great post and guidance. I tell people that life is like a book with chapters, and change (with purpose) is just the next exciting chapter

  14. Thank You for this Cheryl. I have been “in transition” since mid-February, and I’ve tried to live out many of your points that you shared. The first Monday after leaving my role was a little surreal – the first time in almost 30 years that I didn’t know exactly where I was going – but I felt an incredible peace which I attribute to my faith.

    I’ve been able to spend more time with my loved ones, while at the same time looking for opportunities to serve others and help them with the process. Networking has gone well, and has helped me land some contract consulting work, as well as being approved as an adjunct professor, while I look for that next role that aligns with my “purpose”.

    Best to you Cheryl – Steve

  15. Cheryl, thank you for your insightful and honest column, which is highly unusual for a CEO and also inspiring. I am planning to write an article about this for Franchise Times, and would like to interview you. Please let me know if you’re willing.

  16. Thank you for this inspiring and honest post, and for your servant leadership at Popeyes that led to excellent results. I would like to interview you for an article about this I’m doing in Franchise Times, so please email me if you are willing.

  17. Thank you for your encouraging message and spot on advice. I wish you the very best as you clarify your purpose and take on your next career step. I’m going through transition myself and your advice was timely and a helpful reinforcement.

  18. Kudos to you, Cheryl, for sharing your wisdom & vulnerability. It takes courage & demonstrates what a true leader you are.
    I’ve always said that times of transition are great gifts, to be used wisely as opportunities for rest, reflection & growth.
    I look forward to hearing about your next adventure!

  19. Cheryl — thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. I am one of the many people you have — and will — continue to inspire. In this very blog post, you are fulfilling your purpose! Blessings to you as you discern your next adventure — denise lee yohn

  20. Excellent! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom. All the best to you and your family.

  21. Thank you for your transparency…it’s very refreshing. Like you, in the month of April, I entered into a state of transition and have since been focused on living on purpose.

    Wishing you peace and blessings as you embark upon this next chapter! 🙂

  22. Thank you for this article Cheryl. I am going through a transition myself and as I continue to define my next adventure I am going to make sure that I am fully alligned with what my personal purpose is and here is how I have defined it so far: “To be of service to franchisees in developing the business systems necessary to harness the power of their franchise so that they can operate it with ease and success”.
    My first step was to write a book on how to do it and “The Franchise Fix” was published in Amazon on June 29.
    I’m ready to serve!

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