As I continued to exercise and sharpen these accumulated skills, I also integrated and developed new skills and articulated new goals, just as I did continuously during my many former phases and years. This reinvention question forced me to think of the strategies I used in the transition to reclaim and integrate who I am rather than reinvent a new identity. I redefined my scholarly roles and reintegrated all the wisdom I gained into the reclaimed identity and articulated a new set of goals for the future. As I reflect on this transition, I realize I used 4 strategies during the stepping up process:
1. Defined the skills and the capacities that I enjoyed the most, including:
- Giving voice to vulnerable populations through science, education, writing and empowerment, as well as through participation.
- Empowering a new generation of scholars, mentees, deans and women through transition of knowledge for voice and policy.
2. Renewed, reinforced and mobilized a supportive network of colleagues, friends and family for the transition process and beyond.
3. Decluttered, archived and distanced myself from the trappings of former roles (relationships, papers, objects, etc.).
4. Continued my vigorous physical (gym and walking) and mental health (meditation and mindfulness) exercises.
The above strategies prompted fluidity in identity and encouraged integrating capacities from former roles into a reclaimed and integrated identity. These strategies also helped in developing new sets of goals that included reflecting on the global progress in our discipline of nursing and on changes in the health and health care for women. These new goals included that I disseminate and share integrated analysis publications, speaking engagements and translations into practice.
I believe I have “stepped up” to a new phase using a more focused and integrated voice, and I am more than certain that I did not “step down.”
Meleis, A. I. (2016). The Undeaning Transition: Toward Becoming a Former Dean. Nursing Outlook. 64 (2), 186-196