Going Through Change “Backwards”

It might surprise you but we usually go through transitions in our lives “backwards”.  As I told you in my last blog “a change” and “a transition” are very different.  A change is an external event and a transition is the internal psychological adjustment to the change.  So the challenge is not the change but rather the emotional transition and that varies greatly depending on the timing, intensity, impact and duration of the change.  So what do I mean by going through this process by backwards? 

3 Phases of Transition

William Bridges, author of numerous books on transitions, explains that there are three phases of a psychological transition.  These are:

  • The Ending
  • The Neutral Zone
  • The New Beginning

We don’t start with embracing the new beginning as many would think.  It’s perfectly normal (and healthy) to recognize and deal with the losses of what is ending first before being able to move on to that Neutral Zone and then finally into the New Beginning.  Think about changes you’ve had in the past.  Maybe a new job, a move to a new community or maybe a new relationship.  It’s critical to “let go” of that all identity, routine and comforts before being able to move on to that new beginning.

The Whirlwind of the Neutral Zone

The middle phase is one of great turmoil but also of opportunity.  The old ways are gone but in its place is the chance for new growth.  This is the phase that we see that entrepreneur spirit – the creation of new and exciting ventures.  Think of yourself and also of your business in times of change.  I bet you were far more willing to try something new during this whirlwind of the middle phase.  It’s an opportunity – embrace it!

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