As a person in transition I feel it on two levels…. One as the messy person who is regrouping after a contract went away. The other is as a researcher in the theory of behavioral change. Unfortunately, and not surprising to anyone but me, the messy part often overshadows the researcher in me. I am a process girl. I found that out in grad school when there was a question on group function that we were supposed to describe. The others in my class talked about the situation and stuff going on and I could not relate and I only see it as step by step. It’s all I see when I see a situation. Anyway I digress since this is a messy topic and it includes the issue of personal, reflective change. Yeah, you know the kind you avoid like the plague if you even recognize the severity. If you watch Downton Abbey you avoid it like Cholera.
Good god this is squashy… so William Bridges (no coincidence I am sure) describes his own journey through transition of moving from the city to the county, and I think there was a divorce in there somewhere. He found himself lost in the extra time he had and didn’t enjoy the awkward feelings he had as well. So, he created a transitions group. As you see it’s a lot easier to talk about other people’s journey than my own. But by writing this I find solace in the fact the power lays in the center of the transition.
William Bridges’ process is simple:
- An ending. Something ends, dies, or changes and the structure of part of your world has changed.
- The neutral zone: this is what I call the “icky, awkward, in-between time. This is where the transition formulates. This is THE most creative time. If you rush this, oh so awkward, phase you’ll miss formulating or waiting for the next best plan.
- The new beginning: this is where you find new love, you figure out where you’re going in a new town and have replaced all the old service providers, or found a new job. Right… by then you’re over it.
So in my case I have been diligently traveling 76 miles each way to work on site as a coach for Northrop Grumman. At the end of last year with all the talk of budget cuts to government work and other prevailing cost savings the program that funded a coach at every location was cut. Of course there is a myriad of pluses and minuses. The obvious one is funding cutting the program cut the funding in my household. The upside is wide open space for creativity and finding the right niche to develop more consulting or coaching business or find the right position that might be satisfying. What I didn’t really anticipate is the quiet. Now I work from my home in downtown Los Angeles. The outside is noisy but here in my office it’s pretty quiet. I realized that I have to intentionally make social plans and form my own version of a transition group. That will help with the urge to solve it now.
So think back to changes in your life… when things really got turned upside down. What do you notice now? Can you see this process in that period of time? Was it awkward? Did you rush through it to solve it? Did you give it the time needed to really get a solution that was sustainable? Can you see the possibility of creativity in that time period? What would you tell someone during this time period?
Tell me your experience!