A useful book on transitions

With reorganisation, restructuring and technological changes we live with almost constant change. In his book Transitions William Bridges outlines how transition is not the same as change; change is the external event and transition is the internal psychological process: “the inner reorientation and self-definition that you have to go through in order to incorporate changes into your life.”

Bridges says that a transition consists of an ending, a neutral zone and a beginning. The ending comes first and the task is to let go. The neutral zone, which takes its own time and can’t be rushed, is about emptiness and allowing things to germinate. The beginning is about steps towards a new self-definition. All of this is hard, especially as there’s often little time to adjust from the old to the new. Bridges has some advice:

  1. Take your time – the outer forms of life change quickly but the inner reorientation takes time
  2. Arrange temporary structures – work out a way of going on while the inner work is being done
  3. Don’t act for the sake of action – the temporary situation can be frustrating so there’s a temptation to do something, anything
  4. Take care of yourself in little ways – be sensitive to your own small needs
  5. Explore the other side of the change – what will it be like?
  6. Find someone to talk to – the opportunity to put into words your dilemmas and feeling helps you understand them

So Bridges says try to think of transition of leaving the status quo, living for a while in a fertile “time out” and then coming back with an answer

Give yourself time