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Change v. Transition

Change v. Transition

I am fascinated by how people deal with big life changes. One of the best books I have read about dealing with life changes is “Transitions” by Dr. William Bridges. I decided to create a series of posts to share his ideas and how I reacted to one of my big changes, retirement, in light of those ideas. I regularly post these on Linked In and on my Facebook group called OK (fellow) Boomer! 

“The new growth cannot take root on the ground still covered with the old habits, outlooks, and attitudes because endings are the clearing process.” William Bridges, PhD

  1. The above quote is from Dr. Bridges’s book “Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes”.  His three step process for dealing with change begins with endings. In coach training program, I learned the importance of “completion.” This is a tool to help a person end something specific by taking notice of what the experience has taught them. It could be the past year, a project, a marriage, a career… I don’t mean to equate a career or a marriage to a simple project, however anything that is ending deserves us to take notice instead of just trying to move on, which is what we humans are inclined to do.
  2. Dr. Bridges then goes deeper and divides the ending process into its components. The first of these is disengagement. As I was reflecting on this word, disengagement, and how I managed transitions in my own life, I realized that I had almost instinctively disengaged from my job even before I announced my retirement. I fully believe this helped make my retirement much easier than if I had just stopped working on any given day. 

Change is what happens to us: a retirement, a divorce, a company merger, becoming an empty nester etc. Transition is how we deal with that change internally. If we take the necessary steps to complete “what was”, “what is” will find fertile ground not resistance.

Have you noticed how you deal with change? Our past is a good indicator of our future inclination, unless we become aware of how helpful/unhelpful our old behaviors were.

Cont’d