Time for Change
William Bridges described transition, transformation, or change as the ability to make accommodations as new challenges occur. Typically, change doesn’t happen in a split second but rather change swirls, meandering this way and that, sometimes the change is temporary, sometimes permanent. “Your life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change,” Jim Rohn (1930-2009) encouraging us to accept what is happening. Mr. Bridges introduces his perception of transition in three stages which begins with the ending.
The End Zone occurs when we release our old reality, perhaps experiencing sadness and grief. The old life with its warts and all was comfortable because it was familiar, but is it a comfortable prison? Dr. Seuss enlightens us: “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together” advises Marilyn Monroe.
As we leave the Ending stage, we enter the Neutral Zone, the in-between never-never land feeling like everything is in flux, a confusing state, a feeling like free-fall and then landing in quicksand because everything feels so ambiguous. One day you feel confident, the next you feel like throwing in the towel. If we failed in the past, will we fail in the future? This is the time to summon your courage to believe in yourself. As we near the end of this transitional change, we may tell ourselves, it’s time to wake up because things have changed and now, we have a new normal. When we finally see the light, we see the light shining on us and the light leads us to a new place and a new plan. I wonder what happens between now and then but despite the stumbles, I’m still moving forward. Let’s adopt the philosophy of Jimmy Dean, (1928-2010) a multi-talented man maybe best known for his Jimmy Dean sausages, but he was also a renowned country music singer, television host and an actor, advising us “I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
Once we have transitioned from the neutral zone, we find ourselves embarking on a new Beginning, coming into view is the light, a new horizon. This is a new launch and we can accept the change with a feeling of readiness. Ben Saunders, one of the world’s leading polar explorers, explained his philosophy in his 2012 TED talk when he addressed this rhetorical question, “Why bother leaving the house?” or, why bother accommodating the changes that are here. He believes that “real inspiration and growth only comes from adversity and from challenge, from stepping away from what's comfortable and familiar and stepping out into the unknown. In life, we all have tempests to ride and poles to walk to, and I think metaphorically speaking, at least, we could all benefit from getting outside the house a little more often, if only we could summon up the courage.” Real renewal requires a conscious ending of how things used to be enabling us to move forward with courage. Today is the first day of the rest of your life and tomorrow will come.
Bridges, William, The Way Of Transition: Embracing Life's Most Difficult Moments 2001, Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books, ISBN-10: 073820529X, ISBN-13: 978-0738205298, $15.99