Phases of Change and Tranistion
There are three phases in the change and transition process and we need to understand these phases and in doing so, we can understand ourselves, particularly understand those that we are in relationship with. The first phase in the transition process is called ending. In other words, something has to end. You can’t tell me you’re going through changes and something didn’t end. It has to end. The question is: what ended? The only way I can change jobs is to end my previous job. The only way I could relocate from Minnesota to North Carolina is that I had to end my residence in Minnesota. So the first phase in the change and transition process is an ending and often times with endings we feel a sense of loss. We feel a sense of grief. We’ll find ourselves grieving over things, and struggling to let go of the old situation or the thing that has come to an end.
Nonetheless, we must be willing to let go. Otherwise it didn’t end. Some have mistakenly thought that something ended in their life, but they were still living it out in their mind and in their soulish realm. They were still emotional over that thing because they refuse to let it go. If they didn’t let it go, it didn’t end. If you don’t let a thing go, it won’t end! And instead of transitioning to a new beginning, you’ll be stuck in a place between nowhere and somewhere!
According to William Bridges, author of Managing Transitions, the second phase of the change and transition process is called exploration. To me, this is a wilderness period. As mentioned earlier, I call this transitional phase the discovery zone. The discovery zone is just a temporary state of being between, the old and the new. Perhaps by now you’re beginning to realize that you may be there now. You’re between the old and the new, but while you’re between the old and the new, you’ll have opportunities for discovery. You’ll discover things about yourself, you’ll discover things about others, you’ll discover things about your situation but you’ll also have opportunity for creativity and chaos!
In the discovery zone you will also find opportunity for chaos. You will feel like all hell has broken loose. Something changes in your life and seems like the finger was pulled out the dike and the waters gushed in and blew over the retaining wall and begin to flood your life. When you’re experiencing chaos in your life, you need to do something about it. And the thing you need to do is become creative. You have the ability to create. The first revelation in the Word of God about Father God is that God is a creator. In the beginning, God created! We’re made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore if our Heavenly Father is creative, that means I have creative potential and if I’m going through a transition and I’m finding myself in the mindset of chaos, I’m finding myself as I go through the midst of the discovery process, that I’m more sad than I am happy, then it’s up to me, it’s my responsibility to take my chaos, to take my sadness and create some happiness!
You can sit around and mope all you want. But when you go through your transition process, you have to take responsibility for it and this is why it takes some of us longer to get through it than others. You know some people experience a change, they go through a very quick transition and now they’re on to new beginnings, others get fixated at the end of whatever situation that ended. They get fixated on it. They are eating it, sleeping it, and can’t, think about anything else, they’re preoccupied with what happened. We must realize that the ending is the pass and we need a transition to get to our new beginning to get to our future.
The third phase of the change and transition process is called new beginnings. Now understand something about new beginnings, you cannot experience a new beginning if it something hasn’t ended. And you can’t experience a new beginning without a transition between something that ends and something that begins, there is always a transition period. New beginnings never look like an instantaneous END/BEGIN–never. Something has to end; then a transition period occurs; and then, new beginnings. For most, it can be like this and for others, it could take forty years.
To help drive my point, let me use a television program analogy. Perhaps you have a favorite television program, did you notice that no matter how much you want to see your program, how much you want to see your story, even though you’re sitting in front of the television, 5-10 minutes before your story is supposed to come on, but you’re just sitting there because you want to see your story. But don’t you know that your story can’t begin until your other program ends? I don’t care if you turn the television on an hour early; your program will not begin until the previous program ends. And that’s the way it is in life. Something has to change. You go from one change in programming, to the next program and then that program ends and the next program begin. Isn’t this just like life’s changes and transitions? Often times, the transition between programs is the trip we make to the refrigerator during commercials. But when the anticipated program comes on, it’s a new beginning. You become energized in your excitement, yet feeling some degree of uncertainty because you’re not sure as to what exactly will happen on today’s espisode. Notwithstanding the awkward feelings of uncertainty, new beginnings always present new opportunities and a real sense of renewal and revitalization.
(Above post taken from my book, The Discovery Zone, chapter two)