Fall says CHANGE to me! Its changing colors, and the changing light as the days so obviously become shorter. I start to notice an inner call for greater focus on the state of my life and work.
This happens every year for me — partly due to my many years in school or working for universities, and partly as a response to the natural rhythms of the changing season.
Did you know that change has its own stages? I learned this from reading William Bridges’s book called, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change. He taught me that change (or transition) has three primary stages:
- The End ~ something that may have been precious to you at one time has ended (i.e., you’ve moved to a new location).
- The Neutral Zone ~ the stage where you’ve said good-bye to something, but you’re not yet ready to move into the New Beginning (you haven’t made friends in your new location yet, so you still rely almost exclusively on friends from your previous location).
- The New Beginning ~ you’ve fully stepped into your new transition (i.e., you may still maintain your past friendships and you rely on new local friends for most of your day-to-day connections and camaraderie).
In each stage, our internal and external growth and development may be enhanced when we understand the meaning and purpose of these stages. For me this has been true.
For me, just knowing that there are three stages of change, and recognizing which one I’m in, brings relief, joy and anticipation for what’s coming. For even if I don’t know what my new beginning is, I know that it’s coming and I trust my process for getting there. And, grace is born!
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