WHAT ARE LIFE WORK TRANSITIONS AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

by Deborah on September 15, 2011

The spiral logo representing my business depicts the journey we all undertake in re-inventing ourselves:

The spiral symbolizes the process of growth and evolution. It is a process of coming to the same point again and again, but at a different level, so that everything is seen in a new light. The result is a new perspective on issues, people, and places.” Angeles Arrien, Signs of Life

LIFE WORK TRANSITIONS are the juicy times, the in-between periods of intense challenge and being fully engaged in work.  There are 3 phases to every transition according to William Bridges, in the Stages of Transition. Once you become aware of the emotional connections at each stage you’ll be able to move yourself forward with insight and understanding as you begin to define your next period of engagement or employment.

First, there is the “ending” period – when the project, or job, first begins to wind down and you are left with that somewhat vague feeling of wondering “what next?” Or you may experience a severe sense of loss and feeling of desperation. What are you going to do with all this information you’ve gleaned? What are you going to do with all these relationships, and connections? You need to honor the feelings and begin to summarize what you have gained.

The next phase is called “the neutral zone” and I’ve always referred to this as the kind of schizy time, where you still feel sad about the project ending, but you’re also resting and relieved to feel yourself emptying again. This phase can drag on with little interest or enthusiasm and sometimes we need to dive deeper into our feelings to jumpstart the next phase. (But my advice, is don’t try to push through to quickly, there is deep healing going on here.)

And finally, the last phase of a transition is the beginning of the next experience. Didn’t TS Eliot say that “in the end is our beginning?”  The New beginning marks the phase of re-engagement and re-invention. Having successfully dealt with the emotions of each stage, you are able to integrate more successfully all you have learned from the previous experience as well as this specific transition.

 

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth Schecher September 16, 2011 at 5:31 am

Great posting Deborah. Thanks for clarifying what Life Work Transition is. I think that we can all relate to the 3 phases. Also, good advice on not pushing too fast through each phase.

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pneil September 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Loved the article Deborah!

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