Change is an inevitable part of life, yet many of us struggle to navigate its unpredictable path. Whether it’s a career shift, a relocation, or a major life event, embracing change can be intimidating. But what if we reframed our perspective and saw change as an opportunity for personal growth?
Summer is probably the right time to take stock and reevaluate our paths and priorities. In this fast-paced world, where everything is constantly evolving, learning to press pause and embrace change is not just advantageous, but essential.
Although many of us often resist change, it is through the challenges and uncertainties of transitions that we discover our true potential and find new paths to fulfilment.
Many midlife women, however, struggle to get unstuck. We develop a sense of urgency to reassess both our life and its meaning. We often question our decisions, and we’d like to make adjustments to long-held priorities, beliefs and practices but it’s not always clear and linear how to proceed in this pivotal period of our life.
I’ve recently come across the research of William Bridges, author of “Managing Transitions: Making The Most Of Change” and that was quite illuminating. I’ve found out that in order to switch our focus and turn the page, we first need to understand the differences between change and transition.
“Change is something that happens to people, even if they don’t agree with it“, he explains. “Transition, on the other hand, is internal: it’s what happens in people’s minds as they go through change. Change can happen very quickly, while transition usually occurs more slowly“.
And this is probably the toughest part we need to learn to manage.
Basically, “Transition” is the process that unfolds before, during, and after the change event and affects us on physical, emotional, and psychological levels and whether you like it or not, it’s through this process that we are transformed.
But how can we internalize and come to terms with the details of the new situation that the change brings about? It’s via the following three phases:
1. Letting go of the old ways and the old identity you had. This first phase of transition is an ending, and the time when we need to deal with the ‘losses’.
2. Going through an in-between time when the old is gone but the new isn’t fully operational. William Bridges calls this time the “neutral zone”: it’s when critical psychological realignments and repatternings take place. It’s an ambiguous, uncertain and uncomfortable place to be.
3. Coming out of the transition and making a new beginning. This is when we develop a new identity, experience new energy, and discover a new sense of purpose that make the change begin to work.
Embrace the unknown, conquering our fears, and unlocking the transformative power of change is not a game for the faint-hearted, I know, but in midlife, we must find a way to clear out our path before starting our next chapter otherwise we risk to keep navigating our life on autopilot mode.
This summer holidays I wish you’ll find time and courage to embrace the journey and discover the incredible growth that awaits.