Friday, August 14, 2009


Posted by Leona Bergstrom

There are so many changes at this time of life. We say goodbye to people we love. We greet new babies into our families. We lose jobs and start new ones. We throw away clothes that don’t fit. We buy smaller houses and give up having room for the entire family at dinner. We face one change after another.

I have been thinking a lot about change as I consult an organization deep in the throws and pain of upheaval. Change is what makes life dynamic – but it’s also hard!

One of my favorite books of all time is an old one - Managing Transitions by William Bridges. It was mandatory reading for leaders in an organization I worked in years ago and it has guided me through many changes since. Bridges points out that it is not the change that gets us, it’s the transition. Change, he says, is the event, the “what happened.” Transition is catching up psychologically to what changed. Change is the external; transition is the internal.

Now that’s challenging! Transition includes the letting go, the uncertainty, the experimentation with new reality, the anger, the loss, the grief --- ah, and then eventually, the acceptance of actuality.

Marilyn Ferguson, an American futurist describes it this way:
“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear…. It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.”

(Photo by David Reece, shared via Flickr)

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