On Change and Transition

There are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept; things we don’t want to know, but have to learn; people we can’t live without, but have to let go. And some things we can get ready for only after they’ve already happened.

The change is the event. The situation. You move to a new city, divorce, retire, experience a significant loss, take a new job, lose an old one, or change careers. As we focus on change, we address the rituals of change, the work tools, the strategic goals. And every ending begins something new. The transition is the process. It’s the internal story of change: a shift in orientation, even in definition. In transition, we let go of the old story, the outlived chapter, and evolve into a new story. A new identity internalizes the changes to sustain and enhance them. Otherwise, this most powerful organizer of the human psyche, our identity, is what we return to no matter what new behaviors we engage in – unless we evolve our identity along with the new experiences. We can develop a transition story that provides the coherence to reassure in the present and foreshadow the future.

The ability to understand the dynamics of both change and transition, and to craft a meaningful story is essential to the success of dealing with significant life change. The strategically informed bridge between past and present creates a successful passage to the uncertain future. There is both an art and science of coaching transitions: understanding the dynamics, developmental stages, and strategic steps. It’s the ending that makes the beginning possible.

Author – Dr. David Krueger, M.D., is a Trainer/Mentor Coach and Dean of Curriculum at Coach Training Alliance. His latest book, The Secret Language of Money (McGraw Hill) is a Business Bestseller translated into 10 languages.