In June I wrote about my family going to live in Athens, Greece for 6 weeks. We had an incredible visit. I used a liter of olive oil in 3 weeks learning to cook wonderful Mediterranean dishes: Fasolakia (green beans for the soul!), white bean mash, eggplant imam, and other such yummy dishes. The pace of life in Greece is happily slower and softer than what I usually experience in Boston.
It took us several days to move into our Athens' apartment and get things set up the way we wanted. I was in a distant land where the language was strange and the heat super intense. I felt happy and excited, but the transition to an unfamiliar place brought on some anxiety and sadness too. Then after five fun weeks of getting to know the local grocers and some wonderful new friends, suddenly we had to say goodbye. Another transition and once again I felt sad. This time, sad to leave and sad to return to the States where sometimes it seems my hectic schedule distracts me from what's really important in life.
September is often a tricky month, a time when we experience a lot of transition. It's back to school. Work gets busier. Summer vacations are behind us. We prepare for cooler temperatures and the end of New England's growing season.
What transitions have you experienced this summer? What transitions are you anticipating as Fall approaches and Mother Nature changes her outward expression.
Transitions have 3 phases according to William Bridges, author of Managing Transitions. First is "The Ending, Losing and Letting Go" phase; second is "The Neutral Zone"; third is "The New Beginning." I experienced these 3 phases as my family embarked on our overseas adventure. We all undergo these rites of passage in little and big ways throughout our daily lives and, of course, in the more significant events of life too - birth and death, moving in and out of relationships or homes, leaving a job and beginning a new one.
I find William Bridges' tripartite model very valuable when working with clients who are in transition. I know that when I'm in the midst of some kind of major transition, I often get sad, even if I'm experiencing a welcome change. The sadness is the psychological expression of letting go and leaving. We all have feelings, sometimes quite intense, when we're undergoing a transition. Bridges' model encourages us to pay careful attention to the stages of our transitions and to recognize our attendant feelings for what they are: important psychological expressions of our lives in motion.
If your organization is undergoing transition or thinking about change, are you approaching that challenge from a transitional perspective that involves intentional design to ensure success and sustainability, or are you seeing it as a mechanical set of technical moves that simply require some behavior modification on the part of those implementing the change?
Think deeply about what really works for you when you're in transition. Do you need acknowledgement of some loss? Are you aware of an awkward re-patterning mode? Do you have the presence of mind to see that there's new energy and excitement for what lies ahead in the venture you've embarked on? Such presence of mind will allow you to feel more 'at home' with yourself and more confident in the midst of big change. And those you're leading will also appreciate your mindful guidance.
We welcome the opportunity to work with you and your organization as you embark on your rite of passage through the end of the summer and the beginning of Fall.
With warm regards and best wishes,