Lost In Transition

Going Round In Circles, Stuck And Lost?



Lost In Transition - A Personal Story

It was late one warm summer’s evening in Marrakesh. We had wandered around the souks and then enjoyed a pleasant dinner in a restaurant just off the main market square in the Medina and it was time to head back to the Riad where we were staying.

The Medina was built around 1122 and is the old town in Marrakesh. It is a twisting labyrinth comprising 19-kilometers of tiny streets with pink walls, and poor lighting and it can feel like a scary place to walk through at night, especially if you don’t know where you are going!

The walk into the centre undertaken in daylight had been quite pleasant, but walking back in the dark wasn’t an option so we took a taxi.

The heart of darkness

Unfortunately the taxi driver misunderstood the rather obscure address of our Riad and assumed wrongly that we wanted to go some late night venue on the other side of the Medina! Language difficulties made it impossible to rectify so we set off on foot.

We asked a succession of strangers for directions and yet we seemed to be going deeper into what was rapidly beginning to feel like Conrad’s “Heart Of Darkness”. With hindsight I am sure the locals who tried to help us were genuine and had good intentions, but after about an hour or two of this we were totally disoriented and frankly scared.


Totally lost

To be in an alien North African city, late in the evening, in the dark, completely lost in transition from the main market square back to the obscure location of our Riad, with no tools for navigation, and finding it impossible to communicate with the locals, was frightening.

To cut a long story short we eventually found someone who seemed to understand where we were trying to get to and it was with enormous relief when we recognised the alley where our Riad was located.

Needless to say, the following day we moved to another Riad in the centre adjacent to the main market square.






Understanding How We Get Lost In Transition And The Change That Caused It

That experience of being lost in transition in the Medina illustrates the locational disorientation we can experience when we experience an unexpected change in circumstances, and especially a change that is imposed upon and that leads to hard times.

At the time of writing, with the world emerging from Covid-19 lockdown,  with the effects of the Russia - Ukraine war and with our economies strangled, business failures and unemployment rising and our national governments flailing around like drowning men clutching at straws I think it is fair to say that many of us are currently experiencing hard times as a direct result of imposed change!

The purpose of this article is to set out a framework for understanding what is happening to you and to go beyond the circumstantial changes and to address the inner psychological and emotional impacts and how you can deal with those as well.

The additional objective is to offer a range of practical and proven resources to empower you to cope with these hard times.

The first and key point to make is that there is a distinction between the events, situations and circumstances that are imposed on you and your inner response to these things.

In the world of change management this is known as "transition".







A Model For Understanding Transition


The fundamental difference between change and transition

William Bridges was one of the first thought leader’s in the field of organisational transformation and change management to recognise the fundamental difference between change and transition, namely:

  • Change is an external event or situation that happens to you, and often that is imposed upon you.
  • Transition is the internal process that you have to go through as you make your readjustment and realignment to the new realities.

Transition is a 3 stage process and it is psychological and emotional journey

Without an effective transition through that process you will  likely become stuck or lost in transition.

Bridges Transition Model involves a three-phase process:

  1. Ending, Losing, Letting Go - Every transition begins with an ending. We have to let go of the old thing before we can pick up with the new one - not just outwardly, but inwardly, where we keep our connections to people and places that act as definitions of who we are.
  2. The Neutral Zone - This is a fallow time. One of the difficulties of being in transition in the modern world is that we have lost our appreciation for this gap between the ending and letting go and the new beginning, we find it unsettling. But as in nature the fallow time is a necessary part of the process. It is a time of death and rebirth.
  3. The New Beginning - This is where we develop a new identity, experience a new energy, and discover a new sense of purpose that enables us to make the change begin to work.

For more in-depth reading and resource please refer to an extensive article with resources that I wrote on the Bridges Transition Model.

William Bridges developed his model for the context of organisational change, but it is very applicable to situations of personal change and I commend it to you.







Empowering Resources For When You Are Lost In Transition

Bridges' transition model outlined above provides a well recognised and attested road map for what you are likely to be experiencing, or eventually will be experiencing, as you enter the transition phase of your personal experience of hard times.

Now I want to focus on, and offer you, some practical tools and resources that I have used many times, that will empower you and show you how to cope with the tough times you may be experiencing when you are lost in transition.


(1) Are you in a mess and having a really tough time right now?

  • Trying to push away our emotional distress can throw us into cognitive shock that turns our mind into a muddle. Ezra Bayda, a teacher at the Zen Center of San Diego, shares five simple questions to help us cut though confusion.
Here are 5 simple questions to help you cut through the confusion.


(2) Three "under the radar" powerful techniques

  • Intense present moment awareness using a simple mantra
  • Deep acceptance (based on Big Mind /Voice Dialogue therapy)
  • Intense present moment awareness using NLP

Read and apply each of these techniques.


(3) You are NOT your thoughts

"It’s 3 am and you have woken up and can’t get back to sleep. You lie in bed tossing and turning and as your brain wakes up a little voice in your head starts nagging you with doubts and fears about money…"



(4) How To Motivate Yourself In Tough Times



(5) Dealing with the long haul



******************


Further Reading: Recognising Limbo As A Stage Of Transition

Free Download: One Page Summary Sheet With Action Points & Resources
















Next Article: Seeing Is Believing Or Is It?

Return from "Lost In Transition" to: Walking The Talk

Or return to: Managing Personal Change


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