Consider the Difference between Change and Transition

Change is situational: New job, moving, death of a loved one, health issue, having a baby, getting a new boss, graduation, retirement.

Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external.

Transition is internal.

Change is a situational shift.

Transition is the way that we all come to terms with that shift. Without transition, a change is mechanical, superficial, and empty. If transition does not occur, or if it is begun but aborted, people end up mentally and emotionally back where they started, and the change doesn’t work. In spite of the new boss (or the new house or the new baby), nothing is really different.

Here’s a paradox: The very things we now wish that we could hold onto and keep safe from change were themselves originally produced by changes (a marriage, a career, a child, a garden, a friendship). Consider that many of those changes, in their day, looked just as daunting as any in the present do. No matter how solid and comfortable the status quo feels today, it was once new, untried and uncomfortable.

Change is not only the path ahead, but also the path behind us.

While many people would say they resist change, it’s more likely that they actually are resisting “transition.”

Transition is the process of letting go of the way things used to be, and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become. In between the letting go and the taking hold again, there is a chaotic but potentially creative “neutral zone” or “interim period” when things aren’t the old way, but aren’t really a new way yet either. This three-phase process of ending, interim period, and beginning again, is transition.

[image type=”rounded” src=”http://pnwumc.org/transitions/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/transition-chart.png” alt=”Transition Chart”]


Image Credit: Some rights reserved by ~BostonBill~