Today’s post is about “between,” which comes in many forms. It made me consider the various ways we process and deal with change. Regardless of its application (professional, emotional or personal), the techniques for recognizing and approaching transition differs for each of us.
Sometimes it flows and feels natural, as captured in the photo for this post. A young man who is between testing for his next belt level in karate and receiving a new status because he is ready and has done the work. He has practiced to learn the movement and techniques with precision and accuracy, and he knows that along with his sense of accomplishment come confidence and the long term rewards that follow.
In graduate school, we are taught that we should expect resistance when it comes to change in the workplace. Opposition is a natural part of the process during transformation and frequently rears its head when people do not understand why change is necessary, or there is not consistent support, repetition and communication of the messaging.
OD experts explain there are symbolic rituals necessary for organizational change that brings everyone along, so they feel as though they are part of the process and have input to the outcome. It is a blueprint that incorporates the right guidance systems so human capital can collectively take a step back, acknowledge their current reality, say goodbye to the old way of doing things while working together to build a future. (Kanter, 2008) The change will be more successful when all stakeholders understand their roles, contribution and call to action.
In our personal lives, navigating transition is more complex because not everyone is given the coping mechanisms for recognizing and dealing with change in healthy ways.
When it comes to how we work through transformation as individuals, there are times when we need to sit with discomfort and uncertainty for a bit as part of our reflection. Often our experience can provide answers and this world is one full of endless possibilities. Although there is a school of thought that might agree it is easier to give help than to ask for it, leveraging our support system is a resource we cannot ignore.
Discomfort is healthy when it motivates us to use our courage and move towards something better. Transition can be the beginning of something exciting and new that will provide opportunities to grow, learn, unlearn, relearn, heal, innovate and re-invent.
Awareness of our own resistance to change could come in the form of anxiety, physical discomfort, fear, anger, sadness, insecurities, etc. In time, we learn the best way to overcome any of that is to get input, learn from it and then practice new behaviors until they feel normal.
Someone I know spent a great deal of time trying to work through a process like this. He shared what worked for him while he was struggling. His solutions are below.
Write down the following and reflect on the questions below, one at a time:
- “Yes, this change is hard.” (Make a list of what makes it hard for you)
- “How can I objectively examine the pros and cons of this situation?
- What part of my fear is getting in the way?
- How can this experience be my teacher?
- What can I do to move forward?
Once those issues had been examined, he found a trusted source to share it with that we will call “his people.” The ones he knew would not judge, give uninvited advice, or try to fix him or the situation. A trusted resource who would just listen. “His people” are the ones who have earned the right to hear his stories. It took practice, but it was amazing to see how the consistency of repeating the action over and over helped him grow.
So if you are finding yourself “between” something and are feeling in transition, perhaps his process could work for you as well. And who knows, you just may be happy you did. Thanks for visiting my blog, please feel free to comment, share your story or ask questions below, I’d love to hear from you.
 Kanter, R.M. (2008). Transforming giants. Harvard Business Review, 86(1), 43-52.
The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Prompt. Danielle Hark of Broken Light Collective challenges us to photograph between. This week, capture something between two things, reflect on the process of transition, or interpret this word in your own way.