Change is an inevitable part of life. We all go through a series of transitions over the course of our lifetime. Some transitions may be planned such as a job change, a move, or marriage. Some may be unexpected such as job layoff, relationship problems, or health issues. Transitions may also be welcomed (positive life events) or unwelcomed (negative life events).

Transitions are a normal part of life!

However, people can get caught off-guard by the process of change which can be challenging to go through especially on an emotional level.

Change brings up emotions which can vary for each one of us depending upon our current situation and our circumstance. During transitions, people can experience a wide range of emotions, such as feeling excited and joyful to confused and anxious.

When we experience strong or mixed emotions during a transition, we may avoid or deny our feelings creating problems in our personal and professional lives.

Swiss Psychologist, Carl Jung, famously said “What you resist PERSISTS”. Resistance to transition creates more distress…which creates more problems. This is often the reason people get stuck during a transition. They resist change.

Here are Three Steps for Getting through a Transition

1) Understand the Process of Transitions

There are distinct stages during a transition. In the classic book, “Transitions” William Bridges identifies three phases of transition starting with Endings. Bridges says “Every transition begins with an ending.”

During this first stage he says “We have to let go of the old thing before we can pick up the new- not just outwardly, but inwardly, where we keep our connections to people and places that act as definitions of who we are.”

The second phase is the Neutral Zone which he describes as “A time of lostness and emptiness before ‘life’ resumes” with the final phase of the New Beginning.

2) Accept Each Phase

The key to getting to the other side of a transition successfully is to let the process naturally unfold and allow yourself to be in each stage for as long as you need to be.

You will naturally pass through each phase in time and cannot speed up the process. There is not an amount of force that will get you through a transition faster.

In fact, trying to speed up the process will work against you. It will create more problems and distress rather than resolution.

When you are feeling discouraged, it can be helpful to repeat a simple mantra: “this too shall pass” as a hopeful reminder that things will get better.

3) Open up

Another key step for helping you through a transition is to EXPRESS YOURSELF!

Get all those bottled-up emotions out of your head, heart, and body for good. For your well-being, it is essential to share your feelings.

Talk about what you are going through with a supportive friend, family member, colleague, or a Certified Coach.

Making sense of your transition and putting words to your experience can be a powerful step for moving forward.

You may also find it helpful (and fun!) to look for creative outlets through art. Look for ways to express your feelings by painting, drawing, dancing, writing, or creating music.

Many famous songs and works of art were created by people who were looking for a way to release their emotions and get through a difficult transition.


Contact Jolie to learn how to navigate career and life transitions successfully.

© 2017 Jolie Steers. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.