How to successfully manage a career change

Change can be particularly challenging for people going through any type of life or career transition.

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WASHINGTON, June 14, 2017 – We’ve all heard this before: The one thing that is constant in life is change. The problem is, knowing that change is a constant doesn’t make it any easier when you’re forced to confront it yourself. Change can be particularly challenging for people going through any type of life or career transition.

Cover art, William Bridges’ “Managing Transitions.” *

When it comes to confronting change, when we think too much about the “what if’s,” involved, anxiety and paralysis can set in, blocking what we boldly set out to do in the first place.

If you’re confronting – or freely choosing – a career change, first become aware of your “self-talk” or inner dialogue with yourself. That’s because when you are going through any kind of big life-change, your self-talk accelerates into turbo speed. It gets louder and faster and can quickly end up sounding like this:

“I can’t do this. I don’t know enough. I’m not capable.”

Don’t give into this and pressure yourself, because that will further block you from gaining control over your internal dialogue.

Remember: Whatever you need to know about your situation, you can learn.

First, understand the difference between change and transition. I know from studying William Bridges’ Transition Model* that people are uncomfortable with change for many reasons.

Briefly, this model focuses on transition, not change. According to Bridges, the difference between these is subtle but important.

Change is something that happens to people, even if they don’t agree with it. Transition, on the other hand, is internal. It’s what happens in people’s minds as they go through the process of change itself. Transition usually occurs slowly, while change can happen very quickly.

Bridges’ Transition Model highlights the three stages of transition that people go through when they experience change. These are:

  1. Ending, Losing, and Letting Go.
  2. The Neutral Zone.
  3. The New Beginning.

Bridges says that people will go through each stage at different paces. He observes that those who are comfortable with the onrushing change will likely move ahead to stage three quickly, while others will linger at stages one or two.

Example: Recently, I was coaching an individual who was going through some pretty significant life changes. This client’s process followed Bridges’ three stages almost to a T. Sharing this information with my client proved to be very helpful, because understanding the change process was a wonderful guide to support what was happening. After all, knowing what is happening is always desirable.

In Bridges’ Stage 1, Ending, Losing, and Letting Go, you may experience feelings of resistance and upheaval because you are stepping out of your comfort zone. As I tell clients, you don’t have to jump in the deep end of the pool. Just stick a toe into the water. Taking baby steps will move you forward.

In Stage 2, The Neutral Zone, we find that people are still hanging onto the old while trying to adapt to the new. If you find yourself here, give yourself permission to be human and then be patient. Be aware of your self-talk, your internal dialogue. What are you saying to yourself? Think productively and redirect to focus on a positive outcome.

Finally, if you’ve arrived at Stage 3, The New Beginning, you are building the skills to work through your issues successfully and you’re starting to see positive results. Notice in this stage that your energy is higher and you’re more open to learning.

Whether change and transition are occurring at the office or in your home, work towards embracing the change process. Don’t get impatient, negative or criticize yourself with negative self-talk such as, “This is taking me too long.”

We are such experts at criticizing ourselves. Instead, embrace Transition and Change and focus on positive results instead.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”   — Socrates

*To learn more, read William Bridges’ book, “Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change.” Boston: Da Capo Lifelong Books, 3rd Edition (September 22, 2009). Available through Amazon, bookstores and other outlets.

For more Information Contact:

Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Certified Business, Life & Career Coach Focusing on Confidence & Resilience Strategies and Transition
Certified Mediator

301-706-7226 & 703-574-0039

[email protected]!/susan.samakow

Twitter: @SelfTalkCoach

Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the Stress Reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.

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