Changing on The Inside

Change elicits a range of responses in people—including excitement, fear, joy and sadness.  Even when change is desirable, it can still be stressful and confusing.

“Change” occurs in the circumstances of our external physical world.  Significant changes require physical and emotional adjustments and require us to “transition” to new realities.

“Transition” is the internal, emotional and psychological process by which we respond to external change.  Transitions usually take longer than we expect or want them to.

All transitions have three phases:

  • Endings—in which we let go.  We often need time to appreciate and make sense of what we are losing or leaving.
  • The Neutral Zone—an in-between time.  We often feel empty and experience this time as chaotic.  We may be uncomfortable with the uncertainty and even experience fear of the unknown.  Yet this can also be a fertile and creative time—a productive period of gestation.
  • The New Beginning—an inner realignment.  This is a time of self-renewal in which we often connect old dreams or longings to something new.  We frequently discover a fresh sense of purpose and energy in this phase.

When we understand the change we are experiencing and the corresponding transition process, we can navigate our external and internal journeys more successfully.


*Originally published  5/27/06 in The Kansas City Star “FYI Solutions” Section, “An Authentic Life” Column as a series of articles contributed by Kansas City life coach Lorrie Crystal Eigles. Eigles provided monthly insights, tactics, and encouragement to help readers realize their potential and lead more rewarding lives.