Embrace the Neutral Zone

Two books published 30 and 40 years ago have guided me along my personal and professional journey. New inspiring and informative books are published and yet I regularly return to my favourites: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey and Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges.

Currently I’m revisiting Transitions. The Model is simple and straightforward. However, the interesting part for me is that it’s about the inner psychological process that people go through as they internalise and come to terms with a new situation (eg: the inner work that needs to be processed about losing your job rather than sorting out all the logistics).

The Three Stages of Transition.

Bridges highlights three stages of transition that people go through when they experience change:

1)   Ending, Losing, and Letting Go.

2)   The Neutral Zone.

3)   The New Beginning.

Covid19 and the Neutral Zone.

Covid19 has created endings and plunged many people into the Neutral Zone. Life as they knew it has ended: jobs have been lost or redesigned, ways of working have changed, social activities have been curtailed. Many of us are in the neutral zone, an in-between stage when we come to terms with what’s happening. It’s often a time of confusion, uncertainty and flux. It’s a good time to explore, experiment and nurture ideas which will lead to new beginnings.

The essence of life takes place in the neutral zone phase of transition. It is in that interim spaciousness that all possibilities, creativity and innovative ideas can come to life and flourish.” Susan Bridges

We go through each stage at our own pace. It’s different for everyone. It may depend upon how soon Covid19 is under control or when you find a new way of living with Covid19 or maybe it’s taking a new direction.

Look forward to your new beginning.

It’s reassuring to know that the neutral zone is followed by a new beginning. So, slow down, accept and embrace your neutral zone, be curious, explore the possibilities, and set the direction for your new beginning.