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"The secret of happiness lies not in events, but in our response to them." - Barry Kaufman

As the pace of change increases in the 21st century, the ability to adapt quickly is becoming one of life's vital skills. Not adapting can result in feelings of anxiety, depression and victimization.

William Bridges helps us understand the natural response to change with his four stages of transition: denial, endings, neutral zone and new beginnings. The denial stage is when we minimize or ignore the change. In the ending phase we realize what is really over and it's when we can experience depression, anger and helplessness.

The neutral phase is when we find ourselves somewhere in between the old way and the new way. This is the time when everything appears to be falling apart or disintegrating and we experience feelings of frustration and anxiety. But the good news is that near the end of the neutral phrase is when discoveries can be made about the new beginning. This is the time when new insights and ideas move us into new beginnings and we regain a sense of confidence and stability-until the next change occurs!

Recognizing our movement through these stages and not getting stuck is the critical skill of change management. We can thrive in change when we are quick to observe the personal discoveries that accompany every change.

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Recommended Books

Managing Transitions – by William Bridges
Making the Most of Change. From one of the most trusted voices on transition, a thoroughly updated and expanded edition of the classic guide to dealing with the human side of organizational change. (Perseus Books Group, 2003)

Thriving in Transition – by Marcia Perkins-Reed
Effective Living in Times of Change. A practical guide to making the changes in your life work for you. (Simon & Schuster, 1996)

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