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  • Jo Chapman

Navigating Endings, Embracing the Emerging and New Beginnings

As the calendar pages turn and we enter into a new year, the air is thick with reflection and anticipation. The transition from one year to the next is not just a chronological event but an opportunity for personal growth and transformation. We often face different types of change with clients, whether it be acquisitions, restructure, or new teams. A model we’ve found incredibly useful in these moments of transition is William Bridges' Transition Model, which offers us a valuable framework to navigate the complexities of endings, the uncertainty of the middle, and the promise of new beginnings. Let’s take a look…


Understanding Bridges' Transition Model

Unlike many change models that focus on external shifts, Bridges' model centres on the internal process’s individuals undergo during a transition. Change, according to Bridges, is an external event; transition is the internal, psychological response to that event. The model unfolds in three stages:

  • Ending, Losing, and Letting Go: This stage involves reflecting on the past, identifying what needs closure, and gracefully letting go. It's a time of releasing old habits, patterns, or situations that may no longer serve us.

  • The Neutral Zone: This is the phase of uncertainty and exploration. It's a time of ambiguity where new possibilities emerge. Instead of rushing through, it's an opportunity to be curious, open-minded, and intentional about the choices we make.

  • The New Beginning: As the name suggests, this stage marks the initiation of the new. It's a time for setting goals, making plans, and taking action. Collaboration and pragmatism play a crucial role in shaping the future during this stage.


Ending, Losing, and Letting Go

As we wave goodbye to 2023, we find ourselves in the endings stage. It's a crucial time for introspection, a moment to acknowledge and bid farewell to what has served us well and what needs to be left behind. Navigating endings…


Reflecting on the Past Year: Take time to reflect on the events, accomplishments, and challenges of the past year. What milestones did you achieve? What lessons did you learn? What aspects of your life no longer align with your values or aspirations?

Identifying What Needs to End: Recognize elements in your life that have reached their natural conclusion. It could be a job that no longer brings fulfilment, relationships that have turned toxic, or habits that hinder personal growth. Acknowledge these aspects and accept the need for closure.

Letting Go with Gratitude: Bid farewell to what needs to end with a sense of gratitude. Acknowledge the role these elements played in your life and the lessons they brought. Letting go becomes an act of liberation, creating space for new opportunities and growth.


Ask yourself: What has served me well that I want to take with me into the new year? What do I want to leave behind?


The Neutral Zone


The Neutral Zone is the transitional space between the old and the new. It's a period of uncertainty, but rather than viewing it as a hindrance, consider it a vast landscape of possibilities. Navigating the Neutral Zone…


Embracing Uncertainty: Instead of resisting ambiguity, embrace it. Understand that the Neutral Zone is a fertile ground where new possibilities and ideas can germinate. Cultivate a mindset of curiosity and openness as you traverse this uncharted territory.

Exploring New Possibilities: Actively seek out and explore the emerging possibilities. This could involve trying out new hobbies, considering different career paths, or approaching relationships with a fresh perspective. Be intentional about the choices you make during this phase.

Being Patient with the Process: The Neutral Zone is a process, not an obstacle to overcome hastily. Patience is key. Allow yourself the time and space to explore, adapt, and recalibrate. It's in this phase that the seeds of change take root and begin to sprout.


Ask yourself: What new possibilities are emerging for me? What can I do to explore them?


The New Beginning


With the dawn of the new year comes the New Beginning stage. This is the time for action, goal setting, and collaboration. Planning for a new beginning…


Set Your Intentions: Rather than rigid goals, consider setting intentions that align with your values and aspirations. Intentions provide a flexible framework, allowing you to adapt to the twists and turns of your journey while staying true to your overarching purpose.

Cultivate Mindfulness: Infuse your actions with mindfulness. Be present in each moment, and let your intentions guide your decisions. Mindfulness enhances the quality of your experiences and fosters a deeper connection with your chosen path.

Build Positive Habits: Focus on cultivating positive habits that align with your intentions. Whether it's adopting a healthier lifestyle, enhancing your skills, or fostering meaningful connections, habits serve as the building blocks of sustainable change.


Ask yourself: What future do I want to create as I go into the new year? What actions do I need to take to bring that future into reality? What would be my first next step?


Crafting Your Transition Narrative

As we stand on the edge of a new year, let us approach it with intentionality. By navigating the Ending, embracing the Emerging, and initiating the New Beginning, we craft a transition narrative that is both empowering and transformative.

  • Take the time to reflect on the past year, acknowledging both its triumphs and tribulations.

  • Release what no longer serves you with gratitude, paving the way for a new chapter.

  • Embrace the uncertainty of the Neutral Zone, exploring emerging possibilities with curiosity and an open mind.

  • Finally, step into the New Beginning with clear goals, concrete plans, and a collaborative spirit.


In 2024, let your journey be a testament to the power of intentional transitions. May you navigate the complexities with resilience, welcome the unknown with courage, and shape the new year into a canvas of endless possibilities. As the pages of your personal story turn, may each chapter be a testament to your growth, wisdom, and unwavering commitment to crafting a life of purpose and fulfilment.


If you need support in guiding these transition conversations 1-2-1 or with your team, we’re here to help you create that New Beginning.


Happy New Year!



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