What is a Life Transition? 

A life transition is an adaption to significant changes that can alter our roles, relationships, locations, and abilities. William Bridges, a renowned author in the field of transitions, describes them as “the difficult place of letting go of an old situation, suffering the confusion nowhere of in-betweenness, and launching forth again in a new situation” (Bridges, 2001, p. 4). These transitions can range from moving out of home, starting a new job, forming a relationship, and getting promoted to significant life events like having a baby.

Nancy Schlossberg expands on this by defining transitions as “events or non-events that lead to changes in our assumptions about ourselves and the world, necessitating a change in our behaviour and relationships” (Schlossberg, 1981, p. 5).

The Waiting Place

Dr. Seuss captures the essence of transitions in his book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” and “The Waiting Place,” emphasizes the experience of waiting and the in-betweenness of transitions.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night

or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.

Change vs. Transition: What’s the Difference?

Though often used interchangeably, change and transition are distinct concepts. Bridges (2002) emphasizes that “it isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transition.” Change refers to external situational shifts like a new boss, altered team roles, or updated policies. Transition, however, is the internal psychological process of adapting to these new situations. Change is what happens to you, while transition is what happens inside you.

When Should You Seek Professional Help?

Transitions can be challenging, and seeking support from a trained professional may be beneficial. Discussing and processing transitions in a supportive environment can lead to profound insights and growth.

Changes in Between can help navigate transitions by increasing awareness, partnering and support, identifying support systems, and promoting growth. If you’re ready to navigate your transition with support, you can book a brief enquiry call for coaching and take the first step towards a smoother transition and personal growth.