How to Make Transitions Easier

In my last post I talked about the importance of letting go and identifying the things which can hold us back in doing so – both personally and professionally.

Awareness and acknowledgement are (as with most things) helpful when facing transition, however the key thing to remember is:

The death of one thing makes way for the birth of something new.

When there is an ending or a beginning (whether it be in your personal life or on an organisational level), it seems obvious to say, but, there is a new ‘beginning’ to experience and an ‘ending’ to experience too. 

Transitions can be untidy and disharmonious, so it may be helpful to be aware of the different elements of a transitional process.  Having ‘meaning’ may also make transitions easier to bear.

Here are the three main stages of any transition:


  • Can be painful.
  • May evoke a sense of loss – even if it is you who has chosen to move on.
  • Are akin to Autumn (if we were to take a seasonal analogy).


  • Often involving a sense of disorientation or confusion.
  • Requiring time and space to be alone.
  • May result in disruptions of rituals and habits – so being aware of and accepting of this is helpful.
  • Can arouse feelings of irrelevance, a lack of meaning, and a ‘what next’ mindset.
  • Akin to Winter.

New Beginnings:

  • Can come in the form of an image or a dream and are often non verbal.
  • May overlap with the previous and/or different stages.
  • Akin to Spring.


Saying to ourselves, or those we are leading, “I/we/you should have got over this by now” is not helpful when in different stages of transition. Adopting black or white thinking, or even having too many expectations can hold us back.


What have you found to be helpful when facing a transition? 



  1. Fridays | The Leader's Digest – by Suzi McAlpine, Executive Coach on August 30, 2013 at 4:50 am

    […] religiously inclined, rituals are an integral part of every culture. They are what help us mark beginnings, endings, and rites of passage. They almost always involve a coming together of people.  And this […]

  2. Rebecca on May 11, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Some very timely thoughts, thanks Suzi. I’ve just read Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows, a fascinating book that contemplates the pros and cons of our transition to the internet age. As well, Carr delves into history, right back to Socrates lamenting the introduction of the written word and the changes it will bring. A recommended read.

  3. done on May 11, 2013 at 12:51 am


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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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