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Bennett

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Strategies to Help You During Times of Transition

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Transition is the psychological process people must go through to come to terms with new situations. Change is situational: the new boss, new teams, new roles. It’s the psychological aspect that’s difficult to manage, and it is only after a psychological transition that people adapt to change. According to William Bridges, author of Managing Transitions, “It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions.”

We live in a world of constant change. Nature is an example of constant birth, growth, death, and renewal. Understanding the cycles of creation will help us thrive in change, rather than fear it. While transitions can be painful, they are a source of creativity, growth and transformation.

I don’t believe we can experience a transformation without undergoing a psychological transition, and if we can cultivate resilience, we can proceed with a sense of adventure on what Joseph Campbell described as a ‘Hero’s Journey’ (visualized below).

THESE 5 STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING CREATIVE RESILIENCE WILL HELP YOU THRIVE DURING TIMES OF TRANSITION:

Develop a sense of optimism

Resilient people face difficult situations realistically, yet find ways to be optimistic. Studies indicate optimists live longer, have better relationships, and achieve more success in life. Optimists are not magical thinkers, unable to see the dark side; rather, they accept reality, and put things in perspective.

Martin Seligman, a pioneer in the positive psychology field, says, “Optimistic people tend to interpret troubles as transient, controllable and specific… in other words… surmountable, temporary. Pessimists believe troubles last forever, undermine everything they do and are uncontrollable… troubles are pervasive, permanent and personal.”

Find meaning and purpose even in terrible times

Viktor Frankl’s 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning offers profound lessons on being resilient in dire situations. Frankl says we can discover meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed to help others; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.

Take control

In times of turbulence, it’s helpful to focus on what is truly in our power to control. As Albert Einstein wisely said: “Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.”

Be Creative

When my coaching clients tell me about times of transition, I ask what they could do to nurture themselves to reduce stress. Creativity is always at the top of the list, along with getting enough sleep, exercise, proper nutrition and being with friends or family.

Creative expression has the power to heal emotions, and nurture the soul. When we enter the flow states of complete absorption in a creative process, we open our awareness to new perceptions, and new perspectives.

Improvise

Resilient people are masters of innovation and resourcefulness. They have the capacity to improvise and to create bricolage: creative problem-solving using a variety of materials that happen to be available.

The Apollo 13 mission is a dramatic example of improvisation: When the spacecraft was well on its way to the Moon, an oxygen tank exploded, scrubbing the lunar landing and putting the crew in jeopardy. Working with Mission Control in Houston, the crew used their lunar module as a “lifeboat”. Using spare parts and spacecraft canisters, the astronauts improvised a method to reduce the carbon dioxide concentration in the spacecraft and end their mission safely.

IN SUMMARY

Resilient people are optimistic, focused, organized, proactive, and flexible. To be resilient, learn to face reality with staunchness, find meaning in the hardship you are facing, nurture your creativity, and improvise solutions using available resources.

Cover and top image by CityGypsy11 via Flickr

This is a cross-post from The Creativity at Work Blog.

Linda Naiman is a creativity and innovation consultant, coach, speaker and co-author of Orchestrating Collaboration at Work: Using Music, Improv, Storytelling, and Other Arts to Improve Teamwork.

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http://www.designtaxi.com/article/101726/Strategies-to-Help-You-During-Times-of-Transition/

Transition is the psychological process people must go through to come to terms with new situations. Change is situational: the new boss, new teams, new roles. It’s the psychological aspect that’s difficult to manage, and it is only after a psychol…