Phases of Transition and How to Ground Yourself in This Moment

Phases of Transition and How to Ground Yourself in This Moment

Change can be disorienting. 

By becoming aware of your place in the transition process, you ease the resistance and tension of fighting against this natural process. Ground yourself and find calm and comfort in knowing you can navigate change during change.

Signs you are in Phase 1: Denial

Denial, stress, uncertainty, overwhelm, isolation, feeling lack of control, grieving, endings and resistance to letting go.

Denial is a key indicator you are in Phase 1. How do you know you're in denial? The fact is, you might not know. Denial often happens subconsciously. Fight, flight or freeze may kick in for you to survive. Stress takes hold. Cortisol skyrockets. Regardless, most people don’t really recognize themselves in this stage until they’ve moved through it. This stage can feel disorienting as a loss of control, uncertainty and fear of the unknown kick in. Anxiety feeds on the “what if’s” of a future not yet known.

*Adapted from Bridges Transition Model

How to Move from Denial to Acceptance

Best Practices
Release overwhelming thoughts and feelings by:

  • Talking to someone you trust and can be honest with.
  • Free-writing your thoughts.
  • Rest, slow down. Nourish yourself.

Focus on the things you can control with these Reflective Questions:


  • What do I know for sure?
  • What resources do I have in place? What additional resources do I need right now? Where can I find these resources?


  • What challenges have I overcome in the past?  How did I navigate this?
  • What evidence does this provide about what I am capable of now?

Letting Go:

  • What old ways of being, thinking and doing do I need to let go of?
  • By letting go of the old, what do I make space for?
Signs you are in Phase 2: Resistance
Resistance, caution, confusion, apprehension about what the future holds. 

*May experience swing from having energy and hope to feeling tired and apathetic.

When you are in resistance you can feel the tension. It is a push-pull between knowing you have to respond, but you're not quite sure how.

Here is where all of the emotions rise to the surface; frustration, anger, overwhelm, confusion and more.

As humans we naturally try to push through these feelings and focus on what we can “do” without spending enough time feeling what we need to feel. This forced movement only slows the progression forward, keeping us stuck in Phase 2. By allowing ourselves the time to fully experience all of our emotions, we release the tension built by resisting.

Remember, you are grieving the old way of living and being in the world. Acceptance of what is, and letting go of what was, are essential to transitioning smoothly.

How to Move from Resistance to Allowing

Best Practices
Honour where you are in the moment. Rest when you need it.
Accept that creativity, motivation and productivity may not be consistent or even predictable at this stage.

Reflect on:
How am I feeling today? (Reference the Emotions Wheel below to support you). What do I need in THIS moment?

Emotions Wheel

Signs you are in Phase 3: Exploration
Exploration, Openness, Creativity, Hope, Possibilities, Apprehension. *May experience swing back to earlier phases.

Exploration opens this new phase as you begin to accept the ending of the old, allowing the creation of a new normal. It’s important to note that the process is not linear and does not move in only one direction, rather, you will feel the push and pull between resistance (holding onto the old way), and exploration (the potential new beginning).

This push-pull is called the neutral zone. It’s human to desire both- to stay safe in what we know (the old) and experience something different (the new). It requires great courage to step into a growth and commitment phase where everything feels new, exciting and risky. It is this zone that can provide new learning that will help us evolve and adapt to the times.

Reflect on:
What opportunity is available now that was not previously available? What are the risks I am willing to take?

Signs you are in Phase 4: Commitment
Excitement, clarity, integration, purposeful, hopeful, committed, aligned, motivated.

As we move through resistance, process emotions and explore possibilities of a new future, we find clarity for a new purpose and readiness to commit to creating a new future. We begin to take action, plan in hand and purposefully drive toward a new beginning.

Best Practices

  • Clarify your Purpose
  • Share your vision
  • Create a clear plan of action
  • Make Commitments
  • Take consistent action

At LeaderSharp Collective, we have some simple strategies for leaders like you to bring calm and clarity no matter what phase you are in. We are here to walk alongside you so you can confidently navigate the path ahead.

This article is written by The LeaderSharp Collective.

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