The Stages of Change

The process of change has three distinct stages, and the more you know about the nature of change, the easier it is to move through them.

1. Letting Go

Resistance is at its peak: denial, despair, anger, blame, sickness, sadness, and mourning. It is in the first stage that something is lost.

2. The Dead Zone
This is a time of reorientation. Often we feel at our worst. We feel a combination of hope and despair, confusion and adjustment. We begin searching for meaning.

"Every change looks like a failure in the middle."
-Rosabeth M. Kanter,
author, The Change Masters

3. The Leap
In the third stage, we begin to identify with the new way. We may feel a combination of fear and excitement. In order to take the leap, we first must have let go, released the old, and fully experienced the dead zone. Now there can be creativity and comfort.

"Once you understand the mechanism of resistance and the three stages of change, you are ready to take positive steps to handle change.
You will soon recognize that, even when you feel as though you are being forced into doing something, you still have control.
You have the choice to let go and accept, or resist;
and you have control over your perception of how the change will affect you
by consciously creating and reinforcing your picture of a positive future."

--from the book, Quantum Leap Thinking, by James J. Mapes -