For my book “Secrets of Entrepreneurship” I have talked to some sixty successful entrepreneurs about their move form an employed leader to their independent business. In these interviews two things became very clear to me: Change and transformation are different, and successful professional change needs inner personal transformation.
Change is an externally visible event. A former software manager registers his IT company; a company lawyer opens a Yoga center; a private banker starts a coach training school. Transformation is an internal psychological process of an individual. It needs “an inner orientation and self-definition you have to go through to incorporate change into your life” – as William Bridges writes in his book “Transitions, Making Sense of Life’s Changes”
What are the essential phases in change and what can help us thereby?
Advice no 1: A beginning starts with an Ending
This sounds paradoxical but is true. Ending is a first necessary step in the process of transformation. It is a time for letting go of what was until now. You will be confronted with some basic questions like:
- What are you loosing?
- How will you overcome and manage these losses?
- What are you leaving behind?
- What will you keep for instance from your relationships, experience or locations?
At the end you will feel increasingly releaved and be longing for what might come.
Advice no 2: Take your time for a Neutral Zone
The next step is a neutral zone, an in-between time. The old is gradually disappearing and the new is not yet there. It is the very core of your transformation process. It is the time for an inner orientation and alignment with letting go the past and finding a new, yet unclear future. This will mean questions like:
- How will you overcome times of insecurity and searching for something new?
- Who will support you in finding solutions in your journey?
- What do you have to learn now for future challenges?
- How will you master the essential question – Who are you?
This might be a time where you feel uncomfortable and possibly lost.
Advice no 3: Be aware of new Beginnings
New beginnings involve new understandings, new values and new attitudes. You will find new little “plants” on your journey. Your awareness will be characterized by:
- New understanding about you and your direction to follow.
- Release of energy for many things you are doing.
- Having gained a new identity.
- Defined a purpose for your work and life.
In total you will feel reoriented and renewed.
Dr. Ernst Bechinie, ICF Master Certified Coach – Connecting Work and Soul.