Using a combination of elements, including my background in nursing, MBA with an emphasis on organizational strategy and change methodologies, and personal experience, I have created a framework to address personal change. This framework is based on principles of organizational change by Lewin and Kotter, and adapted to address personal change experiences.
The framework I have created consists of three Phases – immediate change, adjustment, and redefinition. These Phases may last moments, days, weeks, or years, and may happen in sequence, simultaneous, or you may flow back and forth between them as you work to accommodate your situation.
I like to explain it in terms of recovering from a near-drowning:
- Phase I: The actual moment of change, often experienced as a sense of being overwhelmed or drowning. Your head is below water, and you are struggling to reach the air. To breathe freely.
- Phase II: The time immediately following the initial shock of change. A time when you are adjusting to the new realities post-change. You have been handed a life vest or buoy and your head is now above water. In the distance, you may see the shore, but all you can think of is how to get out of the water and into a lifeboat.
- Phase III: The space into which you’ve emerged after you have adjusted to the change. Phase III comprises three sub-phases that allow you to define your new self. You are ready to redefine who you are to yourself, your immediate family/group, and the greater community. As you sit safely in a lifeboat headed towards shore, you have the ability to contemplate and control what this new version of yourself will be when you step out of the boat on onto solid land.
My philosophy is that, during this change process, you need information through different tools and methods of delivery. As you progress through the Phases of change you can expect:
- Phase I: Tools developed with bite-sized pieces of information, delivered in a manner that addresses your immediate needs, and resources that help you get your head above water.
- Phase II: A combination of tools and resources provided in a format to address the adjustment period as you climb aboard the lifeboat in front of you.
- Phase III: A reflective approach to walk you through the stages of redefinition. Information provided during this phase is presented in a method conducive to visualizing where you want to be and the tools and resources you need to get there.
Together, this approach is designed to empower you to conquer this change and emerge as someone in charge of their life. It’s time to take charge of your life and choices, whether you decided to change or the change was decided for you. As Jack Canfield said, “Event + Outcome = Results.” You may not be able to change the event, but you have control over how you respond to the event that affects the results.