It is Labor Day Weekend and for many families, this is the first holiday with a student in college. For the student, it could mean the first or second weekend away – a time for everyone when the newness and excitement of the experience is wearing off and the reality is setting in.

I wrote an article about helping families through this transition based upon work by William Bridges in his brilliant book Managing Transitions. His premise is that change is external (college began or for some is just beginning) and that transition is internal (thus everyone goes through the process at their own rate).

Bridges writes that transition happens in three stages: first a loss – where there is conscious or unconscious grief over being without the way of life that we knew before the change; then an interval or limbo period where we are trying to figure out what the “new normal” is, and then a beginning, where the transition is complete and we have settled in to a new chapter.

College families are going through this process, but people have other transitions every day. Certainly those affected by the floods in Houston will face these three steps. Divorce, death, new jobs, new schools or a baby can all trigger a transition in lives.

Whether you are facing a change or know someone who is going through one, keep Bridges’ wise words in mind to help you navigate the rough waters of the process.

How does this dot connect with you? Leave a comment and share your observations with others.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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