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Emotion Intelligence Process Transition

I think I am somewhere between “fear” and “threat” according to John Fisher’s personal transition curve. And both of those stages on the transition curve are supercharged with flashes of anger. It is good to know that my emotional state of dysfunction is functional, or at least normal. What is causing this emotional upheaval?

It all started several months ago when my husband and I began discussing the idea of moving. Life style questions became the topic of regular conversation as we moved toward becoming empty-nesters. The thought of simplification and low-maintenance sounded attractive. Then the Denver real estate market became hot with very little inventory and rising prices.

We started paying attention to interest rates and the possibility of a changing rate environment. As my real estate agent said the first time we met, “Begin by considering the facts and thinking through the logic, but ultimately it will be an emotional decision.”

So, late last week we put our house on the market and Sunday we made it available for showings. There were three offers the first day. We were under contract on Monday.

This is no longer a theoretical idea. We are moving, and my emotions are all over the place. I have long been a fan of William Bridges and his work on change management. Yesterday I was messing around and googling “change” related topics. I was hoping to remind myself that what I am experiencing is just part of the change process, and I came across Fischer’s personal transition curve.

The William Bridges’ work known as the Stages of Transition, are implied in the Fischer diagram. The stages are Endings/Letting Go, The Neutral Zone, and New Beginnings. What I like is how Fischer depicts the range of emotions experienced as one makes their way from here-to-there.

I am currently moving back-and-forth between Endings and the Neutral Zone. There are emotions that pop up across the spectrum from Happy to Sad… and everything in-between. I am reminded of why change can be exhausting.

I think back to my emotional intelligence training, and I know that the competencies of optimism, flexibility, self-awareness, reality testing, and empathy will serve me well in the weeks and months ahead. If only I can begin mustering them up!

Some of the strategies Bridges shares to support the journey through Endings and Letting Go are:

• Accept the reality and importance of losses

• Don’t be surprised by overreactions

• Acknowledge the losses openly

• Expect and accept the signs of grieving

While I want to look at this as an exciting new adventure, I’m not quite there yet. I first must take the time to acknowledgemy loss openly: for my home, my community, and my way of life.

Even though we have freely chosen to make this change, I am deeply grieving the loss of this place. My home has closely held my family through fifteen years of celebrations, moments of joy, tragedy and pain, conflict, and reconciliations.

I have lived completely in every room. This house has known the best and worst of me. It stood in for the home I longed for as a child. It doesn’t make sense anymore, but I love it no less. Letting-go is where I am these days: Endings. I am dancing to the dirge, the slow dance of grieving while trusting in a future that I can’t yet comprehend.

For today, this is me on the road to something new. If you are longing to have a different kind of conversation in the workplace, call me at 303-238-9733. Let’s talk about it.


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Deb Siverson

Deb Siverson is the owner and founder of Xponents. She completed her Masters in Organizational Leadership from University of Colorado-Boulder. Deb is the author of the book, "The Cycle of Transformation: igniting organizational change through the leader coach."

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