The Neutral Zone
As I reflect on this transitional time we are living in, I find myself going back to William Bridges’ book, The Way of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments. I find that his writing applies to both business and personal life,
Transition, according to Bridges, is “the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become.” He identifies the neutral zone as the space between letting go of the old and embracing the risky new beginning. Although experienced initially as a state of confusion and chaos, the neutral zone has tremendous potential to turn negatives into positives and release creativity. It makes possible what was perceived as impossible before.
Our world today is in a kind of collective neutral zone. The more I accept the inevitable transition, the more I become open to the opportunities this neutral zone may hold for us. I encourage organization leaders to use this time to think broadly about mission, service, and practice. I believe this is a chance to free ourselves from how we’ve always worked and explore new ways of connecting and contributing.
The most difficult part of our current crisis is the loss of control we feel. By allowing the possibilities of a new reality to take hold, we reclaim influence on what comes next and realize choices in how we respond. Letting go of old assumptions and ways of being, and embracing this confusing, uncertain neutral zone opens the door to our most creative space and, ultimately, to what will become the new reality.