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Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events but rather the inner reorientation or self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life.

– William Bridges, PhD | Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes

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Life is a continuum—an accumulation of experiences that makes us who we are and influences how we view ourselves and the world around us. As we review these experiences, we realize that our lives have been permeated with change. As ironic as it may seem, change is the only constant in our lives. 

Therefore, how we respond to and initiate change can have everything to do with how well we manage our lives and the successes we experience. Virginia Satir wrote: “Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It is the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

We can’t stop change, but we can often do a better job of anticipating and preparing for it. How we respond to change will have a profound effect on the decisions we make, the opportunities we seek, and the quality of life we experience. So too can our willingness to initiate change that improves our lives and the lives of others.


William Bridges, author and preeminent authority on change, defines transition as the psychological process people go through to come to terms with a new situation. Therefore, overcoming challenges and taking advantage of opportunities are key elements of making successful transitions throughout our life journeys.  

It is also important to understand that making successful transitions requires both practical strategies and emotional fortitude. We all encounter both expected and unexpected changes in every area of life. However, those who are resilient are better able to navigate each change, bounce back from disappointments, and welcome new experiences.

In addition, because nearly all of life’s transitions have a financial tether, it is important to consider how we can increase financial resilience. From a practical standpoint, financial resilience requires a foundation of basic financial knowledge and a strategy for building financial security. From an emotional standpoint, financial resilience requires self-confidence. This is achieved by identifying fears and behaviors in regard to money and by working to understand and overcome the underlying issues.

A Passing Note

On a personal level, your life satisfaction will increase as you continually seek to respond to change and transition in healthier and more productive ways. In the world of music, the “passing note” is a note that is not part of a particular chord, but is placed between two chords to provide a smooth melodic transition from one to the other. Likewise, it is important to recognize ways that we can act as a “passing note” in our lives in order to facilitate successful transitions. If you’re looking for a thought partner on change or transition you’re facing, I warmly invite the conversation.

Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, Inc.