“It isn’t the changes that do you in; it’s the transitions.” ~ William Bridges

Nothing is constant, except change. The world we live in is changing at a very rapid pace. You, as an individual are changing, growing, learning, and gaining knowledge every day. Change consultant William Bridges created the Transition Model in his book “Managing Transitions.” The main strength of the model is that it focuses on transition, not change.

The Difference Between Change and Transition

Differences between these two terms is subtle, yet very important. Change is something that happens to people, even if they do not agree with it. Transition, on the other hand, is internal. It is what happens to people and their minds, as they go through change. Change can happen very quickly, while transition usually occurs more slowly.  Our lives are full of change. Your military transition may prove to be one of your greatest challenges and achievements. How will you handle your transition?

Frustrated Yet?  You Probably Will Be.

Are you going to be frustrated and tossed about like a boat in a storm? People are often quite uncomfortable with change for many understandable reasons. Depression, feeling vulnerable or concerned, sleep problems, trouble concentrating, confusion, mood swings and tension are just some of the potential problems that can occur during transition. Try not to let these sneak in to your life and relationships. There are ways to cope to keep these from creating resistance and opposition during the transition. Just remember that a number of confusing emotions may come up during transition and it is perfectly normal.

To transition successfully you must embrace your personal change and mentally take charge of your transition. Use your knowledge and experience to help embrace your personal and professional change. In today’s challenging work environment, modern workers must be flexible, embrace change and continually transition to remain viable.

Engage in self-care

Make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthy, and keep exercising. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for support; be it family, friends or others going through transition. Find out how they are dealing with their concerns. Give yourself a break, knowing that finding a job is a job.  Allow yourself plenty of time to relax and review. Don’t be too hard on yourself and ask others for help when needed. Multiple significant life decisions maybe made during this time, and you need to be on your game to have the clarity necessary. If you find yourself overly frustrated, use some form of stress management techniques, like deep abdominal breathing, muscle relaxation, prayer, or meditation.

Virtues of Your Military Experience

The good news is your military experience has instilled the ability to adapt to ever changing environments. The many challenging situations you have persevered through provide confidence and flexibility. These elements will serve you well as you respond to change. How will you embrace the change that is coming to your personal and professional life? What actions will you take to enable your successful transition?

Watch for the Positive Outcomes

There are some additional silver linings to transitioning. You may learn to become more flexible and resilient while focusing on what is important in your life. Further, you may redefine your life’s role or vocation while tapping into previously unknown strengths, and unseen self-confidence.

As you depart the service, remember to embrace the associated changes, but remain focused on your transition. Companies are constantly seeking qualified candidates who can change and grow with the organization. If you are ready to adapt to this rapidly changing environment, this is all good news for you.


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Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at Gr8Transitions4U.com.