It just seemed appropriate this month to highlight one of the absolute “classic” works in career-related literature, dealing with the human transition and grieving process, since a significant number of clients in recent days have gone through some challenging life transitions — ranging from divorce and family illness to job loss, relocation, bankruptcy, and the like.

Originally published in 1979, this compact little book contains powerful insights about the nature of life transitions, the impact they have on human psychology, and the steps that people can take to cope with them effectively.  The author, William Bridges, is widely considered to be the father of this important field and has personally helped tens of thousands of people come to understand the stages of the transition process and how to capitalize on them, instead of getting paralyzed by them.   He talks at length about the creativity that often gets unleashed during the “neutral zone” period between major life “endings” and “new beginnings” — and was one of the first to make the important distinction between “change” (events that happen to us, which we can’t control) and “transition” (the process of how we each respond to and manage these changes).

All in all, this book is an important read both for people seeking a better understanding of the nature of change and transition, as well as for individuals going through some rocky times in their lives and who may find comfort in the wisdom that Mr. Bridges has to share.  Bridges’ thoughts on the matter, in fact, echo the immortal words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Not in goals, but in transitions, man is great.”