My family has taken to making a hot breakfast in the morning. This is brand new for us. Eggs for breakfast was not part of our regular run to school, sprint to the office, morning routine. Each morning we get to decide what we are going to make, once we break the eggs. It can be quite interesting what my kids come up with, and most often it is tasty. These days I have come to really appreciate the moment we break the eggs, as I wait to see what will be. This moment to me reflects the “in between” space that we all get to deal with in life, especially now.
Navigating The Neutral Zone
William Bridges calls the ‘in between’ space the Neutral Zone. In his book, “Managing Transitions”, he identifies the Neutral Zone as the space between the Ending and the New Beginning. It is described as being between trapezes, you have to let go of one trapeze before you can catch the next. The space in between, where we have nothing to hold onto, is the Neutral Zone*.
In the change management work we do, we like to remind people that the feelings that come with the Neutral Zone are normal. The Neutral Zone is often an uncomfortable place, as you are not really moving forward and you cannot go back. There is uncertainty, as well as boredom, restlessness, anxiety, etc. All feelings and emotions that I know I have experienced over many months of working from home.
The Silver Lining
However, there is a silver lining to this Neutral Zone. A silver lining that comes by appreciating the moments within which you can create something new. In the Neutral Zone, where everything is still unknown, there is a great opportunity to be creative, push the boundaries, redefine your world. The old rules do not apply, the new rules are not yet written – we have the opportunity to shape the “new way”.
Think about it as if you are making breakfast. The Neutral Zone is similar to when you break eggs – you can make so many things once the eggs are broken – scrambled eggs, omelettes, quiche, over-easy, etc. There is no limit to the creativity you can bring to this breakfast (except perhaps your cooking skills). You can try new things and new recipes. You can keep what you like and throw away what you don’t. The shell of the egg that held us in place is gone and today we can seize the opportunity to grow and change.
Invest Your Energy into Creating the New
This creative space is also a place of positive energy. We can harness great ideas and make long-awaited changes, now that the eggs are broken. Given where we are on this journey through COVID19, I believe it is time to decide what you want to make with your eggs, take that control and invest your energy into creating the new.
So now that the eggs are broken, what are you going to make?
*Looking for a quick read on Bridges’ Transition Model? Visit Guiding People Through Change on MindTools.com.