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The past few days, my pup Andy has been a visible reminder of me of the challenges with navigating the transitions–endings (and losses), the neutral zone, and new beginnings–that come with change.

A few days ago we sold our large sectional couch and brought up from the basement a standard-size couch. Andy LOVED the sectional. He particularly loved the large “snuggler” section which he claimed as his own.

Since switching out the couches, it’s been an unending episode of “Who moved my cheese (i.e. couch)?”

Let me anthropomorphize my dog here for a minute.

First was the confusion. “Where is my snuggler?”

Then the tentative exploration. “Ok, I’ll give this a try.”

Then the obvious irritation as he jumped off and stalked away as only a stumpy cattle dog can, to pout on his bed on the other side of the room. “I hate this and I’m not going to do it. Give me back my snuggler.”

Next came more exploration, with a bit of a bull-in-a-china-shop approach as he jumped up on top of our other dog, Ronan, and walked right over him. “Fine, I’ll try it again but I’m not happy about it and Ronan accepted this way too fast.” (Luckily Ronan is an exceptionally tolerant teammate.)

Finally, for a bit tonight, acceptance. I found him dead asleep and dreaming on the new couch.

This all reminded me of what it’s like when we navigate our own transitions during times of change. We feel disoriented, and experience true emotion over losses. We might not understand why things are changing. At some point, we start to give the new reality a go. Maybe we like it, maybe we don’t and we retreat again. Eventually, we either reject the change altogether or find our way to be comfortable in it.

For Andy, this week it’s a couch. I imagine for a lot of people, their “couch” is the shift back into the office or a hybrid work environment. That change will take time to transition through, as I’ve written about before. Give yourself, and your teams, permission to feel loss, explore the new reality, perhaps retreat to resistance for a bit, and then try again.

It might not be the comfort of a snuggler, but at some point, you’ll settle in.

One other note about Andy: he is one resilient little dude, as he’s both blind and deaf. His world is about to turn upside down even more when we move in a few weeks (hence selling the couch), but we’re confident he’ll navigate it like he does everything: with courage. There’s a lesson there too.

What metaphorical furniture in your life has moved, and how are you navigating the change?


Managing Transitions is an incredibly powerful model to help individuals lead themselves and their teams through change. Reach out to discuss how we can bring this valuable content to your organization.

#change #changeleadership #transitions

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