The 5 Stages of Change and the Change Process

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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JM Fishers 5 stages of change transition

As we approach that last few weeks of this year and people begin to think about changing their lives and making their dreams come true in the coming year, I’ve decided to bring forward one of my more popular posts on the 5 stages of change.

Fear, depression, anger, elation, excitement and joy are all pieces of the change puzzle and as we work to shift away from old ways of doing things to make room for our dreams.  It is a certainty that at some point you will cycle through these strong emotions associated with change as you work on making your dreams come true.

Dr. James Prochaska came up with the idea of the 5 Stages of Change.

He refers to 5 stages of emotion that you go through as “change readiness,”  and the following video has some great insights into the 5 Stages of Change

The 5 Stages of Change –

1. Pre-contemplation — Where you aren’t interested in changing, but we are bothered by something.

2. Contemplation — Where you explore the possible benefits of changing.

3. Preparation — Where you gather tools and support.

4. Action — Where you take the steps necessary to change your life.

5. Maintenance — Where you are able to maintain the change.

If your dream is to be a success online then you must constantly live in a state of change because the Internet and technology is always change.  The medium itself is nothing but change and how you adapt to it.  To publish online means you swim in the pool of change.

Get used to it now.

Michael Fullan, a Professor Emeritus of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, who is recognized as a worldwide authority on educational reform and change lists 8 “basic lessons” that can be learned about the process of change and improvement:

Lesson 1: You Can’t Mandate What Matters  (The more complex the change, the less you can force it).

Lesson 2: Change is a Journey, not a Blueprint (Change is non-linear, loaded with uncertainty and excitement and sometimes perverse).

Lesson 3: Problems are Our Friends  (Problems are inevitable and you can’t learn without them).

Lesson 4: Vision and Strategic Planning Come Later  (Premature visions and planning blind).

Lesson 5: Individualism and Collectivism Must Have Equal Power (There are no one-sided, one-way solutions).

Lesson 6: Neither Centralization Nor Decentralization Works (The need for flexibility).

Lesson 7: Connection with the Wider Environment is Critical for Success (Can anyone say the buddy system?).

Lesson 8: Every Person is a Change Agent (Change is up to the person).

As you begin your heroes journey towards the land of your dreams, prepare yourself to be accepting to change as it comes–because it will.  Breathe it in and trust that it is part of the story that will lead you to your place of joy.

You just might not enjoy the journey sometimes.

Catherine Hughes

Buy Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

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