The 5 Stages of Change and the Change Process

This week I have been thinking about the process of change and how much we fear it.

I found this cartoon below about the emotional side of change, which pretty much sums up what many dreamers go through when pursuing their dreams

JM Fishers 5 stages of change transition

I want to point out that fear, depression, anger, elation, excitement and joy are all pieces of the change puzzle and as we shift away from our old ways of doing things to make room for our dreams we will each at some point cycle through these strong emotions.

Dr. James Prochaska believes there are 5 Stages of Change.

He calls these the 5 stages of  “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.

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).

What stage are you at in your dreams?  Are you ready to make the necessary changes?


Buy Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

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Catherine Hughes, Be an Online Success

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.
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