Interesting people, unusual sights, sounds and smells, and serendipitous experiences show up in the transitional area between city and countryside. See for yourself  in this short video we made last week on the outskirts of a town in Nicaragua, when we were leading the CareerCycles ‘enriching lives and careers trip.’

Metaphorically, the edge of town is linked with career and life changes:

  • City / TRANSITIONAL AREA / Countyside
  • Comfort zone / LEARNING ZONE / Anxiety zone
  • Ending, Losing, Letting go / NEUTRAL ZONE / New beginning

For those of us who live in cities, as we leave town, we often feel a sense of relaxation and relief from the busy-ness of our lives to the calming effect of the countryside.

In our careers and lives, we often rest in the comfort zone of what we know and who we know. For sure, pushing ourselves too far can land us in an anxiety zone. In between lies the learning zone, where we’re stretching ourselves and learning to redeploy, adapt, grow and in so doing, enrich ourselves. For example, speaking in public to a large audience can land us in the anxiety zone, but taking the initiative to lead a small group discussion or meeting can be a great learning experience.

Similarly, when making a change in our careers or lives we move from ending to new beginning through a neutral zone, according to William Bridges’ model. Whether we choose the career chapter ending or it has been imposed upon us, this experience can be emotionally painful. Before moving on to a new beginning, it’s important to realize we enter a neutral zone, which can be rich in clues for our next steps. In the neutral zone, like at the edge of town, clues appear. What can you learn from people you meet? What are the unusual sights and sounds – signs on office buildings, stories in the news – that might help you explore next steps?

Leave a comment! What do you like about the video? What are your transitional area, neutral zone or learning zone experiences?

-Mark Franklin

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