150: When You're In Transition

150: When You're In Transition


Why navigating change is like that Semisonic song “Closing Time” and one last appeal for that reader survey

Cultivating Resilience is celebrating our 3rd anniversary. Help us celebrate by taking the 👉 readership survey

It's raining hard in NYC this weekend and my wife is at the tail end of an tough IVF cycle. She's had to shoot hormones into her body multiple times a day and get up early for morning visits to the doctor (she's a night owl). I help her with the shots and go to the clinic with her, but there's not much I can do for her nausea and general pain.

It's difficult to see someone you love suffer for a shared goal while you enjoy relative ease—and yet I try to be grateful that we have this technology to help us start a family.

Hope you're staying dry out there,


PS - I've gotten some great feedback in this year's readership survey which closes in 3 days. Please add your voice and we'll review next week in celebration of 3 years of newslettering! (link)

🤔 Announcements

📅 This Saturday May 6: I'm hosting an in-person salon about navigating transitions (the topic of today's issue). Come join me in on Museum Mile / UES. You need to be an interintellect member, which is only $15 bucks for one month. You cancel after if you don't like it! (link)

🛠️ Hack(s) of the Week

A new segment I'm experimenting with based on feedback from you all! (link)

Premium Customer Service: Buy a single share in hotel chain or airline and use the investor relations phone line to get better customer support. Can't confirm personally but I trust Patrick McKenzie/@patio11 (link)

Timeboxed Push: Sometimes you need a physical timer to get motivated to work on something not fun. Here's fun digital one I use: (link)

🧠 In Transition

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

"Closing Time" by Semisonic

The Lindy Effect, popularized by Nassim Taleb, argues that the longer a non perishable item has been in existence, the longer it's expected lifespan. Meaning The Odyssey, with a 2,800 year headstart, will probably outlast The Martian as an epic tale (sorry Andy Weir).

In 1979, a former English professor named William Bridges wrote a book about navigating life's changes that became a sleeper hit. A few years ago, Transitions celebrated it's 40th anniversary reprinting—which suggests the ideas within have staying power. I first discovered the book in 2020 from a thread by a burned out CEO leaving his post:

Bridges argues that we need to distinguish between change, the external results of an event like moving cities, changing jobs, starting a family or ending a serious relationship, and transition, which is the internal reorientation and psychological

My well-worn copy of Transitions

Transitions reverse the typical way we think about things as having a beginning, middle, and end. Instead, we can see the arc of a transition as an Ending, a Neutral Zone, and a New Beginning.

A transition begins with something ending: a relationship, a job, even an identity. We often don’t recognize this at first or give it adequate weight.

Next, the transition moves into a liminal space he calls the neutral zone. This is a place of great uncertainty where questions abound but few answers emerge.

Finally there’s the new beginning. A time marked by false starts and fumbling to find the right rhythm.

While this framework isn’t particularly mind blowing, it feels grounded in a deep truth. Like how the seasons change from fall, with endings and death, to winter, a time where the world seems dormant, to spring, where life blooms again, these stages of transition are a useful way to map our messy reality.

I am running a national study of Americans right now (more on this in a future issue) and a bit over half of folks have recently experienced some kind of major change. Think back on your own life – you probably half too.

If you’re in an ending: are you clear about what you are letting go of and what you are keeping? Are you still clinging to a past that is gone or are you disconnecting appropriately?

If you are in a neutral zone: are you letting yourself sit in the uncertainty and grappling with the possibilities? Or are you rushing to find some stability, irrespective of the long term fit?

If you are in a new beginning: are you accepting that you’ll feel out-of-sorts as you settle into this new groove? Or do your missteps cause you to worry you’ll never figure it out?

Interested in more discussion on transition? Come to my IRL salon!

In Transition: How We Navigate the Messy Middle between Endings and New Beginnings - Interintellect
We are all in the process of unmaking and remaking ourselves. In this salon, join executive coach Jason Shen in exploring the 3 stages of transition and how we might navigate them… Continue reading In Transition: How We Navigate the Messy Middle between Endings and New Beginnings

👉 Links

I've skipped links for a few weeks but survey respondents told me they like them so I made an effort to bring them back!

  • Relatable 🏋 : "The silver medal did not extend to me what I had spent years chasing: the feeling that I was enough." a moving personal essay (link)
  • Generative 🤖: Product leader at-large @shreyas argues that AI will force PM's to be more empathetic, creative, and decisive (link)
  • Generative 🤖 Deux: Meanwhile a new paper finds a panel of licensed medical professionals were 3.6x more likely to rate ChatGPT’s answers as good or very good compared to a real doctor’s and 9.8x as empathetic or very empathetic.
  • Togetherness 🫶: Retirement as reinvention—my highlights on a moving piece about finding purpose and new horizons in old age (link)
  • Creative 👁️ : If you're a fan of John Wick and are very online, you'll appreciate Eugene Wei's masterful analysis of the film's link to cancel culture (link)
  • Creative 👁️ deux : A successful novelist's "pitch first" strategy for writing books that get bought and read (link)

Thank you for being a member of Cultivating Resilience. This newsletter has spread almost exclusively by word of mouth. Would you help share it with a friend or two who might also enjoy it?

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147: Operating at Reduced Capacity
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