Creating change can be tough!!! I recently read The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P Moran and Michael Lennington and especially noticed the graph below. What I found interesting about this graph is the authors took into account the emotional piece of creating change.

A quick overview of the Emotional Cycle of Change.

The premise of psychologist Don Kelley and Daryl Connor (as explained by authors Moran and Lennington … and now me!) is that during the first stage of change, Phase I, you are excited about making changes and can only see the benefits. You don’t know what you don’t know, so you are filled with possibilities! Change seems possible and immediate, hence the name Uninformed Optimism.

Then, you quickly move to Phase II: Informed Pessimism. Here you start to become aware of the reality of what it will take to change. An emotional shift occurs as the cost seems to be larger than the benefits and you wonder, “Is it really worth it?”

Next, Phase III: Valley of Despair. Emotionally, this is the lowest point in the cycle – and if you can move through it you will be able to create the change. At this point the pain associated with making the change seems much larger than the pain of staying where you are. “It isn’t really that bad, is it?” You’ll start to question your reasons for making the change here, so typically this is the place where most people give up.

When you stick with it through the Valley of Despair, you’ll enter Phase IV: Informed Optimism. Unlike Phase I (Uninformed Optimism) you really DO know what it takes to make the change, and you recognize that you are capable, willing, and able to make the change. Your efforts are starting to pay dividends and habits are starting to form.

Image from "The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months" by Brian P Moran and Michael Lennington

Image from “The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months”

Finally, Phase V: Success and Fulfillment! You did it!!!! The benefits far out way any lingering costs. Your confidence is high and each action adds to this confidence. This is a great time to start to create another new change built upon this momentum, as your emotional state is high!

This process starts in the “you don’t know what you don’t know” phase and end with success. The tricky part is how to get through the middle!

I think the key is twofold.

One – having a super clear vision of what will be gained by creating this new skill, something you can fall back on when the going gets tough.

Two – having a strong support system that you can tap when you need some extra “oomph” to keep going.

Your turn! What do you think is the key to making it through the Valley of Despair? What tools have you used to lift yourself out of that valley when the going seems too rough? Share below!

What happens when you’ve been working hard and making progress but that “big goal” after Phase V seems out of reach? That’s the time to reach … for some outside help! Upgrade your capacity building strategies so you can feel a sense of accomplishment every single day, without getting bogged down in the valley. Take advantage of my complimentary Discovery Conversation.

(Important!! These appointments are complimentary, but to be really clear, they are limited in number and reserved for people who meet these criteria: You are willing and ready to improve your current situation. You are ready to invest money in your potential so you can experience different results. You are willing to push your comfort zone (just a little to start). If this is you, click below to find your next steps.