Are you tangled up in the Messy Middle of a transition of one kind or another? Most of us are. I came across a fabulous TED talk by writer and TV host Bruce Feiler and I want to share some of his concepts with you because they made so much sense to me.

He says that life transitions are autobiographical occasions, meaning-making experiences; a chance to write a new chapter of your life story. I agree with him whole-heartedly, but it doesn’t mean the process of change is easy (at work or at home).

Whether you are experiencing a corporate buyout, changing jobs, moving town or country, downsizing from a house with a garden to an apartment (like me), a company restructure, death, divorce or illness, starting a new family, and more, I really like the three phases Bruce says we need to go through and master:

  • The Long Goodbye
    • We must mourn the past that’s not coming back
  • The Messy Middle
    • When you shed certain habits and mindsets and create new ones
  • The New Beginning
    • Where you unveil your new self
Are you in the Messy Middle?

Most of us don’t like the Messy Middle because it’s emotional, uncertain and uncomfortable. It’s were we feel incompetent and unconfident because we have never been ‘here’ before. It’s where we need to let go of what I call ‘the old picture’ and ’embrace the new picture’ in order to move on. 

While the Messy Middle can feel incredibly challenging (I know), it’s also where you make space for newness, for what comes next. But, as Bruce explains, it can feel like you are wondering in the wilderness, all alone.

Here are some tips on how to get through the Messy Middle:

  • Don’t isolate yourself, reach out for support and talk to others
  • Let people in, seek wisdom from others
  • Take action, don’t freeze
  • Try something new
When you get through the Messy Middle you can rewrite your script, or your life story. There is usually a blessing in every messy situation if you look for it.

Business Leaders: don’t get stuck in the Messy Middle alone

If you would like me to speak or consult on this topic drop a mail to

Reframing Disruption is a key pillar of the work I do with leaders and organisations facing transitions.

Much love,
Nikki Bush
Human Potential and Parenting Expert helping you to win at work and life