June 11, 2024   8:50am

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In the wake of Wall Street, leave it to our “What’s Next” Cindy to remind us of our need for transition, rethinking and renewal …

I haven’t had a whole lot to say lately … I’ve been hanging out somewhere between “Stuck in the doldrums” and “Cocooning.” I’ve been here before — a prelude to a period of new energy — and it’s nice to remind myself that not only have others figured it out,* they’ve also named it!

It’s The Renewal Cycle,* conceived by two Ph.D.s Frederic Hudson and Pamela McLean as a framework for adult change. I mentioned the first two phases above … the other two are: “Getting ready for the Next Chapter” and “Going for it.”

Here’s what this Renewal Cycle looks like schematically*:


The Renewal Cycle is a roadmap for change which I’ve found helpful.

The premise is that our lives are a series of stable times followed by transitions. Periods of stability are mostly harmonious and purposeful; we live out a plan and produce results; we face external challenges and opportunities. We are happy and then, at least, not unhappy. From time to time these chapters get old or stale and we come to understand that we need a re-write. That’s when transitions occur.

During times of transition, we often feel out of sorts and tentative about our place in the world; we are internally focused on issues like renewing self-esteem or re-evaluating core values. Ultimately, periods of transition lead us to discover new possibilities and re-emerge ready to take on the world. Both parts of the cycle are natural and necessary.

I was introduced to the Renewal Cycle in mid-2005 just as I was starting my “year off” after 20 plus years of working in the banking industry. I had clearly been “stuck in the doldrums” for some time and was entering a period of introspection, or “cocooning.” (See my very first post from a year ago!) I ultimately resurfaced, ready to “go for it.” I joined a start up asset manager to explore my entrepreneurial spirit and plugged into Snoety and other forums to share my passion and support for women in transition.

Now, it’s Fall 2008 and I recognize that I am going through another cycle. Work is tough in this economic environment and my sons have just left the nest. Change has been thrust upon me, and I don’t like it… I have been cocooning again, consciously and unconsciously churning on what is next for me.

Then … it hit me that my blah, taciturn feeling are — once again — signs of “cocooning,” and I actually felt better.

The Renewal Cycle has proved predictable for me as a road map for change, so I am confident that the blahs of the ‘doldrums” and the taciturn feelings of cocooning” will give way to sparks of new energy, revitalized ideas, glimpses of opportunity.

I will “get ready” to venture into the world with a new, next plan and then I will “go for it” all over again…

One thing is for sure, life is not linear. No better days than these to remind us that change can happen at any time, ready or not. We might as well embrace it, be prepared for it, try to navigate through it to higher ground.

Maybe the Renewal Cycle can help. A framework which offers understanding about how transitions happen to adults like us is reassuring. A roadmap which can orient us to where we each are in the change cycle can help us identify what we want to do next to feel renewed.

Is this cycle something you recognize in your own life.?

*The Renewal Cycle is written about in the book “LifeLaunch: A Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life” by Frederic M. Hudson and Pamela D. McLean. You may want to check it out, as it consistently gets 5 stars from reviewers on Amazon.

NOTE: Frederic M. Hudson is a Ph.D. and President of the Hudson Institute in Santa Barbara and Founding President of the Fielding Institute. Pamela D. McLean is a Ph.D. and clinical psychologist.

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