Balance – The Key To Life Transitions

I just finished watching a video featuring Nancy K. Schlossberg, who is one of the pioneers of life transition research. Schlossberg, far from a dry academic, tells us what she sees as the key in managing transitions successfully:

“All through life we are balancing things. We balance work and family. Health and sickness. There is always something pulling us this direction or that direction and I think that the key to transitions is to think that is not one factor alone that makes the difference. There are a lot of self-help books with one factor, … but it is really the balance of your resources in relation to your benefits at any given point in time. And that will explain to you why sometimes you handle something very well, and other times you are overwhelmed.”

Nancy K. Schlossberg – Transitions Through Life (Video 21:50)

To identify and balance the resources that can aid us, Schlossberg and her colleagues suggest that we investigate the four S’s: situation, self, support, and strategies. 

Researching how to identify these resources, I found Schlossberg and Nancy Kay’s affordable transition guide. Further, I found a paper by Lesly Meyer that suggests that these resources can be identified through interviews. This made me think that one could use the four Ss as prompts to identify resources that can support us in our transitions. Here a couple of prompts and a worksheet I’ve created based on the book by Anderson, Goodman, and Schlossberg.

  • What major changes have happened in your life during the past year?
  • What situations supported you in going through these transitions?
  • What traits (think talents, skills, mindsets), helped you manage your transition?
  • Which external support helped you?
  • What strategies did you learn or use to navigate your transition?

If you want to know more about Nancy Schlossberg and her work, check out this video covering her background and the 4Ss Framework. Her books “Counselling Adults in Transition,” which she co-authored with Mary L. Anderson, and Jane Goodman, is certainly worth a read to, in case you are interested in helping adults in transition. 

Transition Resources Worksheet

Transition Resources Worksheet (PDF)

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