Sunday, August 9, 2009

From the Doldrums to Cocooning - the Cycle Continues

Last time, I talked about two quadrants of the Cycle of Renewal - so it is time to move to the next possible phase, Cocooning.

There are two paths from the Doldrums - where people feel out of sync. For some, they move through this time of loss and are able to gleen enough insights that they can re-design, update their personal strategy; figure out another way forward, recapture the passion and purpose and move back to Go For It - this is described as a Mini-Transition. The person reflects, changes and recharges.

However, in some situations, people continue the inner work begun in the Doldrums and dig deeper into the Cocooning phase. This phase is characterized by self-reflection, re-evaluation - of everything, low energy, a search for meaning, perhaps loneliness, grieving and ultimately healing.

It could be described as a serious case of internal Spring Cleaning. After personal reflection, the person can decide: what to hold on to; what to let go of; what to move toward and how to move forward - applying this new, deeper learning to a new direction.

Cocooning can be a powerful time with a grand pay off: determining or refreshing passion and purpose. And, with that good work, move into the Getting Ready phase. More on that next time...

Job transitions always include at least a trip through the Doldrums. And, for some a time of Cocooning is essential before emerging into the world of possibilities and regaining the excitement of what is next.

For those who are supporting friends or family members who have lost their jobs and are now out there searching for what's can probably recognize these phases.

There isn't a formula for job transitions. There isn't a timeline. And it is not always a straight path.

A freind whose job was eliminated said:
"This job transition wouldn't be so difficult if I just knew what date I'd have a new job. Then I could relax and enjoy the time with my family."

Hmm, that isn't how change works, is it?

What have you seen?
If you have personally experienced , or if you have helped others who are experiencing or have experienced the Doldrums or Cocooning let us know:

What was it like? What helped, hindered?

Source of the Cycle of Renewal:
The Cycle of Renewal© model that is central to the teaching of the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara. For more information, see their website:


  1. Okay, so my vegging with video games can be explained away as just a "deep case of cocooning", right?:).

    Serious question . . . does the cocooning phase exist completely apart from some types of "moving on" activities or can we expereince a combination of cocooning and moving forward?

    Interesting stuff, Lynn


  2. Great question! Cocooning is reflection time and sorting things out. While it does help a person move on, it is really a being space and not a doing space. When folks are both reflecting and changing, it is more likely to be a mini-transition that moves from Doldrums back over to Go For It!
    If the change is dramatic, our systems will often call us back to cocooning for more reflection, self-assessment, thinking time. Our heads may say, "Get on with it!" And, our hearts may say, "Take some time - to heal, to consider, to reconstruct".
    Does that help?