The Missing Link of Change: Suspension

My last post “The Sixth Sense” discussed the stages of grief as a model for understanding our emotional responses to organizational change.

But I have always felt we were missing a foundational element in our understanding of the grieving cycle.

This gap was recently brought up by a group of scientists in one of my workshops.

They recognized the grieving curve in their organization, and they could also see that NOT everyone was on the same page at the same time and there was a missing link that was not being addressed.

This gap brings us to the missing element of change and grieving: SUSPENSION.

In suspension, we take all of our beliefs, all of our “have to’s,” all of our assumptions – and we let them go.

SERIOUSLY let them GO.

When we let go, we make space for something new.

We make space for acceptance.

We give room for others to be human.

We all experience grieve in our own way.

In organizations experiencing change, we go through the curve of grief as a group, and people get stuck in different stages at different times.

The element of suspension allows us to open ourselves and others to new learning, new possibilities, new realities but on our own timetable.

When it comes to people we must be patient.

When it comes to leadership we must engage all.

When it comes to life we must embrace the journey.

We must sometimes let go of our beliefs and assumptions to make  room for others.

To successfully lead in times of change, we have to embrace suspending:

  • Suspend judgment.
  • Suspend “should.”
  • Suspend preconceived notions.

One of the most uncomfortable aspects of change is the sense of losing control. As those around you process change, look at what they do as they try to gain control, and listen to what they are beginning to accept and understand.

Demonstrating the element of suspension gives us the room to re-establish and re-engage, and shows those around us- to do the same.

To be successful in change know that everyone has their own pace,  and as we go through the phase of change we will always be learning, understanding, and suspending.

Lead From Within:  Letting go of what should be, we allow ourselves the time and space for us to live in what can be. As you go through change in life and in work, be patient with the curve of emotions. Suspend judgment and make room for emotional development.




N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Alli Polin

    12. Feb, 2013

    So important: Suspension. That space where we let go before we can embrace that which is new. You’re right, not everyone will get there at the same moment but with trust, support and patience, the letting go can be both freeing and powerful for each individual and for the organization. Great post, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  2. mysta lovedoc

    12. Feb, 2013

    if people want to change something in themselves that badly when it half the time it requires change in someone or something else they will strive to do just that. Half the time not knowing they’re forcing change elsewhere. The formula to change anything starts with the change process in yourself, then flips on to others to force change elsewhere automatically. This is not always smiled upon, but this is how it works. Beware of what you are changing. Others beware of what’s changing around you! Don’t make it easy for others to just take advantage and control you cause most of the time people want change for themselves only and don’t care how they affect others. Even when the effect is completely negative!!!

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  3. mysta lovedoc

    12. Feb, 2013

    The very first change we all need to make is the fact that there is people like that out there. It’s a complicated change that requires many smaller changes around but this should be the firs priority change as a people.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Samantha

    12. Feb, 2013

    Another great post Lolly.

    You wrote: One of the most uncomfortable aspects of change is the sense of losing control.

    YES! Time and time again I have found that to be true in my life and those I know. I have found that when change is necessary but has not been forced upon us, we tend to cling to familiar supports to maintain illusions of control.

    In contrast, when change is forced upon us (i.e. when my husband died), those familiar supports are stripped away all at once. I found myself in this free fall that I couldn’t escape from. And that loss of control was a temporarily terrifying feeling. It really does take TiME to come to grips with a loss of or changes in ‘identity’, to bring closure to what has passed, to integrate our experiences, and make room for something entirely new.

    The idea of suspension is a great word to describe this very necessary ‘gap’ you describe.

    I’d also add surrender. And naturally, that too, comes at different times for every one. I’m smiling right now as I type this as I can recall many occasions where I went down metaphorically kicking and screaming as i tried to cling to the illusion of ‘control’ (still happens at times), before I could relax into surrendering.

    Sometimes we just don’t go down easy! haha

    Thanks again for another great post Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      12. Feb, 2013

      Dear Samantha,

      Each time we intersect I learn more and more about you!

      You are so right Suspension is a form of surrender. It is in those moments that grip and tear us apart… Those are the moments we have to let go of control and allow ourselves to surrender- to suspend judgement, shoulds and control!

      You are a beauty inside and out.

      See you tonight on #leadfromwithin

      Reply to this comment
  5. Valencia Ray MD

    12. Feb, 2013

    Enjoyed this article, Lolly. I’m practicing, ‘What’s in the way, IS the way’, life is full of paradox. We need courage to go through (instead of trying to avoid) learning and growth disguised as ‘obstacles’ to build mind and heart ‘muscle’ . When we let go, we gain. When we cling, we lose. I’m learning to continue to relax into Life. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      12. Feb, 2013


      Beautiful wisdom you write: We need courage to go through (instead of trying to avoid) learning and growth disguised as ‘obstacles’ to build mind and heart ‘muscle’ . When we let go, we gain. When we cling, we lose.

      Stunning thoughts!

      Reply to this comment
  6. John

    12. Feb, 2013

    Good food for thought. A recent article by Judith Kleinfeld suggested the state of mind prior to loss has direct impact on recovery. Now add in “suspension,” and the confidence? to let go….

    To be around others who are willing to be transparent in the personal process of suspension seems to be integral here…maybe

    Reply to this comment
  7. Ben

    12. Feb, 2013

    I believe there are many changes on the horizon and to get through them will be a task for the brave and strong. Many adjustments will have to be made in the heart and the mind.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Amber-Lee Dibble

    12. Feb, 2013

    Thank you for this post.. it was a vague understanding of the ideas behind it… but had nothing else to work with it, in context.

    One of those posts, that make you say to yourself “Ahh… THAT’s it!” And such an important understanding to have.. in life and as a leader.

    I must agree with Samantha above, about your statement of loosing control… (which, is why I have no hair! LOL) It is a crazy life filled with busy-ness and ups, downs, deadlines, family… And we need to KNOW it (not my own vague understanding that there is an unbalance somewhere) has a name: Suspension.

    The points and tips you gave us, will help so much.. understanding always does. Thank you, Lolly

    Reply to this comment
  9. Jesse Stoner

    12. Feb, 2013

    Excellent contribution to understanding of organizational change, Lolly! I am reminded of a tweet you put out recently, “Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find yourself.” The moment of suspension often goes by unnoticed, but it is a deep well of strength and presence that we can draw from when we pay attention.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      12. Feb, 2013

      Dearest Jesse,

      We need to let go of control to surrender into our feelings, emotions, resistance.

      Suspension truly allows us to be human!

      As you so eloquently said, suspension …. is a deep well of strength and presence that we can draw from when we pay attention.

      Great contribution Thanks Jesse!

      Reply to this comment
  10. Lucille Fisher

    12. Feb, 2013


    Wonderful blog post. Yes, suspension of judgement, “shoulds”, and preconceived notions is an important, missing step. If we can do this, change would be so much easier. I also have to send kudos to all who commented – very rich thoughts. Thanks.

    Reply to this comment
  11. john paul

    12. Feb, 2013

    Hi Lolly,

    This is a lovely and important article, thanks!

    When i go to a movie or the theatre, i let go of my “reality” systems of belief and allow myself the opportunity to learn, grow and experience a new perspective. If i was constantly reminding myself that i am in the theatre there would likely be nothing left for me to enjoy.

    Thanks again! See you tonight on your leadfromwithin tweetchat!

    Sometimes holding onto our preconceived belief systems stops us from suspending them in order to gain new perspectives. It can stop us from enjoying the show.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Karin Hurt

    12. Feb, 2013

    Suspend our feelings that “they” cannot handle the true information they need to adjust to the change

    Reply to this comment
  13. MR.Renaissance

    13. Feb, 2013

    Dear Lolly,
    Your post almost brought me to tears.
    I did cry within…
    As I witness my own renaissance, I am simply grateful to engage with so many remarkable people.
    You are one of them.
    Thanks for being there.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Agus Safudi

    14. Feb, 2013

    Agree Lolly. Cause in the difficult situation now. If we can be honest. Actually, Related by TIME not always what You see is what you get. Why because any SUSPENSION…:)

    Water need time to flowing it self.

    So be patience… and always gratitude.

    Thanks for sharing Lolly.



    Reply to this comment
  15. Jo Miller

    19. Feb, 2013

    I often feel like I have this story to tell but it is on the tip of my tongue – and you, Lolly, and or one of the Lead From Within family members, tells the story for me, perfectly. Suspension – wow, this hit home. Last year I ‘let go’ and I made space for what was next. I have a little saying posted up in my office, “Sometimes the only available transportation is a leap of faith” and I took it to heart. I didn’t have a clear concept of what I was doing, just that I needed to do it. As soon as I let go, accepted that change was needed and stopped resisting, energy began to flow. I accepted that what seemed like negative situations and difficult people were really the hand of God guiding me and giving me direction towards my best self and toward the space where I was most needed. It has been an amazing journey beyond my expectations and hopes. Suspension, beautiful, ~ a breath, space, an opening. Lolly, thank you for putting into words what I have felt during this spiritual journey.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      25. Feb, 2013


      Your comment truly tucked at my heart. Sometimes as leaders we speak from the heart and we dont know if anyone is listening.

      Your comment truly hit home.

      I also really appreciate the vulnerability and transparency of story of LETTING GO…its true we need space…an opening for a something stunning to happen.

      Thanks for sharing…

      Reply to this comment

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