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Going Through a Phase

thermometer water experiment

A high school chemistry experiment has been with me the rest of my life: 


  1. Fill a glass beaker with ice.

  2. Put it on a tripod with a bunsen burner underneath.

  3. Stick a thermometer in and measure temperature over time.


What would YOU expect to happen? 

I'd expect the temperature to rise steadily. But it doesn't! Instead it looks like the graph below:


graphic phases of water

What's going on?

The bunsen burner heats the ice until the temperature reaches 0 degrees C. where it stays until the ice fully melts. The heat from the bunsen burner is transforming energy into state change: from solid (Ice) to liquid (water). While there's no temperature change on the outside, there's transformative molecular change happening on the inside.


Once the ice is fully melted, the temperature starts rising again until the next state change: from liquid (water) to vapor (steam).


What's the point?

During any major of change in life, you may be investing lots of energy but feel like there's no measurable external progress being made. Keep going! You have to push through the phase of transformation to get to the other side of state change. It can feel disorienting during state change but all will become clear once you reach that next level.


Want to know more?

This 2-minute video explains the phenomenon in a little more detail.


What's your story of state change? Feel free to share or comment at the bottom of this page.

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As an executive coach, I work with leaders to transform their influence and impact on their organizations and the world. You can reach me at ted@tedwhetstone.com

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