While many people might describe the state of things in today’s world as challenging, unpredictable, volatile, or unsettling, these times can also be transformational. It all depends on us. Where do we choose to place our energy and focus? What new approaches, practices, and paradigms will we create? How will we shift the mass consciousness to a new level of awareness? Bottom line: How can we show up to life, leadership, and coaching in ways that inspire transformation?
The first steps in answering these questions, at the most fundamental levels, are actually much simpler than we may think. As coaches, we know that often the most powerful questions are the simple ones—simple questions that cut through to the essence of things quickly. Simple does not always mean shallow, nor does deep and profound have to mean complicated and complex.
Deep simplicity is a key to transformational leadership and coaching. In today’s world, we can no longer afford complex models and structures that many people will never take the time to understand. We must provide simple, straightforward, practical, and duplicatable tools and models for transformation that people can put into practice immediately and see a shift in their perception and resulting action right away.
I offer you a simple model that can bring an immediate shift in awareness to us and to those we serve:
One standing rule of improvisation is that “you can’t say no.” Whatever your improv partner does, you have to work with it. If you refuse, the whole performance can fall apart very quickly.
You can look at life from the same perspective: Whatever life hands us, it is up to us to make something of it. Everything that comes to us, whether it is a feeling, a comment, a circumstance, a challenge, or an outcome—regardless of whether we thought we wanted it—is an opportunity for co-creation. Coming from this perspective then, our first questions in any situation or circumstance might be, “What is the opportunity here? How can I accept this opportunity and work/play/create with it rather than resist it?”
We can turn that simple concept into a very practical and powerful coaching application. Take a moment to focus on a challenge or situation in your life. Then consider how you are “being” with that situation:
- What are you choosing as your relationship to it?
- Are you pushing against it, and through that action or approach perhaps even feeding it energy to the issue or challenge?
- Or are you dancing and flowing with it by asking the issue or situation what message it has for you, perhaps just by asking, “What wants to happen here?”
Let’s take the exploration further. As you focus on your issue or situation, actually push against it in your imagination for a moment. Try to stop it or force it to go somewhere else or to be something else. Do your best to control it. Stay with this approach for a few minutes so that you can really notice the many nuances in how it feels.
Then, after a few minutes, shift your approach and explore how you might flow with this situation or issue rather than push against it. If there is something new actually trying to unfold here, what might that be? What is this situation trying to show you? If this situation became your improv partner, what could you actually co-create? What could happen if you chose to create a new dance with this issue?
In asking these questions, we become empowered by everything that happens rather than being a victim of it. We take whatever comes and work with it. It’s not about liking or disliking it, or labeling something as good or bad, right or wrong. It’s about being completely neutral to whatever comes, accepting it as a starting point from which to create, transform, and discover. When you embrace rather than push away, you transform the energy of the situation. From there, you can usually find a way to move forward. However, if you refuse or form quick judgments on what comes, you are likely to miss the opportunities.
Chances are this is not a new concept to you. However, this way of being and thinking is not where the mass consciousness lives. For most of us, the mass consciousness is the air we breathe—we are surrounded and influenced by mass consciousness thinking every day, as are our clients.
Global transformation begins within each one of us, shifting who we are, how we think, and how we show up to life and leadership every day. “Pushing against vs. flowing with” is the kind of simple shift in perception that can transform our lives and transform our world. From those simple perceptual shifts, we start making different choices and taking different actions based on who we are and the relationships we want to have with the world around us.
I don’t mean to imply that the answers to all of our challenges are simple. Far from it! Today’s world is complicated and complex, and we get overwhelmed with not knowing where to go or what to do. But if we start to shift how we think and how we engage with the world around us, it might help us view things more clearly.