As a matter of fact my struggles are what brought me into the world of self-development. I was so stressed and burnt out by my early twenties that I turned my experiences into a joke and would say “well, at least my life is never boring.”
Yep, a "wrong lane" excuse. I was leading an undeveloped life and I had no clue there was another option. I lived in fear and therefore everything was always coming at me in one form or another. Not enough money to make ends meet, feeling anxious all day and major weight gain from stress eating.
In the Enneagram, Riso-Hudson tradition, they introduced Levels of Development. These levels are brilliant at measuring personal growth. They teach that the more disintegrated (think undeveloped) one is, the more predictable a person’s behavior and reactivity levels are.
Once we develop out of our patterned ways of beings, like defense mechanisms for example, we can live a whole-hearted life by responding to life in resourced ways and our ego has less of a hold on us. The result, our potential is accessible and the Essence of True Self can then emerge.
After plopping myself into coaching and doing the inner-work, my outer world began to reflect what was happening within. Being resourced, ready and revived about life I began to dispel the fear, the stress eating and financial stressors. A whole new world was available to me, yet was ironically here all along.
Once we choose to step into our human potential and develop our responsiveness, inner resourcefulness and abilities, then life becomes more like a flowing river to raft down with rocks to navigate, versus attempting to swim in a rapid upstream and getting all banged up.
There is a huge cost to not developing. The cost is our inner-peace. The cost is our ability for responsiveness. The cost is struggle, strife and stress. All of which can impede on our health, wealth and wisdom; body, mind and spirit.
It would seem then that anyone undeveloped could not succeed in life then. Quite the contrary. Defense mechanisms can get anyone quite far up the corporate latter for example. One way this shows up in corporate is known as the “bully boss”. The overall cost though, is true personal fulfillment for the boss and happiness for the employee. Yes, success is still possible, but will include a cost.
The distinction here is that:
There are big costs to success achieved
while operating through defenses.
There are also some costs to developing. We have to be willing to face our ego, to self-reflect and to be willing to try new ways of being. This can feel very uncomfortable, at least in the beginning. Yet, it leads to our ability to hold long-term success with ease, whole-hearted joy and personal fulfillment.
I call the beginning stages of self-development work the weed pulling stage. In the beginning it feels like hard work to self-examine and with honesty. The good news is that the cost here is mostly only a few blows to the ego. Our True Self is thanking us!
Our potential is reached after the weeds have been pulled, we’ve cleared the grounds to plant the seeds we desire to have in our lives and the fruits of our own labor are truly the most beautiful.
In essence, the “costs” of self-development only feel like costs in the beginning, the weed pulling stage. Once the weeds are pulled and the freedom of living weed free is experienced, the freedom we experience takes on a momentum of its own and the possibilities become miraculous.
"Miracles are natural.
When they do not occur
Something has gone wrong.”
A Course In Miracles, 1:1:9
In coaching we have a partner to help us unfold, to help us develop latent strengths and unearth the essence of our True Self. When our True Self is finally running the show, this is a game changer without a cost attached.
Today we are living in times where people age chronologically, yet don’t always work towards reaching their potential emotionally, relationally, socially or spiritually. When I was growing up I noticed we have a lot of olders, but very very few elders to guide us.
Currently, there are many avenues for self-development.
In many wisdom, religious and spiritual traditions there are pathways for someone to face themselves, look at their life and choose to mature into their best self.
Outside of these wisdom traditions, we have family and friendship life. Some families and/or friends set goals together, hold each other accountable and grow together.
Other avenues are sports and even hobbies. Having someone mentor us through our growth to reach a greater goal in a sport or a hobby helps us refine our potential.
We also have books from experts sharing their research, ideas and experiences. Authors sharing their wisdom can help us understand life in new ways and reach new landmarks.
In a perfect world, we would all grow up with all of these avenues for development surrounding us like a rich garden of fruits to choose from. Yet, many of us grow up without any of these… unless we seek them out.
Let’s look at another side now.
Have you ever worked with a boss that was emotionally respectful, inspiring and supportive? Have you ever seen a company that looked at any area they would impact and choose to do good with their services in all areas, not just one? Have you ever experienced a friend that was great when things were great and even stronger in the face of adversity?
I’m willing to bet these experiences are rarer. They are all examples of people who have invested in self-development.
When we self-develop we:
When we are not self-developed we default to:
You can see the benefits are night and day.
So why don’t more of us self-develop?
I’m not going to pretend to know the answer to this question, because I believe the answer is different for everyone. What I can say is that “to develop, or not to develop” is but a choice.
When we step into coaching we are choosing to self-develop and actualize our potential. Truly powerful self-development happens in relationship, where someone can mirror us, challenge us, “get” us and help us see farther than we could on our own.
In integrative coaching we take coaching even further. We invite the client into self-awareness. With self-awareness we can catch and eliminate self-deception. This is the birthplace of new wisdom. The lens of integrative intelligence then takes any new wisdom and/or self-understanding and bridges it into all areas of life, leading to true fulfillment. New wisdom then increases capacity to hold and sustain long-term successes. Integrative coaching truly yields heart warming, mind empowering and spirit lifting rewards.
Join us next week for Part Two – The “Costs” of Development
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As a result, I grew up very depressed and became rebellious against social norms. In middle school I was that quiet-angry-punk-rock-goth-girl who only wore black, kept my head down and only listened to The Cure. That was me trying to be different, but ironically, only as different as all the other “punk rock new wavers”.
I just really scratched my head at what I thought was a "horrible" world I had been born into. Think about it, from racism to melting ice-caps to sex-trafficking at Walmart, the world humans created is complicated.
Even if we choose to not talk about it, we all feel the impact of these things in hearts each time the next news flash goes by.
My chronic linear focus on what was "wrong", drew me to an equally linear conclusion.
I concluded that we must have
reached our potential as a human race and
we were now headed downhill.
What I discovered is that my conclusion was sorely short-sited.
I discovered that we are only a fraction towards reaching our human potential. Furthermore, things were so “off” because we haven’t even experienced true success on a larger scale yet.
Most people, and most company teams, operated through linear thinking. This linear thinking was delivering equally linear results. The problem with linear results is they don't yield truly successful outcomes. Let me share an example.
If I say to you, “Hey, guess what!? I achieved my goal and created this stellar million dollar company!” Most people would be like, “Wow, congrats, that is amazing! Good work!” followed by a high-five. And if my goal is linear, like going from zero to a million, and I hit that marker, then I can consider myself a true success, right?! I can even call my company “stellar” because it met my limited criteria.
Ok, let’s look at the broader truth. What if I came to you and said, “Hey guess what?! I created this stellar million dollar company! Our products pollute the ocean and our employees are all unhappy and overworked, but that’s ok because we moved our base across seas and employ children as young as eight years, on the cheap, to keep our costs down.”
To you I ask, have I reached true success?
Is anything a true success if it also initiates negative impact?
I say no. True success doesn't include failure.
Wouldn't true success encompass successful outcomes in all areas an endeavor reaches? For example, "Hey guess what?! I created this amazing million dollar company! Our products are 100% biodegradable, our product line is run on 100% solar, our employee base is like a large supportive family and our turnover is lower than any other company in our sales bracket for over a decade. We have so much left over after all the high end profit sharing that we donate all the excess to support families struck by poverty."
Again, most companies want to be successful in all areas, they just started out with linear goals and gotten themselves limited solutions. Time to pivot.
Understand this. Even the way success is defined in the dictionary points directly to this unintended limitation we've placed on human potential.
1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
2. a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.
Can you see the singular focus? Interesting isn't it.
If true success doesn't include failure then the dictionary might read:
1. the successful outcomes created as a result of an accomplishment or purpose.
2. surpassing desired aims and attaining prosperity, for self and others, as a result.
Can you see the movement from the linear into the expanded? It is a huge difference in implication.
Linear thinking creates limitation, intended or not. Linear solutions are prone to unintended consequences because they are, by their very nature, short-sighted solutions.
I have good news though! The problems we face nowadays are not due to a lack of intelligence. We are highly intelligent, but we are not yet integratively intelligent.
I am willing to bet not one company team started out saying, "I want to cause damage to the environment and take more for myself than I want to provide for my staff."
Yet, they may have started out saying, "Let's create a million dollar company!" and then got lost in the excitement, cut corners, and sold out their values for venues.
Not one person would say, “Yes, I want to swim in a disgusting polluted dying ocean!! Wooho!” Not one. Yet, that is very sadly what is happening.
So, we've failed to see through the lens true success. That is ok. We can start now.
So, we've forgot to choose the outcome that made the millions and left positive impacts in multiple areas. That is ok. We can expand our vision and engage our full potential.
So, we've settled for the money goal and ignore, justify, or numb out, the guilt each night. That is ok. We can align with our values whenever we choose and touch people's lives in positive ways as we do so.
Envision a global company that solved more problems than it created economically, socially, politically, relationally, environmentally and fiscally. You can’t tell me we are not intelligent enough to pull this off. Yet, if we don't include aspects of the whole, we can and will miss the true mark of human potential.
So do we have yet to tap into our human potential? Heck yes we do! And I'm excited to be a part of the movement towards integrative thinking and true human potential.
This is the good news!
Integrative coaches are one way humanity is helping humanity shift into more positive and impactful solutions in all areas, not just one or two.
Integrative means to include all aspects. This lens of intelligence helps people see farther, dig deeper, include their core values into their work/life, remove obstacles and minimize limitation. As we do so, people start to truly thrive.
What I challenge our politicians, leaders and companies to say is... "Challenge accepted! Yes, let's create the solutions that only have positive impact in all areas we reach!"
It has been said we are living in pivotal times. So let's pivot!
Are you with me?
The key word here is “access”. Possibilities are all around us at all times. We do not create possibilities. They are already there. We create access to the possibilities when we respond in ways that grant access. In essence as coaches we help a client clear the blockages to their potentials, and this process naturally grants them access to the possibilities surrounding them.
For example: If I’m stuck in a self-deception cycle of “I’m limited” and as a result I am reactive with my co-workers, I’m less likely to get that promotion I wanted because my capacity for being fluent with my team was so low. The possibility is there, but I'm blocked from accessing it.
In essence, our potential correlates to our ability to increase our capacity, opening the door to opportunities and granting access to more and more possibilities. Life gets exciting at this point because we then get to choose which ones we want to step into.
Also, there is an irony in the definition of potential. When we define it, we limit it.
What I mean by this is that by defining potential, we then put a box around and can unintentionally limit it. Yet, ironically we need to define it to head in the direction of it. Head scratching!
In masterfully approaching our potential then it is best to not attach to our goals for our potential as if they were the end all. Then, when we reach the goals of our potential, to redefine them in new ways, or not at all.
The other key is to unfold in the direction of our potential and not away from it. This is where teachers and coaching comes in. They ensure we are unfolding in the correct direction. This sounds like a no brainer, however, it is a common error to completely “go it alone”. (I say completely, because part of our work is on, and of, our own.)
This is especially important when we
go through the phase of growth
where self-deception is harder to detect.
Anytime we enter completely new territory we are more susceptible to self-deception because it is harder to detect.
The tricky thing about self-deception is that we often can’t see we are being clouded by it. This is where a teacher or coach steps in to help counter illusions we face during the growth process.
Coaching is a very key short-cut to our potential.
We can't fix what we don't see.
By Laurel Elders, PCC
IICT Founder / Senior Faculty