In this article, Kate Griffiths explores the role that conversations play in the desire to bring a new way of being, working and connecting into common reality. She also explains why it feels as if the shifts are not happening fast enough for some and what you can do about that if that is the perspective you are coming from. And the vital key in all of this is who you are being as that is what affects the pace of change the most.
This week I have been involved in a G+ conversation in which two people spent many hours unpacking the nuances within two words – empathy and sympathy. A conversation sparked by David Amerland’s recent Sunday Read. Part of me was in awe with their diligence and ability to keep on deepening the enquiry. What struck me most was what would happen to the quality of our conversations if we all took that much trouble over each word we used? Something worth pondering for a moment perhaps…..
Ultimately conversations are all that you have. If you live by the maxim that every conversation matters, then the tenor of dialogue will change whether it is in a family or work setting. It means that each of us has the power to influence just by who we are being not by our role in a given structure. It has more to do with the type of network that we have and the strength of ties within it: the level of trust that exists. It also means that the possibility of leaderless organisations becomes a reality rather than a theory. As the old power structures start to lose validity, this then makes way for collaboration to take centre stage. This is exciting because it is a key component of the new way of doing business and fundamental to finding a way out of the old “growth is good” model.
If you are a pragmatist, you might be thinking well that all sounds plausible and so why aren’t I seeing it in my reality at the moment? There is a great yearning for the emerging story to become mainstream and for mass adoption of it to happen. That all takes time and as the adage goes it is all about the journey rather than the destination. That said why is it not as prevalent as it might be in society? There are many reasons and yet first and foremost when we take a deeper look into systems theory, the first phase of any transition is chaos. Looking from the outside, everything looks a mess and yet in every system with time, you come to a point of dynamic stability. Then there appears to be order and yet there is still a sense that everything could move and change in an instance.
At a deeper level, it all has to do with trust. You have to keep the faith that you are not a cog in the machine that you are a significant player in your system even though you cannot see the ramifications of your actions. On a practical point for an entrepreneur that may mean saying no to work opportunities that whilst bringing the money in take you away from your passion and your purpose. As Charles Eisenstein has said each and every one of us has a gift to offer the world and it is our duty to discover that and live out our purpose.
It can also be very lonely when you are carving out your own path. As human beings we love to connect with others and that is positive. Notice what happens though if this desire is taken to its extreme. It stops being healthy and becomes more about the need to belong. If that happens to you, it is very likely that you will be willing to do quite a lot to fit in, to be part of the group, to be accepted. If you take an honest look at your life, you will probably find times when you did that. The price is that you stop hearing that deeper yearning within which is all about your calling and being your own person. For me a helpful metaphor is to see yourself as a flower whose essence will attract people in be they friends or clients.
Another reason why all this can seem so hard and insurmountable is the pace in which you operate; the busy nature of your life. How much time do you give yourself for reflection? There is so much information available via the internet and you are bombarded by it all the time. This may be because you are afraid of missing out or because you have the seeker pattern in which you always look for answers in your external reality from books and others. At some level though it probably has something to do with a lack of belief in yourself, that you are not enough. The truth is that you have all the knowledge you need just so long as you connect with your own inner teacher. Breaking that pattern takes courage and practice.
There is one more level of resistance that gets in the way of the new story taking centre stand that is worth exploring in all this and that is the desire for safety. Consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The first level is physical and is about having your basic needs met such as a roof over your head and food on the table whereas self-actualisation where you bring your whole self into all that you do is at the top of the pyramid. So what does safety look like? Many equate safety with money. I have seen my own clients start to get stressed when they cannot see how they will continue to provide for themselves and/ or their families if they totally embrace the new. If you get too low down the spiral then withdrawal from the stuff you love comes next as you shut down as a way to control and cope with the situation. As a minimum this view can lead to conflict and potentially paralysis or lethargy, as one response to that lack of safety is to do work that does not spark the passion in order to pay the bills. Therein lies the conundrum; you are still operating within the framework of the old paradigm. From another angle, there is no amount of money that you can possess that will make you feel safe in the world. Like so much our sense of safety or lack of it comes from within.
Shifts are also subtle. Think about the butterfly that flaps its wings in China. The changes in the air current there then lead to a tornado in the United States: an outcome that cannot be seen when the action is taken. This is also a metaphor for the impact that you can have when you show up and engage in meaningful conversations. It is quite liberating when you start to think about life like that because it shows that YOU do matter and just by being you are making a difference. You are not in this alone either. Be clear about what you want and then start moving towards it. You may end up at C rather than B and your dream may evolve over time. None of that matters it is about taking the first step and then keeping on keeping on. In short the two things you need for self-mastery are persistence and discipline. I would love to hear your thoughts about this below.
Kate Griffiths works with individuals and business owners to create more ease and flow in their lives. Clients include conscious business owners and leaders who recognise that the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and want support in determining what the new ways of doing business look like. She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation. May is her birthday month she is doing a special offer on her time to think days – undivided attention for six hours that includes lunch – so book in before the end of May to receive that.