Values are really important for the work I do as a coach. They help me to help you identify what matters to you, where and why you might be experiencing conflict and anxiety in your life and what an effective strategy might be to overcome these challenges. And since values are so important to me, I thought it might be worth exploring the values that I work from here at Powered by Love – Honesty, Connection and Transformation.
I started out a few weeks back talking about why honesty matters and the layers of honesty that exist. Then I went on to talk about how honesty is at the root of connection because vulnerability is a central requirement for connection.
So that just leaves transformation.
In our world of media hype and multi-level marketing – of promises and pitches and promotions – I’m pretty cautious about the idea of touting anything.
What would be the point of doing all of this work of honesty if it didn’t change anything?
What would be the point of doing all of this work of connection if we still felt just as lonely and isolated and afraid as when we first started?
Personally, I can’t see myself signing up for that kind of system.
You see, I like the idea of making a difference.
I like the idea that it will matter whether or not I show up.
I like the idea that at the end of the day my presence or my participation or my engagement or my choices or my vulnerability will have the capacity to leave the people around me less afraid and more powered by love.
Because I’d be lying if I said that I thought the world was okay the way it is.
And I think that for us to get passed our cynicism to the point where we’re willing to take the risks needed we are going to need to know that change is possible – that it takes intentionality – but that it’s worth it for us and for those around us, because transformation is contagious.
So, first things first – is change really possible? The simple answer is yes – and no.
Life change is only possible when we decide that the status quo no longer works.
It’s only possible when we have tried our current approach from every angle and still find it wanting.
It’s only possible when we catch a glimpse or a fragment or a dream of something better and begin to hope for more.
Change doesn’t happen out of fear. Rather, it is fuelled by hope – one of love’s great sisters – and given a push by healthy longing and desire.
I think some of us struggle to accurately assess that our current program isn’t taking us where we want to go.
Some of us have been told so many times over that we just have to try harder to make it work, so get stuck trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Some of us get stuck because we fail to catch hold of the scent of something better. We get bogged down by the permanence of failure, deflating us before we can even get change off the ground.
And finally, some of us attempt change out of fear. We are so afraid of the current way of doing things that we rush headlong into change – regardless of the direction – because of the mistaken belief that anything will be better than what we currently have. Because our fear often makes us rash (if it doesn’t first make us freeze), our analysis tends to be limited, and our directional choices and toolkits inaccurate, damaging or dangerous.
So if we want to achieve change, the first job for us has to be to get honest with ourselves – to accurately evaluate what’s working and what isn’t working. To remember the goals and hopes and dreams we once had for ourselves and check in with ourselves and ask, “how’s this working out for me?”
We may then need to check and see whether we’ve given it a good shot. Oftentimes, the best way to do this is through connection – by getting a second pair of eyes to look at the issues at hand and help us evaluate whether we’ve truly given it our all.
But I think that connection has an even bigger part to play for us in transformation – because I think that we only start to catch the whiff of hope as we listen to the stories of other people on their own journeys of transformation.
I know for me, one of the catalysts for change was a conversation that happened at a restaurant with some friends one day, celebrating someone’s birthday. My friend Erin was telling us about this book she had read – “The Gifts of Imperfection” – and how helpful she was finding it. As she described her own experiences with perfectionism I recognized some of the challenges I was facing in her story, so when she started to talk about what was changing in her life, it made transformation seem possible.
Most change is hard work.
Maybe you can add a little bit of hope for yourself and substitute a piece of fruit for your after lunch chocolate bar on your own – at least for a while – but for real change to take place, the hope is going to have to be big.
So I find it’s not enough to have one or two catalytic moments of hope – we need to find regular inputs – voices of connection and belief that can call us forward through the long, slow slog of transformation. Voices that we can follow out into the wilderness, knowing that we’re not alone – that there is someone there by our side the whole way through.
Now we know that change is possible – tomorrow we’ll start to look at the how!