Our Life Experience
I’ve always been intrigued by our life experience. How we create it, how it comes at us and what we do with it. How decisions have ripple effects and implications beyond what we could know at the time … and how we can uplift our life by developing a better understanding of why it is the way it is.
By better appreciating our life experience in terms of our own decisions, words and actions, surely we have the opportunity to create a better life? To fulfil our own potential to develop our talents, realize our aspirations and create a more meaningful and purposeful life while advancing the greater good of all. After all Aristotle said that to know yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.
Born to Evolve
I’ve concluded that we were born to evolve. To allow life to inform us, in order that we might become a better person, more enlightened in the way life works, and thus realize our personal power to create a better life, not only for ourselves but for all the people who are closely connected to us and those we encounter and affect on the way.
Some years ago after reflecting on my own life experience and coaching many leaders in the corporate world and thus getting a close-up look at how they were thinking and behaving, making decisions and relating to others, I realized that we travel through a series of stages. I named these steps from work to play, grow to flow, calm to care and free to love.
Change the way you look at things
I saw that there was a direct connection between our predominant thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, intentions and behaviours at each stage, and our life experience. As Wayne Dyer said: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
For instance, I had a particularly challenging time with my eldest daughter during her late teens. She was a stalwart member of my single parent family of four, strong and powerful yet angry and confrontational. After a session throwing rolled up paper balls at each other across the living room, I realized I needed to change my approach. I was the mature adult after all. I decided to love her just as she was. The dynamic of our relationship transformed as a result and we’ve gradually become great friends on a deep authentic level.
However to change the way we look at things is simple but not easy. It requires deep self-awareness. We need to become conscious of our attitudes and intentions, thoughts and beliefs, in order to change them. I realized there were emotional patterns that pervaded our self-expression and only with deepening self-awareness of our own reactive themes could we change our approach in substance.
To illuminate the evolutionary pathway to a higher version of who we could become, I connected the seven steps, from work to play, grow to flow, calm to care and free to love, with our human faculties. This reflected eastern philosophy in terms of the chakra energy system we embody on an esoteric level.
At work we are tied to our ego, and then we come out to play with our will. To grow requires the heart to release the past and move into flow with our intuition. To arrive at calm requires a clear, open mind, which leads to divine guidance when we exercise reverent care for ourselves and others. At this stage we can access our free spirit and embrace the soul as oneness with all in love.
In learning more about developmental psychology I realized that these steps correlated with the series of stages or action logics in adult human development. At work, we comply with others, we are a Conformist. At play, we play to our strengths and become a Specialist. At grow, we are an Achiever focused on results. In flow, we become a genuine change Catalyst. At calm, we are able to lead transformational change as a Strategist. At care we don the mantle of the Alchemist with the capacity to lead social evolution. The Ironist feels free to be uniquely themselves and the Holist embodies pure love.
It turns out that over 80% of the general executive population is anchored in the stages up to and including the Achiever. These are known as conventional stages of leadership development. Some 10% are anchored at Catalyst, and just 5% at Strategist and 1% at Alchemist. We need many more executives to step up into these post-conventional stages of leadership capacity in order to generate transformational outcomes that transcend our VUCA world, one that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
I learnt that the stages formed couplets comprising an individuation phase and a consolidation phase. In other words to evolve from being anchored in our ego at work, we need to individuate by moving into play and then would gradually consolidate our new worldview in the heart at grow. This enables us to become a high performing Achiever.
From grow we can individuate into flow and gradually come to rest in the mind at calm. In this way we could continue to evolve into progressively higher versions of our intrinsic potential. These steps represent the current shift in the world to realize post-conventional transformational leadership capacity. In this way we continue to evolve into progressively higher versions of our intrinsic potential.
Figure-8 Energy Operating System
I suggest that our life experience is like a figure-8 energy operating system around our anchoring point. For instance when we are anchored in the ego at work as a Conformist, our life experience is largely comprised of Reactive Patterns and Creative Stretch – where the past holds us to ransom and the future beckons with infinite yet far-off possibilities. When we are anchored in our heart at grow as an Achiever, our life experience incorporates Creative Stretch, the future, and the Emergent Future – paradoxically the present, with the past losing its hold on us. And when we are anchored in a state of clear open mindfulness at calm as a Strategist, we can access a life experience combining the Emergent Future with Ease and Grace.
I developed a navigational pathway whereby we lift our anchor to our next anchoring point by committing to a higher set of goals, intentions and aspirations, while simultaneously releasing the pull at the bottom of our figure-8 operating system with deepening self-awareness, resolution of past issues and genuine healing. In other words by reaching for the light shifting towards mindfulness and spiritual congruence while becoming heart-centred to release the pain and wounds of the past held in the shadow of our ego, we can and will evolve.
In this way we can realize our own intrinsic potential to create a better life for all as transformational leaders.
Life happens through us not just to us
Every issue, situation and person turning up in our life experience is designed to facilitate and enable this growth. By continuously looking at life as a projection of our conscious thoughts and intentions, goals and aspirations, and a reflection of our subconscious beliefs, fears, concerns and anxieties, we can take active steps to evolve.
Life happens through us, not just to us. By interpreting life’s events in this empowering way we can progressively realize greater self-mastery.
By becoming clearer on the Movie we are projecting, and appreciating the Mirror we are also creating albeit subconsciously, we can navigate our way up the evolutionary spiral of increasing consciousness. Indeed as we reach higher planes of potential and plumb the depths of our self-awareness still further, life can indeed become a magical experience.
Life is progressive Mastery through unfolding Mystery.
Life is a Movie. Life is a Mirror. Life is Magical.
The Leadership Platform offered by Holistic Leadership is designed to provide you and your organization with a proven pathway to realize your own intrinsic and unique potential to evolve as leaders. To shift into a more empowering and enlightening life experience by evolving through the steps from work to play, grow to flow, calm to care and free to love.
The higher our self-expression and the deeper our self-awareness, the richer our life experience and the greater our soul evolution. ~ Antoinette Braks
Join the SHIFT! to create a more empowering and fulfilling life!
The Holistic Leadership Platform can be leveraged as
- A series of one-day Values-based Transformational Leadership Events focused on our Movie, our Mirror, a Main Engagement Activity and its Business Application
- A Join the SHIFT! Transformational Leadership Program integrating a volunteer network instigating strategic change with holistic leadership development to foster innovation and build a talent pipeline with transformational leadership capacity
- Strategic Offsites for Senior Executive Teams to create an aspirational and purposeful view of the future together with the strategic scaffolding to realize their vision through the course of identified transformational shifts in the fullness of time
- One-to-one Executive Coaching for leaders wishing to realize their potential to take their leadership capacity to the next level and become transformational leaders
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to meet. I’d be delighted to understand your aspirations and challenges to see if we’re able to help.