Elvis Presley had The Jordanaires
Bob Marley had The Wailers
Bruce Springsteen has the heart-stopping, hard-rocking, booty-shaking, love-making, earth-quaking, Viagra-taking, death-defying, legendary E Street Band.
Great musicians who create great music often have a great band to support them. Elvis, Bob and The Boss created the band that they needed to sound their best.
Dick Schwartz and Jay Earley, in their pioneering work around Internal Family Systems (IFS), which I wrote about last month in Who’s Driving Your Car?, hold that our consciousness is made up of a Higher Self and sub-personalities (Managers, Exiles, and Firefighters), which they call Parts. They believe that each Part has its own ‘perspective, interests, memories, and viewpoint’, AND that each Part only ever wants the best for us – that each Part only ever has ‘positive intent’.
These Parts can have positive healthy roles in our inner world, or they can take more extreme roles, often in service of protecting us from an external or psychological threat, real or imagined. But fundamentally, each part tries to advance our interest in some way. And these Parts interact. Schwartz and Earley evolved their work in a therapeutic direction, focusing on working with the extreme parts of ourselves which have not been integrated into our psyche in a healthy way.
But that approach can overlook the Parts that are integrated and are our internal allies.
The Co-active Training Institute’s coaching model (I am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach), offers us a lens through which to explore these allies. CTI frames your ‘Crew’ as the ‘personification of specific energies which allows us to access whichever energy is most useful in any given moment’. We always have access to our own energetic parts.
Do you have an Appreciator – a crew member who can find the value or best in anything? A Curious Part – a crew member who wants to know Why or How or What’s behind things? An Energiser – a crew member who gives you access to getting things done and making things happen? A Manager – a crew member who gets things sorted, organised, and takes care of business, who knows when to say yes and when to say no? This is the part of me that helps me survive the chaos created by my more unruly and spontaneous Parts.
Our Crew are the energies which support us in being the best version of who we are. And they are all components of us. We draw on them as necessary, often unconsciously, but sometimes consciously when we are self-aware and intentional in our behaviour. As a co-active coach, I hold that people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole: that there is nothing about them that is broken or needs fixing and that people have a natural ability to successfully address the challenges they face using the resources available to them.
Fundamentally this means that we can live a life at choice – choosing our behaviour and how we show up in the world. We get to consciously choose how we engage with the world and the energy we bring to our life.
As leaders – people who take responsibility for their world – we have to act in a manner which creates intentional impact. To have our biggest impact, we have to draw on all the resources available to us.
When you need a big moment in life, like a proverbial saxophone solo, how do you go about drawing on your Big Man, your internal Clarence Clemons? When you need to lay down consistency and order and structure, who’s in your rhythm section? And when life calls for more cowbell, what Part do you turn to?
Who do you need to have in your band?