Have you ever gone skiing off-piste? I haven’t. I find sparsely populated ski runs populated by soft, forgiving human beings tricky enough without adding the challenge of hard, immovable, rooted trees into the mix.
“Ski the gaps, not the trees.” I was told.
What does that even mean?
Apparently your skis go where you look, which means you move toward that which you give your attention to.
Science has long recognised, although a new concept to me, that human beings can experience what is known as motivated perception. What that means is that we tend to see what we look for, i.e. we see what we expect or want to see, rather than what is actually there. In my case, back in the day when I skied, I tended to give my attention to my fears, rather than to my hopes.
Why is that relevant to your leadership?
Well, what if we can choose what we give our attention to? What if we can decide what is real and what is not?
I often replay the words of Rick Tamlyn, author of Play Your Bigger Game, in my head. “It’s all made up” he’d say. Think about that: your experiences, emotions, reactions, relationships – all made up. The neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett backs up this idea.
What I love about this statement is that it shifts us from being actors on a stage, playing a role to being authors of our own life. It takes us from watching in the stands to living life on the court. You can shift from being a passive participant in life’s circumstances to become the agent for all that you do and the impetus for what happens to you.
Sceptical? Well, the reality is that you already have been doing this all through your life. You have spent your life making stuff up about yourself, others and the world, and then acting as if it were true. You also interpret your experience of the world to justify the worldviews that you created. You do that with the things that happen directly to you, as well as with what happens around you. And that’s not wrong. But it is “made up”.
As leadership coaches, we support our clients to make up the future they want to create. If that sounds a little “woo-hoo”, feel free to substitute the word vision here, which for the record, is also completely made up.
We also support our clients to understand how part of what they have already “made up” is standing in their way. You may know these as limiting beliefs.
And sometimes we have to go a step deeper.
Have you ever found that you or a friend, family member or colleague just keeps doing something which is the opposite of what they claim to want to create in life? The person who claims to want to create a balanced life, but just keeps working harder and harder? Or maybe someone who claims to want to show up as a leader but never takes a stand? Or someone who claims to want to build more meaningful relationships with those they lead but cannot bring themselves to admit mistakes or share any weakness?
When you really want one thing, but do the opposite, you are experiencing your immunity to change. What you are not aware of is a deeply held belief that keeps you from doing the thing you want. This belief, or hidden agenda, drives behaviours which counter your goal.
We work with clients to support them to discover their immunity to change and to shift the beliefs which hold them back.
Carl Jung has said “Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will direct our life and we will call it fate.”
Overcoming your immunity to change is about making your “unconscious conscious”. Then you can choose what to make up about yourself, others and the world in service of your purpose and vision.
We can help you ski the gaps, not the trees.
We can help you overcome your immunity to change.
We can help you choose leadership.