There is no greater joy in life than watching others’ exceed their expectations of themselves. My journey has afforded me the opportunity to walk with leaders and developing professionals as they reach and stretch, doubt and fall short, dream and try, and fail and get back up. Whether an individual, company or organization, the moments of transformation are transfixing. They are full of joy, amazement, and elation that something that was a vision has actually come alive and is now in the present moment. It is transcendent in that space and time. You live it and yet observe the experience; watching yourself and others as it occurs. The moment feels effortless, and yet the path is often a lonely, treacherous and long journey requiring dogged persistence and stubborn determination.
All of us come to any situation, opportunity, or challenge with suitcases over-packed with attitudes, beliefs, opinions, facts, experiences, choices and their accompanying behaviors and consequences. At any moment in time, we have the choice to select which of these pieces of our luggage we are going to carry into a scenario. Of these seven options, there are only two which we cannot influence – the facts and our experiences. The facts are the truths about the matter, which though we may not be able to change, we can decide how we will interact with them. Our experiences are in the past, and we all know we cannot change the past. However, we CAN decide whether or not we will allow the past to live in the present or simply be a teacher and wisdom guide as opposed to our jailor.
The other five – our attitudes, beliefs, opinions, choices, and behaviors can be altered at any time. Sometimes with the introduction of new facts that we choose to accept; sometimes by letting go of past experiences; sometimes by recognizing that our beliefs, opinions and attitudes do not serve us well; and sometimes because we let go of childish understandings and allow a more mature world view to be incorporated into who we choose to be.
When group behavior is involved in choosing to let go and step into new visions of what is possible, the opportunities for reinvention are exponentially accelerated and momentum gains speed rapidly. The shift occurs when active choices are made to step into new beliefs and attitudes which then affect opinions, choices, and behaviors; when the examination of the facts and new experiences lead to behaviors that positively impact the opportunities for the entire group.
For those who lead this type of work, it is essential for the ego to be sidelined. The shift can only occur when those who are making the new choices own it without you in the way. That is the moment of true transformation. They can feel it and actually live it as the experience exceeds their expectations, which causes the shift in attitudes, interpretation of facts, beliefs, behavior, and therefore the consequences of those choices.
I have had the great privilege of watching this happen twice on a large-scale and numerous times with individuals. The joy that is felt in that moment, the sense of utter possibility and openness to a vision, and the mountain top rarity of a peak experience like that can be lived on for years. The search becomes never-ending and propels the desire to go forward hoping to re-capture in new moments that sense of reinvention and elation that removes all sense of restriction.
The Shift is about growth and openness and clarity of vision. It’s about stepping into purpose and believing in a future that, while undefined in the moment, has every likelihood of becoming a reality. It creates an agreed upon desire to try and a source of energy that can feed the group as they begin scoping out the next mountain range to ascend. In stepping out of the cocoon that was comfortable but far too restrictive, the butterfly takes flight and the migration home begins. You see, The Shift, is about returning home and becoming even more of ourselves and what we are to be. Instead of remaining paralyzed by what has been, we Shift by choosing to step fully into creating what is possible for the time, circumstances, and opportunities in the present moment.
I invite you to your personal Shift by examining the attitudes, beliefs, opinions, facts, experiences, choices and their accompanying behaviors and consequences that you carry in your suitcases every day. There is an old cocoon that is awaiting your disposal and a mountain top awaiting your arrival.
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