Deliberately Developmental

Deliberately Developmental

I am reading a fascinating book right now called An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Development Organization, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (any quotes below are from this book). In my own pursuit of continuing my development and being a catalyst for positive change in others, I have found many books that I deem to be game changers in my own thinking. This has become one of them.

 

What does it mean to be deliberately developmental? It is a commitment to growth at the expense of comfort and ease. It is an "investment in loss" - a phrase coined by performance coach Josh Waitzkin - which refers to the premium awarded to those who look at their weaknesses as untapped potential and see their "failures" as opportunities for growth. It is a mindset that trains our brain to be on the lookout for growth opportunities and excited by challenges. It is a belief that growth is a passionate and valuable pursuit that brings purpose and excitement into every single day. And it is the understanding that, even in big business, a focus on personal development will improve and strengthen culture, progress, and success for everyone involved. 

While this book is speaking to the amazing qualities of companies that are able to develop a culture of growth and betterment, it also sparked my curiosity in what it looks like to be an individual who wants to be deliberate in their development regardless of where they work. In an attempt to simplify this work and assist myself in integrating this knowledge into my current repertoire, I have broken this down into the five steps to become deliberately developmental. Here goes...

1. Surround yourself with others who are invested in personal development. 

We all have weaknesses. We all have blind spots. We all have shadows and parts of ourselves that are under-developed or not fully understood. When you can find a community of people who are all willing and ready to pursue excellence in themselves and who see the value in supporting the pursuit of excellence in others, suddenly a world of possibility opens up. Imagine what could happen when you engage in a culture that makes you feel safe and open to make mistakes yet a steadfast rule that makes it unacceptable not to identify, analyze, and learn from them.

"A Better Me + A Better You = A Better Us"  

 

2. Look for thought-cycles that are wasting your energy and remove them from your mind. 

In the book, they say "winning is less valuable than what we learn by losing in the pursuit of excellence." When you can shift your perception so to not waste energy feeling bad about yourself when you fail, you can then use that energy to love what you learned without losing momentum. 

"Pain + Reflection (in a safe environment) = Progress"

One of the biggest transformations I have made in my life is the ability to step back and be pragmatic with my assessment of my thoughts or emotions. Whatever you focus on you create more of. Your attention focuses on small aspects of reality and can exaggerate with stories based on the emotions we are feeling. Notice what you are focusing on, and recognize that a simple shift in perspective can make the difference between running from fear versus standing tall in the face of fear. Whatever you pay attention to, that is what you experience. So acknowledge that whatever is on your mind now, is just one point within a limitless number of possible points, connections, or perspectives that are available. The way you talk to yourself and what you allow your mind to focus on are the keys to creating and sustaining positive change. Just because you habitually think a certain way, doesn't make it any more true or real than a possible new habit. 

 

3. Know the Three Adult Plateaus, where you are, and how to progress to the next level.

The Socialized Mind: This is the first level where most adults stay for their entire existence. At this phase, "we are shaped by the definitions and expectations of our personal environment." What we consider to be our "self" is aligned and loyal to that which it identifies. This is a simple and binding contract that coheres in the expectations we perceive in our relationships. You are more likely to get stuck in negative comparisons, sit in judgments, or waste energy in shame or embarrassment. 

For example, someone at this level will know their role and will operate mainly with the assumptions of what they believe others want to hear. They will be highly sensitive to what they hear or see others do, and are more likely to "read between the lines" and be effected by nonverbal communication without an understanding of what is intentional versus accidental.

Someone at this level is more prone to gossip, more prone to being offended, and more likely to toe the line rather than be creative and open to assessing the situation. 

To begin growing out of this phase, one must develop the ability to see what they were once subject to," or controlled by, and gradually become aware of the "object" something that can also be looked at rather than only looked through. This is done with practicing awareness. Taking a step back to notice as you make decisions or feel emotional shifts in your body. Notice what your patterns are and where you get in your own way. Once you have developed the ability to stop before you respond, you suddenly have the choice-point to shift the direction of your energy and thoughts to pave a new connection towards questioning what you have done on auto-pilot for years. Get curious.

 

4. The Self-Authoring Mind: At this phase you "are able to step back enough from the social environment to generate an internal seat of judgement, or personal authority, that evaluates and makes choices about external expectations." Rather than being fixated on the expectations of your environment, you operate based on your alignment with your own own belief systems, ideology, or personal code. You are still abiding by the expectations of your role, but you see more flexibility and room for creative thinking, knowing that you can do this while being self-directed and guided by your own moral-compass. 

In regards to communication, at this level, you are more likely to relay what you think others need or ought to hear, while grounded in the bigger picture of the mission at hand. "Consciously or unconsciously, I have a direction, an agenda, a stance, a strategy, or an analysis of what is needed - a prior context from which my communication arises." This is less about fitting in and more about expressing yourself and adding value to a project or situation. It is the recognition that you can be uniquely you, driven by your own values and objectives, while contributing to the greater whole and being a part of the larger machine. 

  

5. The Self-Transforming Mind: Few people are at this level, which makes it that much more of a valuable commodity in the workplace. With this mindset and capability, you "can step back from and reflect on the limits of your own ideology or personal authority; see that any one system or self-organization is in some way partial or incomplete; be friendlier toward contradiction and opposites; seek to hold on to multiple systems rather than project all except one onto the other." While you know your role and your part to play in the greater machine, you also recognize the fallibility of every system and practice an ongoing assessment of "what's missing?", "what are my blind-spots here?", "how can this be wrong?", "what is true here?", "what could make this better?"

 

Understanding these three levels of mental complexity is crucial when we address the importance of communication and development in any system. Imagine a workplace where everyone was operating at the self-authoring or self-transforming level. The efficiency, the growth, the self-leadership, and the ease of connecting and maintaining relationships would save so much time in the long run. 

As is the case with anything I am curious about, consider this to be another seed planted in that beautiful brain of yours. Get curious about ways to build development into whatever culture you are a part of. Get curious about ways you can take on your own development. Our mind's are capable of so much more than whatever your current state is. Keep learning. Keep asking yourself quality questions and create empowering thought patterns that bring quality fuel into your system. We all want more control in our life, and I have found that when I understand more about how my mind and body works, I gain more and more control over the direction and design of my own life. Get curious xoxo

Understanding these three levels of mental complexity is crucial when we address the importance of communication and development in any system. Imagine a workplace where everyone was operating at the self-authoring or self-transforming level. The efficiency, the growth, the self-leadership, and the ease of connecting and maintaining relationships would save so much time in the long run. 

As is the case with anything I am curious about, consider this to be another seed planted in that beautiful brain of yours. Get curious about ways to build development into whatever culture you are a part of. Get curious about ways you can take on your own development. Our mind's are capable of so much more than whatever your current state is. Keep learning. Keep asking yourself quality questions and create empowering thought patterns that bring quality fuel into your system. We all want more control in our life, and I have found that when I understand more about how my mind and body works, I gain more and more control over the direction and design of my own life. Get curious xoxo

Meet Andrea Saliba

Meet Andrea Saliba

Sneak Peak into my book Be The Change......

Sneak Peak into my book Be The Change......

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