Integral eco-archetypal image

Integral eco-archetypal image
Integral eco-archetypal image

Monday, November 3, 2008

"The Last Word on Power"

The most profound coaching model that will continue to inform and permeate my practice as a Quantum One Life Coach is covered in the work of Tracy Goss, a foremost expert in the field of transformational leadership and executive re-invention, and author of “The Last Word on Power.” In fact, the essential approach of this coaching model speaks to the quantum aspect of Quantum One Life Coaching because it challenges the coachee to aspire to achieve the “impossible,” (Yes! Our Wildest Dreams and Highest Aspirations!) not by any incremental improvements in the various domains of one’s life but by declaring the destination and moving into it and towards it.

This model of coaching is intimately familiar to me because it is the approach that my own father took - out of bankruptcy into financial wealth and stability. It happened in 1961 when my father had to declare business and personal bankruptcy much to the chagrin of his immediate and extended family because in the “British colonial” context and culture of his time, there was much shame attached to the decision to file bankruptcy, period. It was a time when an individual had to repay a percentage of one’s debts in order to be discharged from bankruptcy.

On the day that my father filed bankruptcy, he caused a sensation and a stir by declaring to the local press: “I am a bankrupt today, but I will be a millionaire tomorrow.” This was the front page banner headline of the newspapers the next day. There was no escaping the power of his words even though his son, that would be moi, was too embarrassed to go to school that day. As I write these words my father has a net worth of over a million dollars.

Almost forty years later, I also filed personal and business bankruptcy and declared that “this was not an ending but a beginning and an opening to something new” to a cohort of 200 plus students in spiritual psychology. Not knowing where this journey would lead me, I took the next steps, completed two advanced degrees in psychology and back in 2005, I declared that

"I will live, work, study and flourish as a therapist/life coach as a “citizen” of Santa Barbara, California with all the rights and responsibilities that go with such citizenship."

Up to the moment of my first declaration in June 2000, this author had cultivated a winning strategy of thinking positive and taking incremental steps towards some measured success in all my life domains. However, the financial success that was my primary goal continued to elude me, and with it, my dreams of a sustained intimate relationship. My winning strategy had - at the most - allowed me to survive with a smile. I wanted a bolder vision of life to step into and the experience of “dying” before going into battle, which Goss describes as an essential precursor to the success that has followed me since then was a way of “hitting bottom without giving up.”

I was thrust into a re-invention paradigm by the very fact that I was at ground zero with no cash, no income, no credit, no career and no intimate relationship, finding myself in a place of “accepting hopelessness – as a gift.” From here on, I had to take a stand. I was on my way to get my PhD, find a life partner and live in Santa Barbara because that is what I want in my life. My several visits to Santa Barbara since August 2001, less than a year after filing business bankruptcy, was my way of “honing my declaration.” Back in 2005, I wanted to “be “in Santa Barbara and this I have been “doing” consistently, but once I declared I wanted to "be" a Santa Barbaran, I was able to take the steps to make that a reality! This has much more power in it than wanting to be in Santa Barbara!

From this declaration, I am now ready to complete the expressive: “Who I am is the future of engaged citizenship.” And “I declare the possibility of being very happily married, while flourishing as an international authority and expert witness on authentic embodied well-being in all its spheres, both personal, transpersonal and systemic, and as a model citizen of Santa Barbara.”

Goss identifies these declarations as the process necessary for designing and inventing an impossible future, without regard to the possibility of failure, acknowledging that one may even fail. She develops a formidable Re-Invention Master Paradigm that focuses on an ontological system of committed speaking and listening, and achieving transformation by how one is being by altering the context. In my own case, the context of living, working and studying in Santa Barbara changes radically by being not only an engaged model citizen of Santa Barbara but an international authority and expert witness on embodied well being in all its spheres: personal, transpersonal and systemic.

Goss further emphasizes a different set of leadership skills between the Universal Human Paradigm and the Re-invention Master Paradigm which are 1) Declaring a future based on no evidence and no history, 2) Creating Context, 3) Taking a stand, 4) Fulfilling realms of possibility, 5) Making bold promises one does not know - in advance - how to keep, and 6) Acting from the future.

The Context for this new paradigm is “There’s no such thing as should/shouldn’t, right/wrong. They are always and only an interpretation.” Or as Rumi says “Beyond right doing and wrong doing, there is a field, I will meet you there.”

The Action required for Re-Invention is a series of conversations that one engages in to transform a possibility and build a bridge in to reality. These conversations generate commitment and bold promises, and a way of assessing the steps in this movement towards this reality by simply asking 1) “What happened?” without assigning any meaning to it, 2) “What’s missing?” without assigning any judgment to it and 3) “What’s next?” by answering this with taking action from the future based on declarations already made. Hence, there are no problems but merely one’s personal relationship to these conversations and inquiries.

Finally, Goss asks us to let go of all our limiting beliefs and let go of using our Winning Strategy in order to win and control so that life turns out the way it should, and doesn’t turnout the way it shouldn’t. Instead she invites us to the high stakes game of life of making the impossible happen, and taking quantum leaps by freely engaging in risk-taking in a game one is impassioned to play, while life turns out the way it does! There is no fall back position!

The one dimension that Quantum One Life Coaching adds to the Re-Invention Master paradigm is the transpersonal realm which invokes the One to co-create the game with us from the moment these declarations are made by adding the following phrase to each declaration:
“This or something better for the highest good of all concerned!”

And so it is.

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