Consciously Adapting (part 2: the practical considerations)
Updated: Feb 8
In Part 1 I shared the example of a pilot flying an aeroplane towards turbulence and the various options he has before him, and how this applies to each and every one of us. In this article, I will be exploring a practical approach that assists you in identifying the turbulence that you may be experiencing, why this may be occurring and how we can seek to minimize or avoid it.
With the example from Part 1 in mind, I would like you to consider what ‘turbulence’ you may have, or currently are experiencing. Bear in mind that each aspect of our lives, or the various relationships that we are engaged with will be like individual “flights” that we pilot every day. For example your relationship with your partner is an individual ‘flight' that you are on, while your career is another, and your relationship with your children, and so on. Every person is simultaneously on all of their own flights each day. Many of these will (hopefully) be in the same direction as the 'flights' of the significant people in our lives, but sometimes we are flying towards completely different destinations.
When we begin to consider the need for minor, or major change in our lives, it can be helpful to reflect on the impact of the ‘turbulence’ we may have experienced first to be more empowered to make the best choices as opposed to jumping straight into making changes.
An example of noticing the impact of change could be a pilot becoming aware of a new, gentle rattling sound which alerts her to a minor change in the weather. Because she became aware of the impact of the increased winds, she is able to monitor and adjust the plane as needed. Taking some time to assess where change has occurred can help us gain clarity and a greater understanding of it so that we can determine whether the change has been;
Clear and obvious, where the impact has been easily noticeable. For example, there may have been increased conflict, misalignment or frustrations that you have experienced with an individual, or a group of individuals.
Subtle and gentle, where there has been a gradual, gentle shift that you have now become aware of. Things have felt ‘off’, but it was difficult to fully notice at first. This could be situations of increased disappointment or frustration with a person or group, but it was subtle enough that we just carried on.
What, or how has this change impacted your dynamics, and importantly, how has this impacted the effectiveness, balance and productivity of your space? Being able to create some greater clarity about what the impact has been and where the impact has been felt will help you determine what solutions may be necessary to help create a shift in a more positive direction.
Considering the fact that we are all on so many ‘flights’ every day, it is critical for us to determine within which 'flight' the change / turbulence is impacting us as this will significantly impact what, when and how we address concerns. Two general types of roles that we need to distinguish between are the personal and professional. Addressing professional concerns in a personal capacity could create additional, unnecessary complications, and visa versa. An example of the distinction between the personal and professional roles could be:
PERSONAL: Personally I am feeling hurt that my friend (Who is also a member of a team that I manage) has been more distant and less communicative, but his/her productivity has not really changed and professionally I remain satisfied.
PROFESSIONAL: Personally my friend (team member) remains close and communicates well, but his/her productively has decreased and professional frustrations have increased due to deadlines being missed.
Within each of these core roles, we will still need to further clarify the issue/s at hand. In order to assist, I suggest that we seek to categories issues within the following three domains:
Category 1 - Myself:
I have changed due to circumstances, and I am no longer the same person that I was before. This may be due to difficulties and challenges that I have experienced, or opportunities for growth and change that I have embraced.
Category 2 - Others:
The person or people that we engage with have changed due to circumstances. This could be due to their situations changing (positively or negatively) or the ‘turbulence’ that they are currently experiencing in their own lives.
Category 3 - Needs/Expectations:
Life is constantly evolving, and as such the demands on us is constantly changing. Sometimes this can be gentle, and over time (such as career growth over a number of years), other times this can be harsh and immediate (such as suddenly losing your job, or your current business becoming obsolete overnight).
Planning Before Taking Action
Now that you have assessed the situation and determined where the areas of concern sit, as well as some context and understanding about the concerns, you are far more empowered to determine what, when and how you could positively and more effectively address things. Please bear in mind that you need to have a clear understanding of what you are seeking to achieve (and why!) - this is about clarifying the destination that you are heading towards. Without a clear desired outcome, it is like flying your plane without a plan, no direction or destination in mind, and it is often these situations that lead us to circle back through the same stormy weather time and time again.
How effective your intervention will be rests on numerous, unique factors and so one cannot guarantee that things will positively change, or that things will unfold as you hoped. At the end of the day, human beings are highly complex and multi-faceted. As such, a guiding consideration should always be the idea of control. What is in my control and what is out of my control (Chapter 4 of my book, The CORE, the fundamentals of ME, US & THEM explore this further). Focusing on what is in your control allows you to more effectively use your energy as opposed to investing your energy trying to change things that you can only potentially influence.
It can seem like quite a process one needs to engage with in order to address concerns, and you’d be right, but there is good reason for that. Just like a pilot needs to assess and evaluate (and constantly do so) the best course of action to take in order to lead to the best desired outcome, so do we. Ideally, with practice this will become a natural and automatic process that continues to operate in your background as you strive to internalize “Active-Acceptism” and you continue to determine the trajectory of your own life.