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Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

Relationships: Elegent Navigation, Effective Communication, Part 2

Relationships: Effective Communication | Elegant Navigation

Part 2: The Solutions (1100 words, average reading time: 4.5 minutes)

[Part 1 can be found HERE]

 

I have a very simple approach to relationships, that avoids most, if not all, of the problems outlined in the interpersonal conflicts above. It is the philosophical grounding I take on in all of my relationships explicitly:

  • Realize—and accept—the fact that no one way of approaching relationships, communication, or conflict is the “right way”. That there is no consensus agreement or reality except that which you form with the Other. They are simply different styles…therefore take this on as an organizing principle and act accordingly: 
  • Give the other person the freedom to be however they want; to be self expressed free from attempts to control them or suppress them
  • Give yourself the freedom to be fully self-expressed—to be your authentic self
  • In the event that one person’s behavior upsets the other, the person who is upset makes a clear request to alter the offending behavior
    • If they accept the request, you now have an agreement
    • If they decline the request, you now know what to expect from them and have more understanding of each other’s approach to the world
    • Forge an agreement with the other that this is the way you will approach relationships and conflict

 

Simple.

It gives both parties maximum freedom to be themselves. It treats both parties like adults who are responsible for their own experience—and can express their needs. Everything is on the table and at face value. There is no second-guessing. There is no ambiguity. There are no guessing games or “game playing”.

And really, holding someone accountable to agreements they have not made—in the form of your unstated expectations—is simply unjust. It is also supremely arrogant, in that it assumes that “well, everybody knows that you should…” which can be translated at a deeper level of its assumption is “my way of doing relationships is the global standard”. 

Incredibly arrogant.

Your way of doing it may be more effective—and may even be more enjoyable for both parties if accepted by and engaged in by both parties—but it is not the only way to do it, and in the absence of an explicit consensus or agreement reality, you must create one.

As I said, it is simple. However, it is not easy.   

There are several things you must do and develop efficacy with for this approach to work and work well for both parties.  There is also a very effective way to communicate through those upsets before making your request (the last bullet point above). We’ll get to that in a few minutes.

First, here is what you must do:

Take on the recommended philosophical grounding and approach outlined in the bullet points above. 

Take responsibility. Don’t do it for them, or for the other person. Do it for yourself—as your esteem for yourself will expand and grow each time you accept responsibility. Your sense of self expands. It also has the effect of allowing people who are emotionally mature enough to follow suit and take responsibility for their part in it—rather than polarizing, blaming each other, and digging your heels in—to the detriment of the relationship and/or for the thin gruel of short-term ego inflation (as opposed to healthy egoic expansion, which occurs, again, by taking responsibility). 

Engage in as many other practices as possible to build true and healthy esteem for the self.  It is your immune system for your emotional life.

Make a firm decision to practice and exercise your facility with self.  At a bare minimum, know that even if your interpretations of what is occurring are mostly accurate, they are at least incomplete. Always look to include more information in your world-view. Expand your perspective.

More advanced practices to exercise your internal facility would be to consider:

  • How else could the events/their actions be interpreted?
  • Where else could the person be coming from?
    • What else—besides your disempowering interpretation/projection/guess—could be their motivations? Their intent? Their outcome?
    • What could their positive intent be?
    • Step into their shoes. What could their experience of you be right now? Is it positive? Neutral? Negative? What else is going on right now for them that is straining their resources?
    • What emotion is underneath their communication—and speak directly to and validate that before getting to facts and agreements

 

Take on a responsible and conscious model for communicating your emotions, expectations, and for requesting an agreement around styles.

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Evolutionary Thinking on the Evolution of Ego | Expand and Dissolve Rather than "Annihilate"

We have been sold a bill of goods around ego. One that creates internal division and conflict. One that creates internal dissonance. One that creates pain. One that, at its worst, can foster a certain degree of self-hatred. A dis-ownership of the self. A bill of goods that is 2,500 years old in terms of its story around ego, the nature of ego, and the "problem" of ego.

And there is a better way. One that can create the same intended result with a kinder, gentler more self-accepting approach that can accelerate the evolution of the ego through the radical acceptance of expanding the ego, rather than attempting the psychological and spiritual suicide of ego annihilation. 

You can also see some similar themes around ego in the business context, read this article:  Self-Esteem and the Solo-Preneur | Internal vs. External Locus of Responsibility for an even deeper cut, taken from an email I sent a client a couple years ago, read Your Self-Worth is a Settled Matter.

Ok...ready? ::: Heh.

A quote from Ken Wilber I posted spawned an in-depth, yet brief—discussion on the nature and evolution of ego, Spiral Dynamics, the Integral community, and related topics, including the difference between cognitive development and actual development ::: the difference being understanding vs emotional response and being, or stated differently ::: one’s “center of gravity”.

The style is conversational, as it was an actual conversation.

Below are excerpted comments in the thread that followed. The order of some of the comments have been changed for continuity of the discussion, and for flow. Some have been deleted for the sake of relevance. If you want to see the full, unedited thread for yourself, you can see that HERE. The edited and streamlined version is below for your reading enjoyment.

The quote that started it all :::

“The ego is not a thing but a subtle effort, and you cannot use effort to get rid of effort--you end up with two efforts instead of one. The ego itself is a perfect manifestation of the Divine, and it is best handled by resting in Freedom, not by trying to get rid of ego, which simply increases the effort of ego itself.” --Ken Wilber 

Of course, I cannot speak for Ken Wilber—nor will I attempt to.

Simultaneously, I have read and listened to most of his stuff. As a result, I can certainly imagine—to varying degrees of accuracy—what he is speaking to, so I will attempt to translate him.

AND this will be based on my own experience after 19 years of conscious work, clearing, and self-examination and evolution—AND based on my work with over 200 clients one-on-one in my Personal Evolution Program, which lasted [when I used to do that work]  about 7 months--designed to accelerate the evolution of their ego ::: to widen their embrace. To increase their ease. To reduce their fear. To eliminate most of their anger. To increase their esteem for the Self.

So I may be and will be projecting/hallucinating…and it will be accurate—to varying degrees. Your mileage may vary.

So…what is “ego”? Most in popular spiritual and psychological circles will say we must transcend our ego, or worse ::: “annihilate it”. Is this healthy? Is this ecological? Does it suit the ecology of the environment we exist in?

The ecology of the self?

Is “ego what motivates us” as Pi asserts? Perhaps sometimes, yes. perhaps always—sure.

And the question for me becomes, motivates HOW? From what stage? Because, you see, we will be motivated differently from different stages, for different reasons.

For me, ego is essentially the seat of our consciousness. Where it rests and comes from. Not its Source. Its Source is the very kosmos ::: consciousness with a capital C. 

James Reidy suggested as a definition :::

Ego: n. a person's conscious and unconscious beliefs about their own identity. 

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Quadrant-Based Model for Esteem for the Self

Self-Esteem Matrix

[Validation (V) ::: Worth | Referencing (R) ::: Efficacy]
Internal and external locus

 

 

If we combine Dr Nathaniel’s definition of self-esteem—that is that self-esteem has two integral and inseparable—yet equally important and parallel—components:

  • Self-efficacy [knowledge of our effectiveness/our value/guilt]
  • Self-respect [Making choices appropriate to life/self-worth/shame

…with another multi-dimensional idea ::: that the “high self-esteem” and “low self-esteem” binary representation is inadequate to accurately explain some behaviors and behavioral choices, and we look at where the individual’s attention is, then we begin to create a richer and deeper—and therefore more accurate signifier—a more accurate representation of esteem for the self.

I prefer that phrase, that is: esteem for the self, to the more common phrase “self-esteem” for two reasons:

  1. The phrase/word “self-esteem” is one of the most misunderstood and overused phrases in American pop psychology. And,
  2. The phrase Esteem for the Self refocuses our attention where it should be; our opinion of the “me” in our self-concept.

 The sad part is that what most of the “experts” in academia call “self-esteem” is simply not self-esteem, but rather “other-esteem”. This can border on the absurd when supposed experts call for an end to competition. Or, an end to grades in school.

Given that our esteem for the self is our immune system for life, it must be tested, so it can grow, respond, and develop the metaphoric antibodies to the hardships of life. While I am far from competitive, I am glad it existed in my upbringing. Grades. Martial Arts training, science contests, spelling bees, etc.

Anyway … to bring a richer texture to the conversation … in the above figure we have 4 basic locations or orientations to esteem for the self. Internal / external and validation / referencing.

Below are some relatively raw notes on the quadrants above, but more importantly, below that is a table that lays out some of the misconceptions about what it means to have true esteem for the self. For those of you who know me to be a proponent of stage conceptions, this is not in conflict with an egoic stage conception, but it would overly complicate the conversation for mass consumption to add another dimension in this writing.

If you are curious about how this quadrant-based model would interact with a stage conception for egoic development, shoot me an email … ok:

With no further ado:

UPPER LEFT ::: If someone is Internally validated [VI] and they are externally referenced [RE] then we have the ideal situation; someone who is internally validated, and therefore “immune” at a core level from the opinions of others—yet also externally referenced, meaning they care about gathering feedback from the outside world and from others—so they can continually become more effective, and—if need be—adjust their behaviors. This quadrant is the healthiest of the quadrants. Those grounded in this quadrant will be happiest, more at ease with themselves, interact more effectively with others, and produce better results in the real world.

 

UPPER RIGHT ::: Internally validated and internally referenced. Not ideal. They truly do not care about the opinions of feelings of others—and do not need them, but simultaneously they do not notice their impact or care about their impact. You could call this person the empowered idiot. Unaware entirely.

 

LOWER LEFT ::: Externally validated and externally referenced. This person is constantly contorting themselves to whomever is around them, based on subtle or gross cues, but they are also dependent on the opinion of others to feel good about themselves. They try to be everything for and to everybody. I jokingly refer to this quadrant as “hell”. They will never feel good about themselves as they are never in touch with themselves—and do not even know who they are—and their feelings will shift like the wind upon the whims or preferences of others.

 

LOWER RIGHT ::: Externally validated but internally referenced. This person is desperate for people’s attention, their validation and praise, yet is inner-focused and not able to adjust to cues. Imagine them seeking approval, and constantly bumping into walls and people all the time. Desperate for approval. Never quite able to do the right thing to get it. Let's call this quadrant "purgatory".

Heh.

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Your Success Equation | Thoughts Action Will | Part 1: Thoughts

Thoughts + Action + Will = Your Dream or Vision Becoming a Reality

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There is much discussion about what it takes to be successful—and what it takes to be an entrepreneur. What it takes to succeed at owning your own business. Or stated differently, what it takes to “manifest” your vision in the world.

And while many people try to emulate personalities, rather than systems—which is a sure-fire way to fail—and there are certainly tangible, unique characteristics that have a Steve Jobs or a Barak Obama, or a _________________  succeed, there are those that want to sum it up to “luck” or “chance” or “connections”. Or “timing”. Or, “that is just them”.

While there is a certain amount of all of those that will aid one in bringing their vision into the world—they only help.

Even without those additional “helpers” we have a huge amount of latitude and control over the degree of our success—and even whether we succeed—or not; and to what degree. And often the successful management of the following aspects can assist those helpers in appearing and happening as if by “magic”. 

There are three components or ingredients to having your vision become a reality

1. Thoughts  2. Action  3. Will [The Will to Carry It Through]

Thoughts 

So many people reduce this to the Law of Attraction only, and worse, want to have you believe you have already earned your success somehow—before you have actually produced anything or taken any action. Essentially before you have produced anything of value to others in the world.

I reject that wholeheartedly.

While the Law of Attraction is critical—and demystifying it equally so—so that you understand not only that it does work, but also why and how—it is not the only way to manage your mind that is critical. There are others seldom talked about.

Because I cover this at length in my Outcome Inevitability audio and I provide my clients and those who are members on the coaches site have access to—and also on the free Evolutionary Sales podcasts on iTunes—and others have done so as well…

Because of that, we will leave that in this writing and go to the meatier subjects :::

Thoughts: The inspired IDEA

You must have an idea. It does not have to be original. However, it must be at the right place in the “curve”. In other words, it has to either be a proven business model but not yet saturated in the market—or it can be new, but the technology and the market must be there to support the idea. AND it must not be on the sloping end of the curve—an idea that is making a lot of money now, but whose course has nearly run out or is about to end.

One of the greatest skills an entrepreneur must have is the ability to accurately perceive where the market is headed. There is no replacement for this skill. It means the difference between great success, failure, or middling success—and likewise great profits, or great losses. And while an entrepreneur knows that “failures” can be the sharpest learning opportunities, they can be costly, and well, let’s face it—less fun 

Thoughts: Deeper Meaning | Purpose

Additionally you must be able to tie it to deeper meaning. You’re not just creating a cool product or service—you are improving the lives of others—and ultimately making the world a better place somehow. You are serving humanity itself in some deep, meaningful way. Even with a small piece of software. Or a coaching offering. Or a new convenience appliance.

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The Self-Esteem Quadrophenia | Egoic Evolution in Stages and Quadrants

Over the years, I have written several several takes, applications, thoughts, and republished dialogues on ego and self-esteem.

In terms of personal development--irrespective of your motivations; no matter if the flashpoint is your inter-personal relationships or professional life--there is no single factor that is more important to the core of your happiness, your ease and flow, and your general thrival and expansion than your egoic development. From ego-centric to gender-centric or ethno-centric to world-centric to cosmo-centric.

Blah, blah, blah. Heh.

Below is a round-up of those articles to date.

Some are tailored to small business folk. Others are more abstract and theoretical. One is a dialogue about ego among me and my brilliant friends on facebook. All are important to you as you settle into the you that is expanding personally, professionally, financially, relationally...and yes, of course, Spiritually.

Where the rubber of possibility meets the road of reality [and sometimes leaves a mark] and whether it gains traction or not, is with this single point of access.

Yes, it will enable you to handle the crap life throws at you. Deal with the less visionary of the world. Regain your balance when you lose it, be able to draw boundaries, ask for what you know you deserve, and have the confidence in the truth that everything will be fine ... eventually. That you will learn, grow, develop, and thrive. Eventually.

And remember, while the distinctions are important, an ounce of integration is worth a pound of insight or knowledge. Build the muscle. Practice. Notice. Witness.

Okee-dokee. Enough of me waxing poetic. Here they are. From the divine to the practical. From the theoretical to the hard driving and direct. Have fun.

:::

  1. Self-Esteem and the Solo-Entrepreneur
  2. Evolutionary Thinking on the Evolution of Ego
  3. Quadrant-Based Model for Esteem for the Self
  4. The Need for Approval ::: Your Self-Worth is a Settled Matter

 

In Service and In Evolution,

 

jason.the.mcclain™

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