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Evolutionary Blog

Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

Cults | Also: Practitioner and Coach Categories and Types

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Someone asked me if I had watched "The Deep End" - the documentary about Teal Swan. I had never heard of her. I watched the trailer and as soon as I heard her speak, I knew she was full of sh*t. Took me 5-10 seconds.

Then I had someone tell me the kinds of things she has people engage in and I was disgusted. after stating what I saw as the positive purpose of the exercise, I broke down for the person the dynamics and meta-structures of what she was up to in those instances and why one should not do that to participants, and how it is actually counter-productive.

But this is not about her - it is about cults and cult-like communities in general, many of which are far worse and include a lot more systemic pathology. And the exposure of some of them in recent years ... has me thinking about cults and coaches and politics and just how and why people fall for these people, be they gurus or politicians. Which got me thinking about the transformation industry in general.

I try to spend as little time as possible thinking about the coaching and practitioner industry. That might seem strange since I have been in it for so long (full-time since 2004), but honestly, the more I am exposed to it, the more I find myself recoiling. Maybe it is what I perceive as a lack of depth in the industry, or - as a meme one friend sent me the other day said, “God, please give me the confidence of a 25-year-old life coach”. But in contemplating it - and in noticing trends over the 30 years I have been engaged in transformational communities, I have distinguished a few “types”.

These are off the top of my head, so I am open - and welcome - any feedback, comments, or additions. Or for you to share your own experience in encountering these or other categories of “coach”.

✨✨✨✨

🔮The Regurgitator: they parrot the thing they just read, heard, or learned in a workshop and they get it all over everyone. Very little precision, and it often feels very gross (vs subtle) and like a blunt instrument. A lot of projection may be involved. You can contort yourself to see how it fits, but it really has little to do with what is happening for you or your desired outcomes (if they even asked you about that). They also have little apply-to-self or self-reflection. 

🔮The Mentor: they have vast experience in one area and teach others how they succeeded (sometimes often after a lot of trial and error or at least one major failure).

🔮The Technician: They are very skilled in a very narrow area - one modality - and it is the only lens they view things through, they are, however, very competent at that one thing.

🔮The Mindset Master: They really have one primary tool: linguistic or perspective reframes. “If you just think about it differently, you’ll feel better”. While this is true - and critical for day-to-day happiness and an integral part of developing facility with self, the problem with this one is if used as the only tool - or over-applied - it often steps over somatic feelings and emotional build-up that will need to eventually be cleared out - and in doing so they stack up in their body and may lead to a massive meltdown of sadness or depression later on. The deeper thing needs to be addressed and often goes unaddressed so they are engaging in bypass or what I heard recently may be termed as “toxic positivity”.

🔮The Synthesizer: they consume all forms of personal development and likely have for some time and then come up with their own version that is an amalgamation or an integration - or new material entirely that builds on what came before. They are also very good at pulling from that experience and applying it at a more individual level for people - choosing the approach or modality that will best serve them in the presenting context at that time. There is both depth and breadth.

🔮The Guru: This one seems to have deep spiritual knowledge and has adoring followers. Their followers' eyes glaze over when they talk about them as if they are under a spell. Sometimes it is unclear what specific value they bring or if the followers integrate the teachings into their lives. People often fall in love with them and at some point, their illusions are shattered and they become very disillusioned. As much as they were in love with them is the degree to which they will now have disdain for them.

The benefit, of course, is the feelings of community and acceptance the student experiences with other followers and the shared experience. Until, of course, the inevitable descent into pathology or cult-like dynamics. Over 80% of them seem to engage in sexual misconduct at some point.

I have a theory that the larger a transformational community becomes, the more it tends toward pathology even if the leader is pure in intention, teaching, and their own personal ethics.

🔮The Scam Artist: This speaks for itself. Some of them just see a way to make money and do not even see themselves as scamming people, but are usually very entitled, charge above market rates for their services out of the gate with little experience, and may even encourage a “wish list” purchase, etc. (like a dominatrix or escort would), including tools for their business they could and should ethically purchase themselves. Often they do month-to-month agreements instead of extended offerings because they either do not have the energetic capacity to hold someone over several months, or are not competent enough to continue with a client beyond the quick sale of the 1-month agreement. Maybe it’s a side gig. One of many. They also get a dopamine hit from being in a position of authority in someone’s life, no matter how fleeting or temporary that may be - and they often come from that place, not from a place of serving their client in achieving their outcomes.

They don’t last long, thankfully.

🔮Professional Scam Artists: Megachurch preachers, Trump, et al. Grifters and con artists all of them. Praying on the old and the feeble-minded.

🔮The Hobbyist: “I give my friends advice all the time, I may as well get paid for it!”. Enough said.

✨There is also the therapist turned coach, which is always interesting - and of great value for some.

✨And on the other end of the spectrum, the young sex worker turned coach (but in a different context). The challenge there is they bring a lot of the dynamics from their previous offerings into the business of coaching and that does not translate well professionally or inter-personally. They essentially have to re-learn business.

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If you are interested in becoming a clean and skillful practitioner (or a synthesizer) attend my next practitioner certification training. Full details about that training are »here«. If you are curious about working with me one-on-one, schedule an initial conversation »here« to have a conversation and we will discover if we might be a fit or not.


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Purpose, Service, Offerings, Path, Upcoming NLP Training

nlp-training-prism

I’ve been in this business a long time. Over 18 years now. But recently someone I knew and followed me on social media reached out to me and was not even sure if I even still engaged in one-on-one work.

Of course, I do. Of course, I am.

But that indicated to me I needed to reach out to you and just review the past and mention an upcoming training as well.

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At some point, I was called to purpose in a way that had me know in my bones that there was nothing for me to do but be in service of others evolving.

Engaging in it professionally began in 2004, and while it took me a couple of years of making all the mistakes one can make in this particular business I finally figured it out or “cracked the code” if you will in 2006 which was my first 6-figure year in this business.

After 18 years and after guiding well over 500 clients through 6-month programs, I thought it might be time to re-introduce myself as a lot of people following me here have only seen a slice of my work as my focus shifted to relationships and relating and I have received a lot of feedback lately around how people perceive my work. Many - an odd number - think I only work with men. And recently someone called me a “relationship expert”. I openly laughed at that and responded: I am not sure there even is such a thing as a “relationship expert”.

Also, hilariously, a client I recently signed from here on Facebook reached out and asked if I was even still in this business. That cracked me up.

So to correct and clarify the record I’ll list off the phases my business and offerings have gone through over the years, and then ground the whole thing in how I was called to purpose at a certain point of my path - while briefly illuminating some milestones along the way.

✨2004-2006 figuring out how in the heck to make it an actual business. Even though I had been a sales trainer for Tony Robbins, I quickly figured out that the relationship between client and Guide is too intimate to simply bolt on a sales system from some other business - which is where most coaches and those teaching coaches how to build their business get it wrong.

✨2006-2008 and to the Present: offering comprehensive Personal Evolution - with three phases to that structured - yet formless - 6-month program. What do I mean by that? The Phases 1. Healing and Clearing, 2. Education, self-esteem, sense of self, navigating your interiors, etc., and 3. Integration and ad hoc application were always the same regardless of the context, just sometimes called other things. But the form - what was handled in each phase - is entirely dependent on the outcomes drawn out of the client. It is purely in service of those.

🔥At one point I signed 49 clients in a row to 6-month programs [no one said no in that stretch] so I figured it was time I systematized my sales system - or reverse-engineered it is more accurate.🔥

✨2008-2014-ish I added teaching coaches and holistic practitioners how to build their businesses. The best part of my sales system is ~98% of the people I work with report it never feels like sales because it is entirely outcome-based. More on that another time.

🔮But if you think that personal evolution is not part of building your business you are … mistaken. Clearing out negative imprints and beliefs about money and spirituality, working on your worthiness of receiving, clearing fear and anxiety, and perhaps shame are all critical for your business success. So we always start there because then when we implement business strategies in Phase 2, it moves with so much more velocity and ease in your nervous system.

✨2014-2018 I did a few corporate gigs for small personal development companies - both designing coaching packages for them and teaching their team how to sell them ethically using my system.

✨2019 my attention turned to relationships, so-called “polarity”, and … well, what a clean, healthy, and evolved relationship would look and feel like.

It clearly began as more of a critique of the complete stuff I saw out there in the space. So many unclean and unhealthy principles that were clearly coming from a place of regression and for most relationship coaches - clearly from their wounding rather than from a place of vision and emergence. And as a die-hard romantic, I felt there was simply a better way.

Some of you may have seen my 4-part series on my website critiquing polarity coaches (especially the male coaches).

✨Along the way I designed and facilitated 5 NLP Evolutionary NLP Practitioner certifications - all 7 months long - in 2006, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2022. Why “evolutionary”? Because to me, all work we do is better served by understanding Integral Theory - Quadrants, Levels, Lines, States, and Types. So both stages of ego development and emotional and moral development a la Graves, Gebser, Kohlberg and Gilligan, Wilber, et al - or simply verticality (or stages of depth if you prefer that metaphor) is critical to know what your client needs when, in what order, for what outcome.

But in terms of rapid transformation healing your past reducing triggers and clearing trauma - including generational trauma - there is nothing more efficient, elegant, effective, and holistic than processes like Time Line Clearing, Parental, Core Transformation, sub-modality shifts, and the like.

And therein lies another misconception about my work. While yes, I have been a certified NLP Master Practitioner and trainer since 1995 [29 years now], I do not identify as such.

I am an Evolutionary Guide™ (which transcends but includes “coach”). I accelerate evolution. Your evolution. But it also means I work within an Integral framework.

My work is best suited for people who have already done a lot of personal development - perhaps in weekend workshops, etc, and even therapy, but want more intentionality around their outcomes with more effective approaches.

ANYWHO ...

I am also offering another Evolutionary NLP Practitioner Certification training. This will be the 6th.

It is designed for coaches, healers, practitioners, professional communicators, and humans who just want to massively accelerate their personal development within a container - and with logistics designed - for integration.

It kicks off in just a few months.

You can see full details for the NLP training (including curriculum, logistics, and an extensive FAQ section here: https://evolutionarycompanies.com/nlp-training

If you want to have a complimentary 30-minute initial conversation with me to see whether it makes sense for us to work together in service of your outcomes, you can just go ahead and schedule that here: https://calendly.com/evolve-co/30min

Wishing you only good things. Always.

In Your Service,

McClain

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Becoming Your Own Guru | What Triggers are and How to Best Relate to Them

triggered

Given all this talk of responsibility and blame, how do we best relate to triggers?  What are they? How do they occur?

Triggers are most often referring to feelings of hurt or anger.  What I mean when I say “trigger” is that you lose the balance of your mind or that you “lose facility with self” in a disproportionate way.

Some people call it “going into red”. Some refer to it as a “trauma response”. Some refer to it as “pissing you off”, or what have you. There can be many names for it, but I think the disproportionate nature of it - where you say things you have to apologize for or simply can’t communicate responsibly - or simply yell or lash out or hurt the other person physically or verbally - is symptomatic of being “triggered”.

We usually speak about them in a relationship as if the other person is somehow to blame for our lack of emotional facility or rationality.  “They triggered me” or “they made me angry” or my personal favorite “you made me worry” we can be heard saying.

Yes. That’s right:  they put a gun to your head and made you fantasize horrible things may have happened to them. When really all that was happening was their cell phone battery died. Or they fell asleep. But they made you worry.

What is the problem with this? 

Not only does this give our power away, but it also makes other people responsible for our feelings, which is simply not the case.

They did not trigger us - it is not their behavior that is the problem:  it is our relationship to what they did that is the problem. Or it is how we interpreted it - what we made up or made it mean - that produced the emotional response in us. We got triggered.  Or it triggered something from our past. More often than not, something that happened triggered off something from our past - or a series of events from our past - hence the disproportionate nature of the trigger. 

We’ve all experienced this in the micro. If your lover keeps leaving dirty underwear on the counter or leaves the empty toilet paper roll on the dispenser without replacing it … and it happens over and over again - you may have a disproportionate response to that and blow up at them about that or about something else. 

This is good news; something from our past that is unresolved or in need of resolution has presented itself.

This is a gift if we relate to it as such.

My partner does not trigger me. I get triggered. Or something from my past was triggered.

If I relate to it like they triggered me AND I wait for them to come in after me and “make it right” I am not only playing a victim, I am making them responsible for my trigger and my happiness. Even worse: they now have all the power over my current emotional state: and I gave it to them by blaming them.

There are also some who use this as a control dynamic/power play; withholding love or connection until you “make it right” when in fact you broke no agreements. But they hold you hostage - or perhaps you have done this yourself to someone to feel special or … extract your pound of flesh.

This is not the exercise of power - it is the use of emotional force. True power comes from developing your facility with self; learning to navigate your interiors - so that you can have ease, flow, and happiness in your life - and a funny thing happens when you do: people enjoy being around you more when you manage your own internal experience - because you are giving them the freedom to be themselves.

They will thank you for being gracious. They will thank you for being understanding. But mostly, they will continue to be more and more self-expressed as you will have clean relating absent of any shame or irresponsibly expressed anger. They won't feel blamed simply for being themselves.

Here is where I give you two new tools - practices really - one for resolving shame, hopelessness and other “emotional atmospheres” as I like to call them, and one for dissolving anger while simultaneously building empathy and compassion.

If you master these simple practices, you will enjoy lasting and increased levels of joy, happiness, and ease, where you used to beat yourself up, get frustrated or angry - or blamed others for things and felt powerless.

You will become equanimous.

This will give you true power, but it is absent of any force.

One of my favorite translations of the word "guru" is "one who is solid in themselves" - so they can not be blown over by external events. I have no interest in being your guru. But I am heavily invested in helping you become your own guru.

These tools will speed you on that path.

Copyright

© Jason D McClain

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The Ultimate Meditation | The Law of Attraction is Already Working For You, But Not The Way You Might Think

Thinking-about-thinking-730x335 Metacognition is the most important capacity to develop for personal development

Communication skills: we often think of how skilled we are communicating with others but the more important skillset is how we communicate with ourselves.
 
You are communicating with yourself every second of every waking moment. Not just stuff you say to yourself. That's obvious. But futures you imagine. Situations you think about. Imaginings of outcomes.
 
This is why meta-cognition and meta-awareness is the most important capacity to develop of all.
 
The ability to rapidly notice any thoughts that do not serve you - because everything is self-hypnosis - and change them to positive and empowering thoughts is the ultimate skill.
 
For some, they never notice the negativities - and then they wonder why the Law of Attraction does not work for them. It is. It does. Whether you realize it or not. The thing you think about most often, for the longest duration, with the most emotional intensity will come to pass.
 
So if you wake up with anxiety, filled with worry, you are imagining negative futures or outcomes. Probably accompanied by internal self-talk about how you might fail or “what if it does not work out”? Sitting down for a 10-minute meditation to think positive thoughts about what you want to create is not going to counteract hours of worry and fear.
 
No.
 
The real meditation is becoming aware of every thought you think every moment of every day. Become aware of that - and master it - and you will master your emotions, your inner life, and ultimately realize your vision.
 
Even when stuff goes sideways - and you have unexpected crises, with this ingrained as a habit, you will recover much faster and find solutions far more easily, and do it while having the pleasure of knowing it will all work out just fine no matter what.

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This is an excerpt from Jason's forthcoming book on Evolutionary Relationships from the #RelationshipContinuum section.

To be Guided by Jason - whether you are currently in a relationship and want to transform it, or you are single and want to “do the next one right” - check out the Evolutionary Relationships offering.

Or just schedule a complimentary initial conversation here to get the process started.

 

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Facility With Self

meditating-suit-facility-self-woman Facility With Self and The Ultimate Skill

Facility With Self

The title of this piece is one of my favorite ways to sum up what I think is the ultimate capacity and the most valuable skill set in life is. It is also access to being emotionally free, flexible, and generally more happy, regardless of your circumstances.

This is also where I remind you that communication skills - and in this case, you are communicating with yourself - are physical skills. They are awkward at first. They take practice to become proficient in. They take repetition to master.

Gaining Facility With Self is the most challenging and most rewarding guiding principle - as well as a set of capacities - to take on. In addition, I assert that there is nothing in life external to one’s self that cannot be managed, overcome, conquered by having greater Facility with Self.

Many of you have asked me what this thing is. What are its component parts? This is complicated and the answer has been long coming, but this piece is written for the purpose of providing as complete an answer I can muster at my current level of insight and writing ability. 

I trust you will read it generously, knowing that some aspects of the distinctions are beyond these two elements currently - and must be demonstrated and/or experienced as they involve navigating our interiors.

Let me say that none of what I write here is the “truth”; I am not even interested in debating its accuracy—while I think I could. What I am asking you to do is try it on for the purpose of your own personal evolution. Not what is true but what is useful for that outcome and for the outcome of your own happiness via developing ultimate choice with your own emotional and mental experience.

Necessary Operating Assumptions

Most people are not even aware of their operating assumptions. You could also call these beliefs, filters, and presuppositions. One of the necessary first steps to Facility With Self is to acknowledge and take responsibility for the fact that we all have operating assumptions, beliefs, and filters. Most people operate as of the are their “truth”s. Most of them are sweeping generalizations created from moments when they assessed something in their experience and extrapolated from it—often inaccurately. Judgment—a necessary skill for survival—gone awry. Most people have assumptions that do not serve them. For example people are out for themselves; I can not control my emotions; men are a certain way and women are a certain way and that’s that; a leopard can not change its spots, etc.

Anyway, I consider the necessary assumptions | beliefs | filters for Facility with Self to be (at least) the following:

  • Taking responsibility or owning my part is the fastest way to build a healthy sense of self
  • I have assumptions—they are under my control
  • Some (most?) of my filters are out of my awareness; it is possible to bring them into my awareness by paying attention to my subjective experience and my language patterns
  • I am 100% responsible for my emotional experience—it is under control if I develop the necessary capacities said another way:
  • My subjective experience (emotional life) of the world is completely generated by me and is the result of my interpretations, beliefs, perceptions, preconceived notions, distortions, etc.
  • There is always a way - and always an ethical way 
  • Flexibility and variation of approach toward a specified outcome—focus on results and my effectiveness towards such—will provide optimal probabilities of achieving that outcome; a fixed approach leads to less than optimal results
  • I have no inner enemies; I have parts—who are sometimes in conflict, but who have positive purposes. These parts can be honored, understood fully, and integrated to resolve the internal conflict contributing to my congruity with my espoused values.

These items can also be summed up as “attitudes”.

Necessary Skills (imitating the Buddha)

Once the necessary attitudes are in place as operating presuppositions, there are some skills that come into play. The first is some agility in the ability to occupy multiple perceptual positions or to experience the world in “triple description”. Some people have asserted that the ability to move through all three perceptual positions - at will - to be a good operating definition of mental health. 

Additionally, the evidence, as well as the practice of Personal Evolution, is the ability to take on an ever-increasing number of perspectives. but without these foundational three, you will not have any facility at all.

What are these perceptual positions? At least the first three:

  • Self: being in your own body. Seeing out of your own eyes. Knowing what you want.
  • Other: walking in someone else’s shoes. Seeing the world through their eyes with their filters—feeling into them; empathy
  • Observer: the position of director of a play or an interested third party who is observing.

It is important to remember that these are holarchically arranged. They are also known as First, Second, and Third, respectively. Holarchy?  For example, paragraphs contain sentences, but not the reverse. Sentences contain words, but not the reverse. Words contain letters, but not the reverse. In the same way, Second - a second position shift - requires first, but not the other way around. Third A third perceptual shift requires the ability to occupy both first, then second, and then take the perspective of third. It could be said that this is simply a shift in attention. The ability to project your awareness or your consciousness to a space and then perceive the world from a different angle is the beginning of the acquisition of this skill. For instance, what does your head look like from the back? Pretend the floor you are sitting on is plexiglass—what do you look like from beneath? Etc. Why is this a critical skill? […]

"Going Meta"

Going meta to your experience and acquiring what is commonly referred to as “meta-cognition” is the ability to have not only awareness but choice over your own thought processes. This is what Buddha’s vipassana meditation technique teaches. It is a skill and this skill holds the promise of allowing you to liberate yourself from the emotional roller-coasters - the vicissitudes - of life.

Once you can see the process is of your own making, and then master it, you will be truly free.

An event happens and then ⟹ you interpret it in a certain way, which leads to ⟹ your emotional reaction, and in that reaction, ⟹ you then make it mean something (your generalize) - often creating a limiting belief -  which then ⟹ leads to an emotional atmosphere.

Most people think this is a one-step process:  Something happens and then ⟹ they feel bad.

And most humans then blame the other person or external circumstances for the feeling. And in the process of blaming - lose all of their power.

This is why the most fundamental orientation to all of your experience is one of 100% responsibility - it is your access to choice and power.

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