Evolutionary Blog

Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

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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Becoming Attached to [and Disidentifying from] Our Clients' Outcomes

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One of the CLC3 Apprentices recently asked me a very important question.

He asked about the problem of becoming attached to the outcomes of the client--in other words, “what happens if they do not achieve them? What happens if they do not hold up their end of the bargain [doing homework, reading, etc.], and what does that mean about us? How do I avoid this problem—and the discomfort of it all”.

“And what happens if--even worse, they have already paid in advance in full and it becomes clear they are not keeping up with the milestones that are necessary as sign-posts on the way to their destination we call 'goals' or 'outcomes'? What do we do?”

This is an important question and it has a several-part answer. It is important because it comes up for most coaches and practitioners; at some point you really, really want XYZ for the client. Yes, they must be outcomes the client wants [not outcomes you see they "need" but they do not resonate with] but even still, with their outcomes we get emotionally engaged--we care--and we want them to have XYZ really badly.

Part of the challenge is that we are not responsible for the lives of our clients--we can't be. They would get less out of the process if we were; at best, we would actually be inhibiting their growth if we take on that responsibility. They might blame us; they would take less responsibility for creating the life they want and deserve. It could become the coaches "fault" or for some, the coaching [or whatever you call the process] will be just another thing that did not work for them, etc.

And we created that with our attachment.

So the first part of the answer is to make clear to the client--practically--that we are not responsible for their life; that they are. How do we do this? We write it directly into the client-coach agreement that they "are responsible for the results of their life, business, relationship", etc. And given how some people can be when they are making large life-altering decisions, we review the agreement and then we further clarify and have them initial each paragraph while reviewing it with them to make sure we have done our due diligence as a practitioner in making sure they understand the nature of the relationship is one of trusted adviser--nothing more—and that they understand the agreement in full.

That is the practical aspect.

What about the interpersonal aspect? The actual coaching dynamic? Because you see, to complicate matters if you seem attached [that is you start become emotionally attached to their outcomes, you may engage them in a way that has them polarize, dig in, and resist you--and they start to resist you in ways that will not serve the process overall.

Or worse...

Or worse--they do not do their "homework"--whatever that may be or represent--and they are scared to tell you. In the worse cases they may simply go missing in action. Or they become dishonest.

This is simply another reason I am not a "coach" I am a "Guide" and that approach is something I am careful to embody in every interaction--they do not do their "homework" I communicate to them--with a compassionate smile and a shrug--that I want them to get their outcomes. That I care; and I may even ask them how they best want to be supported. How they want to be held accountable--and I have them design the dynamic.

I have found this softer approach--with nothing for them to resist or push back against--is far more effective than any hard-nosed techniques by far.

Finally [and at times most importantly] is our own development as we, as practitioners, continue our path: who we are is not the results we assist clients in achieving [both positive, amazing over-the-top goals as well as "failures". Who we are is not that.

Those are the results we assist them in producing, to be sure, and we are professionally responsible for that, but who we are is that which is experiencing it all. Who we are is that Witness; that locus of awareness. And as we come from that place, we will be even more effective, they will feel more freedom to expand and grow within that gentle, ever-present embrace. From that place, where universal beauty unfolds, we are reminded why we do what we do--for that expansion. And within that expansion a better, more joyous, more beautiful world awaits us all.

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The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches Make and Their Solutions (Part 2)

The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches and Practitioners Make (Part 2)

In Part 1 we discussed the need to integrate money and spirutality, and how to better serve your clients's needs in a sustainable way.

What’s next? More nuts and bolts to build on the philosophical grounding and mindsets we established in Part 1.

4: Having only one stream of prospects

Most coaches and practitioners rely solely on word of mouth and word of mouth is good. In the 21st century marketplace there are hyper-empowered and talkative people. This is good for you. However, it is not enough. Make a decision now to take control–to be the locus of responsibility–for the success of your business. While word of mouth is critical, it is only one of at least three prospect streams the successful coach or practitioner must establish for themselves. What are those three?

•Formalized referral systems [two of them]

•Speaking engagements and free evening talks

•Word of mouth

Referral Systems

•An affiliate program with a percentage or fee for referrals; offer to pay a commission – a generous one.

•Write a referral clause into your client contract stating that if the client is happy with your services that they then agree to refer two people to you for a complimentary exploratory session. While you never want to be heavy handed about this, it does set their intention and focus their awareness on a more formal approach to referrals. And wouldn’t you rather pay them than pay for advertising (online or otherwise)?

Evening Talks | Introductory Talks | Speaking Engagements

These are the bread and butter of filling your practice and keeping it full. When you give talk make it explicit in your marketing and in your introductory remarks that you are there for two reasons:

1.     To provide value to their lives–first and foremost and;

2.     To market your services and/or products, course

Say this at the beginning – in the first three minutes – and let them know you will be revisiting what is available to them at the end. And then at the end of your talk, pass around a signup sheet for them and next – and this is critical – if they expressed interest, initiate contact with within 24 hours with an initial email beginning the sales flow process of your sales system.

Word Of Mouth

Consider this a great backup and occasional unexpected icing on the cake when those unintentional or random referrals occur. And occur they will. Sometimes they come from something you posted online or from a referral you were unaware of or a former client you have not contacted in a while.

If you do this, and you consider them in this order of importance, you will always be in control of your flow of clients and prospects–and they will flow in. Your sustainable prosperity will follow.

5. Failure To Leverage Contact Points And The Opportunity They Hold

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The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches Make and Their Solutions (Part 1)

The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches and Practitioners Make (And Their Solutions) Part 1


It is stunning how many coaches and practitioners are competent at what they do–yet struggle financially, mentally, and emotionally around their business. In fact, even though coaching is a $2 Billion business and growing, most coaches never make more than $25,000 per annum – and many end up doing it as a hobby or giving up and ceasing their contributions entirely.

There are reasons for this. I have identified the top 6 reasons–and their solutions-that I have found in my experience in my own business as well as observing those who still have a “practice”.

1. A Lack of Integral Thinking: “Money and Spirituality are in Conflict”

We were taught for thousands of years that to profit was bad—and there is a good reason for that. For thousands of years one had to pillage, conquer, enslave, and exploit to acquire wealth. While there was a time when one could only profit by exploitation and manipulation or by inheritance or plunder, this has not been accurate for well over a century. With the rise of the services industry, you can offer your deepest contribution to the world – your deepest gifts – and profit as a result of what you have given – not what you take.

The truth is, it is not only possible to come from service and contribution in a “for profit” environment–that is to live a purpose-filled life–but also to profit well from it and to live prosperously. It takes some personal work–being mindful of your thinking, cleaning out your unconscious imprints of guilt and shame, and parental imprints about money are usually a good start—to constantly be of service while building sufficient esteem for your self to recognize the value you are bringing to another’s life and to have them provide that value monetarily in exchange.

It also takes a lack of attachment to “closing that deal” and being more focused on service and “opening relationships”–and much more.

Actually, I have found what can be provided to our clients’ lives is priceless to them. Fees are insignificant when weighed against what the work we do in their lives will make possible. It is not a commodity. It is a gateway to greater freedom and happiness. We can live a spiritually oriented life—and integrate free-market, service-based principles into that.

By doing so, we integrate our spiritual and our financial life – and integration our culture desperately needs—and allows us to flourish spiritually while prospering financially.

2. Lack of Skill: Sales and Marketing

We have all had negative experience with sales people. Not sales professionals, but sales people—that is, people who want to “close a deal” rather than open a relationship. Most sales trainers teach techniques with little regard for a philosophical base or grounding. I do not support that.

I used to think sales was a dirty word – because I saw so many sales people doing icky things. That was until I realized that until I could influence people to take action in their lives I could never really do much good in the world.  You can only be a positive agent for change if you can inspire others to move beyond their current thinking—the thinking that has them in their current life situation and has stopped them from being fully free and thriving; from having the life they desire and deserve.

Therefore—If you truly want to do good in the world, it becomes your duty—yes, your duty—to assist others in overcoming their limitations. That means learning to sell and market your services in a compelling way that comes from service and contribution while combining that with powerful tool of influence.

You must gain those skills if you want to make a difference and be prosperous.

While it may be hard to swallow at first [took me years to accept] you must be a sales professional first—that is you must be able to inspire your prospective clients toward their own expanded vision of their life and future—if you want to live your purpose and prosper. You must use a sales system that is in alignment with your holistic values, but use a sales system you must.

3. A Lack of Sustainable Structure: Service, Sustainability, and Packages

Once you are coming from service and contribution, you begin to consider what would best serve the client.

Most practitioners have session-by-session practices or monthly packages, but they do not have comprehensive packages that have stages and phases in them. How many people out there have dabbled here and dabbled there and never really bucked down and did the deep work to reveal greater depths within themselves? I have found most clients approach their personal development this way: “Well, I have tried this and I have tried that…but I never really got what I needed”.

Would you go to a chiropractor once – or for a month – and expect your posture to be transformed permanently? Of course not. Would you go to the gym and hire a physical trainer for one or two – or even a half dozen – sessions and expect your body to be transformed? Of course not.  And yet we assume that when it comes to the context of change and transformation with the mind. We can affect profound change in just a session or two, sure, but the client’s entire life will not be changed or certainly not changed permanently. For that, we need stable context and continued work – at least 3 to 6 months. But we also have to create those packages so that they unfold in phases.

The best thing you can do as a coach or a practitioner is to find a way to create a compelling 3-stage or 3-phase offering that allows the client to reveal greater and greater depths or to attain greater and greater heights. For a massage therapist, this may mean something like:

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Money and Spirituality | The Mythos of Conflict

One of the things that I am committed to changing in the world is the painful separation of Spirit and wealth acquisition.

So many people think they have to sacrifice their spiritual life to make money or they think they have to sacrifice wealth to be truly spiritual.The truth is quite the opposite. Not only can we integrate them, but we must.

I think we can all agree, that if these were integrated--if people were acquiring wealth AND living a robust spiritual life in the same time -- then so much of the unethical stuff we have seen in the financial markets in the last few years would not have happened. 

For our world to solve so many problems it has, not only can we integrate spiritual sensibilities and wealth acquisition--we must. Integrate your purpose and prosperity. End the suffering of this painful separation by integrating your purpose and your prosperity.

That is the what and the why of Evolutionary Sales. The course teaches you the how. February 28th, March 1st and 2nd in San Francisco. 

Watch the 14 minute video about the course »here«:
http://evolutionarysales.com

 
Come to the free evening introduction for the course in San Francsico next Tuesday. Details on Facebook »here«.
 
In Service,
 
Jason

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