I’ve had conversations recently with colleagues, clients and friends who have been re-examining the direction of their life and work… They’ve felt unfulfilled, frustrated, empty, and in touch with an inner deadness that is demanding to be brought to life. I’m no stranger to the experience, myself, of course – two years ago I had an idea about writing a children’s story about a dragon who loses his fire, and goes in search of it. In exploring this idea, I had to admit that I was that dragon! I think many of us reach a point where we feel inauthentic and unfulfilled, doing what we do.
I’ve become interested in stuckness… It’s a phenomenon that I experience in myself from time to time – as a corrosive inability to make progress in a chosen direction of travel. Stuckness is also something that – as coaches and consultants – we often hear new clients describing when they come to work with us. Of course we hope to add value by providing professional support, yet how easy is it to ‘unstick’ someone?
‘Breakthrough’ may be a buzzword but it is also a vitally important concept in personal, organisational and social transformation. Yet what exactly do we mean when we say that someone ‘has had a breakthrough’, or that something is a ‘breakthrough approach’?
I’ve just had a fascinating conversation with a friend and colleague who has been exploring Maxie Maultsby's work on our strategies for engaging with our experience. He asked me the following – very challenging – questions:
“This was ‘lightbulb learning’ for me!” said a new client I did some constellations work for recently. Constellations is an approach that is becoming increasingly popular with coaches. As a methodology, it works with the view that when we feel stuck in some part of our work or life, something is out of balance in the system (such as the team or organisation) we are a part of. If we can spot the hidden dynamics, and really acknowledge where the drag factors are historically or currently, change can happen organically.
I’ve come to the conclusion that leadership courses taught in the business world are largely ineffective. They might help people understand leadership as a concept; they might help people to take more effective action as a leader but they do not routinely help people be leaders.
‘A dot means everything,’ said the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. A dot is not only the origin of the work of art, it also distils the essence of the subject and captures the quality of relationship of the artist to his or her work of art. A dot thus becomes an exquisitely expressive punctuation point in the creative process.