So much of transformational work lies in developing our ability to notice ourselves.
It sounds so simple and easy — it makes my work sound stupid.
My hunch is that this is why transformational work generally tends to be overlooked. “Just noticing something? Surely there’s more to this than that, and if that’s the heart of the work, why would I need to engage someone for a lot of time and money to do that? I’m good. Thanks Adam.”
The funny thing is how resistant we are to noticing the way we’re showing up.
Like, you could tell me to just notice the times when I wear the colour white, and I’m not going to have too much trouble doing that. I don’t really have much of my identity invested in the idea that “I’m a guy that doesn’t wear white clothing”.
But if you invited me to notice how resistant I am to receiving feedback and having my leadership developed, or how unwilling I am to be responsible… ooof.
I’ve got a lot wrapped up in the idea that I’m committed to being open to feedback, being a yes to having my leadership developed and to being responsible.
It’s not so much that these ways of showing up are particularly subtle (usually our shadow is anything but subtle) — it’s that we have a veil obscuring ourselves from seeing them.
You know what this is like. You’ve probably had a friend or partner ask you why you think they aren’t achieving some result, you tell them, plainly, the BLOODY OBVIOUS reason why they aren’t achieving that result, and they just shake their head and say “No, I don’t think that’s it”.
You want to shake them and shout, “NO, FOR REAL. THAT’S IT.”
It’s not their fault — they just, literally, cannot see it.
So, noticing something is often a process of softening our internal stance to the idea of its existence.
Like, if I’m trying to create deeper friendships, I might have to start noticing the way I continually push people away, even though what I crave more than anything is to have people feel like they belong.
I need to soften to the idea that I might actively push people away from me, even if that’s the opposite of my intention.
This is a humbling process, because on the surface, it seems like we should just be able to do it, easily.
I think this is another reason why transformation is stepped over. We just don’t like how stupid it can make us feel.
“Everyone else can see this — why can’t I?”
It’s just too close to you, that’s why.
So, we practise.
You might want to know the answer to the question, “How do I stop pushing people away?”, but that’s not really where there is to look.
Instead, what there is to do is soften to the idea that you push people away, and start noticing how you do that. Once you can see it, all there is left to do is stop doing it.
It’s simple. That’s why it’s hard.