We think we are thinking our thoughts when, most of the time,
our thoughts are thinking us. — Michael Neill
Navigating Change from the Inside Out
I hadn't intended to write an article today, yet the topic's significance compelled me to share it.
Occasionally, a social media post resonates deeply, offering me a moment of clear insight on a crucial subject. My apologies if you've received too many emails lately.
In today's world, where everything seems instantaneous, true personal transformation and growth often take a back seat.
Given all the rapid change and challenges we face, it's more important than ever to recognize that the space of stillness within can offer a continuous source of clarity and insight, regardless of external circumstances or past experiences.
Recently, Adam Danyal, a recognized leadership voice on LinkedIn, posted on LinkedIn about people's typical emotional response to change or loss, stating it "progresses from denial to anger, then bargaining, followed by depression, and ultimately leads to acceptance."
This observation reminded me of the powerful influence of our ego and thinking mind. However, we all can get on a path where change happens more easily and naturally, opening the door for profound personal transformation.
This aspect of inner change and my experience with it prompted me to mention it in the first question I asked in the interviews at Forward Thinking Workplaces: "How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?" Of course, not everyone believes that's possible.
The Power of Perspective
Danyal's viewpoint is well-recognized in modern psychology and is based on the model of the five stages of grief. While many of us accept this as the "standard" response, I thought it might be helpful to offer a nuanced perspective, drawing from my own 13-year inner journey.
"Let's view this from a different angle. This model is based on the influence of our ego and thinking mind. Change becomes difficult when we get caught up in the constant flow of thoughts from our ego-centric mind, which prefers the familiar and clings to past experiences. However, when we neutrally observe our thoughts without getting attached or being judgmental, we free ourselves from their grip, paving the way for smoother, more natural change."
This perspective is neither a contradiction nor a complete departure from Danyal's. Instead, it invites us to recognize the power of self-awareness and introspection in navigating change.
The Inner Leader Journey
Referring to this process as the 'inner leader journey,' it's about self-discovery and alignment with our true essence. True transformation is seldom about changing the world outside; it often starts with changing the world inside. This inward alignment diminishes the ego's resistance and lets us fully embrace the present.
Joseph Jaworski's "Synchronicity" is an exemplary guide for those wishing to explore the profound path of inner leadership. Dee Hock, the visionary founder and CEO emeritus of Visa, has also emphasized the importance of this internal journey, stating that it's the path we must all embark upon in the 21st century.
For those not subscribed to my site, SpaceB, the inner journey is what I write about exclusively there. This is also where we source our content and ideas for the LeaderONE Leader workshops we run each month.
I believe embracing change is about embracing ourselves. While many models provide a framework to understand our reactions, the internal journey offers us tools to shape them.
As leaders or individuals striving for growth, recognizing the profound influence of our inner narratives is the first step to personal evolution.
By turning inward, we don't ignore or discount the world outside. Instead, we equip ourselves better to face it.
I invite you to share your perspective on this important topic on LinkedIn.
— BillBill Fox, Founder @ SpaceB, LeaderONE, and Forward Thinking Workplaces