Many people are involved in the business of change while very few actually create real change.
What type of change leader are you?
Change Where Everyone Wins — What?
After 30 years of working as a leader of change, I’ve come to think of there being two kinds of change:
- incremental improvements in process and productivity, and
- fundamental shifts that change the game and result in improvements where everyone wins.
While I am a “get ’er done” kind of gal, my heart is also intent on solutions that work for everyone: people, profit and planet. Where profit is no longer the singular measure of success, but instead one of many ways to succeed.
This call to fundamental change has taken my original training in software engineering into the nether reaches of leadership and conflict resolution.
Once I saw a glimpse of what was possible (nothing less than a meaningful livelihood for everyone) I just couldn’t unsee it!
What I'm now consistently seeing is a decline in “us versus them” dynamics in workplaces...
And more and more experiences that work for everyone.
The First Edition Was MANY Years Ago!
I posted the first edition of this article on December 1, 2013, and since then I've gone from feeling like an outlier to being one of many. You might have heard of Collective Intelligence, Game B, Holocracy, Sociocracy, and more. All have decades of experience forging healthier ways of working.
In this article, I'm sharing my experience and perspective about where to start and what's possible in creating omni-win organizations. I’m interested in your beliefs and approaches as well, so please share in the comments section at the end.
The ideas I’ve shared here are a culmination of 21 years of work as a change agent that started when I entered the American University / National Training Labs Masters program in Organization Development at AU/NTL. My work evolved to include coaching, and eventually encompassed conscious entrepreneurship as I started my own business.
I wanted to be like the rare change leaders I encountered who inspired me: People with integrity who did what they said, who had the intelligence to do what was right for as many people as possible, and who showed courage in the face of obstacles or pressure to conform.
I wanted to be a leader who walked my talk.
In The Beginning I Thought The Problem Was ‘Them’
Little did I know just how difficult it would be to be the kind of leader I aspired to! I left the corporate world expecting to be rid of the competitive, life-depleting, and limiting situations I had experienced, hoping to create change via more enlightened entrepreneurship...
What I discovered was that people created the same dysfunction in small businesses as in large. I eventually discovered ‘the enemy,’ and it was me!
Next came the most intense and grueling period of my life as I healed many wounds and faced my deepest fears, all while discovering what enlightened relationships and business could look like.
I documented the best of what I learned online, using my technical background to design and refine systems, simple tools, and coaching programs to guide both myself and others to create real change in their lives and work — instead of perpetuating patterns of dysfunction.
Enlightened Entrepreneurship: A First Step
Enlightened entrepreneurship, that aspires to the healthiest and highest potential of people (as well as profit), is possible when you build on what works from the past, while also having a clear sense of your highest purpose and vision.
You must know that something new is achievable.
The biggest challenge is to clearly see beyond the current ‘reality’ which you’ll need to build from, to what is possible when you allow your frustration with ‘what is’ to inspire your imagination.
The dynamic tension between ‘the now’ and ‘what could be’ is what fuels our creative expression, expands what we know to be possible, and calls forth our most enlightened selves.
I know you know that change starts with you: “Be the change” is a motto most change agents aspire to. But it’s only when you are personally willing to experience radical change, the kind that delves deeply into the root of your being, and exposes the protected shadow places where you hide your brilliance, that you will uncover the power and illumination to see a way forward to what is truly possible.
Enlightenment is not a goal you achieve, but instead is a way you travel.
Enlightenment is what the world needs from you right now.
What is Old Paradigm?
While there are many aspects of traditional business and families that are positive, that we can build on, it is ‘old paradigm’ thinking that created the over-consumption of resources, abuses of power , and dysfunctional relationships that now dominate how most people work and live.
One thing I’ve learned from experience that needs repeating:
Moving into new paradigms requires bringing forward the best of the past. I’m not saying old paradigm is all bad!
What is New Paradigm?
As many of you know, we are at a turning point in history where our currently unsustainable ways of living are transitioning into a new way, where love, respect, and peace for everyone and everything on this planet will prevail. These sentiments are not idealistic nonsense. They are doable necessities if we want to stop destroying the environment that sustains us.
Whether you call it a new paradigm, or a conscious, more heart-centered way of being, it’s about breaking free from the limitations of old.
Transition From Old to New
To successfully participate in this transition from old to new paradigms, you’ll need to step back far enough to see the big picture, which includes an honest look at the root causes of ‘old paradigm’ problems and an examination of how you chose to participate in these issues. Education, energy, the environment, government, business, the arts, and health care are all suffocating under the weight of dysfunction.
The Challenges We’re Facing
Some of the challenges we face in different areas of society are strikingly similar and related:
- the use of uniform standards that stifle the unique brilliance of individuals and hide a fundamental lack of trust in people,
- the feeling that most people live with, of never doing, being, or having enough that leads to over consumption and over work,
- the hoarding of power, money, and resources for some at the expense of others that creates a widening gap between rich and poor,
- the conflict between opposing factions and ideas of right or wrong that creates gridlock in organizations of all kinds,
- a focus on money and profits as the source of our survival which distorts and constricts the creativity we need to actually survive, let alone thrive,
- the valuing of what can be proven via scientific processes above the essential and invisible energy that is revealed through all manner of art and creative expression,
- a belief that disease and dysfunction are the norm rather than knowing that health and vitality are our ‘true nature,
- ’the practice of seeing a minority of people as talented rather than striving for the full expression of the real and potential gifts of every person on this planet.
The Root Cause is Fear
These obdurate challenges we are facing (across all areas of society) are not inevitable as many people think. Instead, these challenges are caused by old paradigm behaviors which are driven by fear.
Dysfunction Feels Normal
Groups and organizations (including families) dominated by fear and scarcity thinking are characterized by a lack of trust, win/lose situations, either/or thinking, limited ideas of power governed by hierarchical structures, and a palpable discomfort with the ‘faults and failings’ of people or ways of being that don’t fit within the norm.
I know I risk over-simplifying very complex issues by identifying fear and scarcity thinking as the root cause, and yet it’s possible to see how each of these challenges has fear and scarcity at its core. I welcome your response to this proposition in the comments area at the bottom of this document!
New Paradigm Behaviors
New paradigm behaviors, on the other hand, originate from the energy of love and abundance thinking, and lead to innovative, creative, and inspired action – including omni-win experiences, which lead to omni-win organizations.
Individuals and groups anchored in love and abundance are characterized by resilience, learning, growth, healing, possibility-thinking, shared leadership, unlimited power, collaboration, omni-win solutions, and a playful and compassionate view of their humanity.
My inquiry to you is:
Are the change efforts you are involved with, including your leading, coaching, consulting, speaking, or teaching anchored in fear and scarcity?
If you are not consciously creating the new paradigm from love and abundance, I say without judging you as bad or wrong:
You are not effectively solving the problems you are trying to fix, nor are you powerfully contributing to more heart-centered, higher-level consciousness ways of living and working.
Yes, The Old Paradigm is Compelling
I understand why people participate in the old ways: “I need to do it so I can earn a living” or “it’s where the opportunities are” or “it’s how I get my foot in the door.”
Yes, and unless you are crystal-clear about the transition between the old and new paradigms, it’s almost impossible to break free from the dominant cultural and societal influences that reinforce old ways that no longer serve.
The New Paradigm Requires
I posit that you will create real and positive change only if:
- you understand the root cause thinking that limits the old paradigm,
- you are committed to a path of personal and collective enlightenment starting in the present moment,
- and you have a clear purpose and vision rooted in the new paradigm of love and abundance.
If your change efforts are truly aimed at overcoming the challenges characterized by fear and scarcity thinking and you take a stand for the new paradigm as I’ve described above, then congratulations! I am very interested in learning more about your beliefs and approaches so please add your comments below!
The Problem is Not...
One of the benefits of having worked as a solo entrepreneur, in large corporations, with non-profits, in family owned businesses, in education, academia, health care and with artists – is the opportunity to see the same challenges across these many situations. It’s why I can look at government and know that...
‘Big’ is not the problem: solo entrepreneurs and non-profits are just as dysfunctional as large government systems – only in slightly different ways.
Groups and organizations, large and small, are simply a reflection of the consciousness of their participants.
Systems of oppression are a reflection of our dominant way of thinking based in fear and scarcity, characterized by win-lose, either-or dynamics.
When individual thinking becomes healthier, happier, and more abundant, the systems people work within will reflect that change.
The Solution Looks Like...
Change efforts that lead us into the territory of the new paradigm begin with 3 simple steps that anchor a person in love and abundance. This most basic and important foundation includes:
I = Identify With energy
Your identity, who you know yourself to be, and who you see yourself becoming, defines what you are capable of, and what you believe to be possible.
Most people unconsciously identify with their fears and doubts. For example, the person who struggles with depression says “I am depressed” and is thus limited by their depressed mindset.
Until you become self-aware enough to know yourself and examine how your thoughts define your identity, your capabilities are limited by your unconscious fears and scarcity beliefs, and you will experience resistance to any change you attempt to make in your own life or with others.
When you consciously choose to identify with your Life-force energy, the most gifted and alive aspects of yourself, what is possible expands.
Discovering your ‘energetic self’ as infinite, loving, abundant energy gives you access to the personal power that allows you to create your work and life exactly as you want or (more likely) better than you can imagine.
When you identify with your energy, you discover the essential part you play in the whole of creation.
You’ll experience the important role in co-creating what you’re inspired to express, including aspects of the new paradigm.
You’ll discover your inherent belonging to Life.
A = Abundance Based Realities
Most people unconsciously perceive reality through the lens of ‘not enough’ – time, space, energy, money, love, and the like.
This 'not enough' perspective informs your sense of self and translates into “I’m not enough,” “I’m bad,” “I’m flawed,” or even in the extreme “I’m worthless.”
Within scarcity, self-worth is always conditional and the effort to earn love and validation is endless.
Scarcity consciousness creates a constant state of fear, anxiety, and distress. It keeps you in a recurring state of fight or flight. It is a root cause of struggle and conflict in your life.
Scarcity consciousness is a state of being that is constricted and unhealthy, based on a reality that is disconnected or separate from your energetic aspects, and rooted in fear.
Once you begin to identify with your energetic aspects, you’ll see the world from the perspective of love and abundance, connected with the reality of your true abundant nature.
You’ll see that there are infinite resources always available to all, and this informs your relationship with everything: material things, space, time, love, people – all the basic aspects of your experience.
You’ll begin to know “I am enough, I am good enough” as the essential and inherent quality of your being.
More so, it means you are infinitely loveable, resourceful, and powerful. Yes power anchored in love is healthy!
Consequently an abundance-based reality promotes a sense of self that is increasingly relaxed, confident, brilliantly creative, expansive, and loving.
It promotes a growing sense of profound trust in yourself and the world you inhabit.
You feel safe, loved, and you’ll have sense of unconditional inherent worth.
Most importantly, you will realize that claiming yourself as infinitely loving and abundantly powerful – empowers others and vice versa.
In abundance-based realities, we all rise together.
M = Master The Flip
The shift from an identity and perspective based on fear and scarcity to that which is anchored in love and abundance can be described as ‘the flip.’
Fear and scarcity-thinking reside in the beliefs (habits of thinking) and energetic patterns that run through your neural pathways, emotional charges, and physical body.
Any situation that triggers a reaction, whether it’s your mind racing, an emotional discharge, or physical pain – is an opportunity to heal from the hurts of past experiences and reconnect with the infinite and loving power that is the substance of your energetic self and Life.
Any resistance to change that you experience is actually a request from the wisest parts of yourself to pause and take a closer look at who you are, so you can heal the limited thinking, fears, and wounds that are getting in the way of the full abundant expression of your creative potential.
Resistance is a quality of existing in physical form, not for the purpose of creating frustration, struggle, or suffering, but for the purpose of using your experience of physical reality to awaken to the truth of your energetic self, to illuminate the brilliant light of your being, for the purpose of knowing your highest self, and your unique expression as a part of creation.
THE FLIP is a process of venturing into the dark shadows of your unconscious self, so you can see/experience the fears, beliefs, wounds, and resistance that are constricting or limiting the expression of your creative expression.
When you bring Love to the process of flipping, you will:
- heal the tender wounds you’ve been investing energy in protecting,
- dissolve the thinking that limits and no longer serves,
- release newfound energy that you can use to fuel your change efforts,
- see omni-win possibilities that are not visible from the old paradigm.
The flip is not an event because it’s not something that happens only once, but over and over again, easier and easier each time, as you expand your connection with your energetic self, discovering another pocket of personal and creative power with each flip.
When you master the flip, you illuminate more and more of your energetic capacity with each wound that you uncover, reaction that you trigger, and resistance that you encounter.
When you master the flip, resistance dissolves and you welcome each opportunity to flip as a blessing and a gift.
The flip becomes a nuanced awareness of transforming limiting thought forms into reclaimed personal power.
Enlightenment is experienced with each flip and becomes a way of living, your spiritual path if that's how you experience Life, and your greatest possible contribution to creating positive, real change.
New Paradigm, New Realities
When you claim your IAM with these 3 basic and foundational steps:
I = Identify With Energy
A = Abundance Based Realities
M = Master The Flip
you become ‘the IAM, that IAM,’ where ‘that’ is whatever you desire to be or create as called forth by Life.
What was previously hidden behind clouds of fear and scarcity emerges as the creative energy that wants to express through you.
The un-nameable, infinitely powerful, unknowable, mysterious, pure potential, vastness of the Universe becomes known and visible in that moment – at first as desire revealed as an emerging word, thought, idea – and eventually in physical form or action.
Desire is inherently good and the engine of all creativity.
When you playfully explore your ‘IAM, that IAM’ desire with self-love and honesty, you discover your deepest and most authentic expression, and your life purpose.
From that place of clarified desire, which is your highest good and greatest fulfillment, you move with ease and grace to allow what you want to manifest, in joyous co-creation with the Universe.
Ultimately you will realize that what you authentically want is not only good for you, it is good for everyone.
Likewise, you will recognize that the authentic desires of others are good for you. In this way, you create synergy with everyone. And I mean EVERYONE!
IAM synergizes with IAM so that...
Love and abundance generates more love and abundance.
From the foundation of IAM, you can cleanly wield the personal power, clarity of purpose, and fuel of passion needed to create real and positive change within the realm of the new paradigm, without getting lost in fear and scarcity thinking.
You eliminate the self-sabotage and judgment of ‘what is’ that only serves to polarize and create opposition to change, because you see your current situation as a blessing and a gift which serves you and others in our journey of enlightenment and creative expression.
The Problem Becomes the Portal...
As the community I meditate with has discovered.
Old Paradigm Leadership Traps
Without the foundation of IAM, you will likely proceed in creating a jumble of change that lands in the realm of the old paradigm limitations.
Examples, of what I've seen this look like include:
Believing that you have to heal your ‘core wound’ before you can be an effective change agent.
If we wait for this to happen, there will be no change until all of humanity is enlightened! Better to be a ‘perfect work-in-progress’ and use the gift of your wounds to create enlightenment now, and guide the process of change forward.
There is no arriving on the IAM path, so let’s make all manner of healing essential to the journey.
Thinking that the change you are creating is in others.
I believe that the new paradigm includes a shift from reality being perceived from the outside in, to understanding that reality is created from the inside out. After all, ‘inside of you’ is where your abundant power resides (as it does for everyone) and you must claim this power if you are to create a better world.
So ‘Be the change’ is indeed the way. Your role as a new paradigm leader is to first create the change in yourself and then invite others to do the same, in their own way, in their own time.
Making anything bad or wrong, including your ego, your enemies, your faults, or any aspect of the old paradigm.
When you make part of your life bad or wrong, you create resistance to the flow of creation that is guiding you to the new paradigm. (Have you figured out that we’ll never ‘get there’?!) Every bit of ‘what is’ is something you have created as a blessing to fuel the transformation needed to manifest the changes you want. It’s all good folks!
Falling back into the either/or thinking that is the basis of a ubiquitous scarcity mindset.
For example, your journey into ‘the new’ will present you with all kinds of wonderful ideas like “servant leader” which might tempt you to think being strong leader is a bad idea....
Beware! The abundance perspective teaches you that the Universe is big enough to include all polarities. Your work is to expand your being to include all paradoxes:
- expert and learner,
- strong and vulnerable,
- leader and follower,
- intention and surrender,
- help and empower,
- certainty and mystery,
- fierce and fragile,
- expansion and contraction,
- love and fear,
- abundance and scarcity.
New Paradigm Characteristics
There are many qualities and characteristics of the new paradigm, including these shifts:
- from win/lose compromises to win/win creations.
- from win/lose competition to win/win collaboration.
- from command and control domination to participative approaches.
- from money being the primary goal of business to money being in service to our highest creative expression.
- from suffering and struggle to a continuum of effort from working hard to working light.
- from limited power allocated by hierarchical structures to abundant power wielded by all for the good of all.
- from limited views of people's talents to diverse and varied perspectives that lead to exploring how everyone's talents can be contributed.
- from success being defined by material acquisitions to success as defined by happiness, health, fulfillment, meaning, joy, and creativity – or whatever you want.
- from force, manipulation, and control to personal power, influence, and inspiration - with control as needed.
- from providing formulas and expert advice on how to create success to guiding people to create authentic and unique expressions of success.
As you can probably see from the paradoxes I have presented and the shifts I have suggested, I believe the territory of the new paradigm will be interesting to understand. For example, when we consider money, control, and competition from a scarcity perspective, they take on abusive and harmful qualities. But those same characteristics considered from an abundance perspective could go from being benign to downright delightful, especially when you think of unlimited supplies of income for everyone!
And so I believe that IAM foundations are, as defined here and by many others, KEY to the new paradigm and our efforts to create change which is liberated from the limiting and distorted mindset of scarcity.
Even scarcity from the perspective of abundance serves a useful and positive purpose!
Who knows what will be useful when we are free from the limitations of fear and scarcity thinking?
Become a New Paradigm Leader
IAMX is the approach I've created to support the development of New Paradigm Leaders and organizations.
IAMX includes a single process that can be used to create alignment between individuals, teams, and organizations – synergizing personal differences into collective genius.
It results in leaders at every level of your organization working to create better ways of doing business — that are equitable, just, omni-win, and both meaningful and profitable at the same time.
Use IAMX to:
- ensure unique, authentic, individual brilliance is called out without compromise — in service to the purpose of your organization.
- navigate confusion, complexity, and uncertainty — for both individuals and organizations.
- strategic planning, leadership development, organization development, career development and making sure strategy and tactics are aligned.
I believe that the first and most important step in the process of shifting into New Paradigm realities is to remember and claim, over and over again, the reality of your energetic self, Your True Self, or your IAM: you are an infinitely loving and abundant human being, a reflection of Creation which is likewise infinitely loving and abundant.
I believe that being a New Paradigm leader means being a love and abundance based leader. It requires first and foremost tending to your IAM foundation and being the change you want to see in the world.
From your centered IAM, you can invite others into their IAM via a variety of activities that guide people to know their IAM, and develop the work and life skills and practices needed to follow their true and authentic path, aligned with their IAM.
I believe that what I’ve shared in this article is one way to create real and lasting change in the world and that there are many other ways.
The details of what New Paradigm realities might look like? We get to have fun co-creating that. The possibilities are endless!
The world I see holds love, respect, and peace for everyone and everything on earth and in the Universe.
I see an unrestricted and unlimited flow of loving and abundant life-force energy that leads to innovative, creative, and inspired action.
Individuals and groups anchored in love and abundance are characterized by resilience, learning, growth, healing, possibility thinking, shared leadership, unlimited power, collaboration, omni-win solutions, and a playful and compassionate view of their humanity.
Where to Start with IAMX?
True Self Leadership is the beginning of learning the IAMX approach.
I'd love to know your thoughts about being a New Paradigm Leader! Please share your comments below!