Leading Blog






04.03.17

Are You Living an Adult Story?

Adult Story

I

N The Leadership Gap, Lolly Daskal makes clear to us that “if we want to continue to have a positive impact on the world and make a difference, we must constantly rethink the instincts that drive us.” Leaders need to question “who they are being while they are leading.”

This need for leaders to rethink who they are gets to the heart of what Rosamund Stone Zander describes in Pathways to Possibility. Often, our growth requires that we live a new story. We are not “trained to think of ourselves as governed by stories made up by younger iterations of ourselves, frozen in time.

We need to rewrite the stories to reflect life as it is now. “I believe that when we become aware of patterns in our behavior, when we learn to identify and rewrite the stories that give us our identities, we will gain passage, at any age, into a new phase of adulthood. In this territory of maturity, where old fear-based pattern no longer hold us back, we will, I wager, do what we now think of as remarkable, even magical, things.”

We all have a point of view about how life should go and they are often illogical. But when they are we produce reasons for why we do and think like we do even if it has no basis on our current reality. They hold us back. What children’s stories have in common is survival anxiety. We are living a story made up by a child when we are frightened about the future, are ready to run, feel the need to control others, act out of insecurity, and are unable to take criticism of any kind.

The stores we tell ourselves are generally adopted unknowingly from the environment in which we grew up and are not under the control of the reasoning mind. To move forward, we have to uncover the story and tell a new one. Zander repeatedly states that new habits are formed in an environment of love.

How do you know if you are living in a story crafted by the mind of a child?

You are being captured by the child in you if you are certain that your views are true, and you make no attempt to question them.

When you are frequently anxious that things will go wrong, or are living your life cautiously. Fear and anxiety are the underlying emotions in the child’s view of the world because for a child it is all about survival.

You are living in a child apart if you are regularly concerned with what others think of you.

When you assume that things will repeat. It makes you approach the future with resistance, be overly cautious, and close down to life.

You are expressing a child part when you are convinced that you have absolute needs and you are further convinced that your needs and desire will never change.

In short, a child’s stories are I-centered, concrete, fear-based, scarcity-minded, identity-bound, personal through and through, and indisputable—self-centered—my way.

When we are operating from the adult narrative:

We know we survived childhood and staying alive is no longer a present issue.

The mature mind is curious and devotes attention to what is not known.

The adult mind is open and flexible: willing to entertain new thoughts and feelings without the need to protect itself.

The adult mind is creative: on the lookout for opportunity and able to invent stories and move into contexts that will further our alignment with one another.

The adult mind is loving and compassionate. Defined by love, joy, appreciation, gratitude and wonder. Nothing appears as personal.

Zander relates three rules that coach Pete Carroll gave his players. Zander says that these three rule will help support the adoption of an adult story. “These three rules,” she writes, “almost guarantee that the person who follows them is saved from the distraction of survival instincts, such as possessiveness, entitlement, and winning over others, and feelings of helplessness, fear and rage when things don’t turn out the way he planned. Here are the three rules with Zander’s comments:

Rule 1: Protect the Team: A perfect instruction to remind a player that he is not, in fact, the center of the universe, and to encourage him in all matters related to the game to adopt and live into a story of collaboration.

Rule 2: No Negative Talk. No Whining and Complaining: This rule establishes that the game is played in a mode of possibility and not one of survival where players are out for themselves and can be weakened by a victim story. It requires that people be responsible for the effect of their words and their moods, which ensures that the team maintains energy.

Rule 3: Be Early: What powerful little words! What an amazing third rule! The player who lives by “be early” puts himself in charge of his life. If you decide to be early, you are always in charge; you will show up as a considerate person as well as a paragon of responsibility.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:11 PM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Personal Development



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