Here’s a story from David that illustrates the responses we hear:
Years ago, I was leading a corporate leadership development training program. At that time, I taught the Problem and Outcome orientations as a framework for exploring leadership. (These are the frameworks that are at the core of the 1st of the 3 Vital Questions.)
A colleague was sitting in on the program to observe what was being taught. Afterwards he approached me and made an astute observation.
“I bet you get 3 distinct reactions to what you are teaching,” he said. “It’s like you are showing people a door over which is written the word ‘choice.’
One group of people probably say, ‘I already consciously walk through that door, so thanks for the reinforcement and tips.’ The second group are those who say ‘thank you for making me aware of that door and I am now better prepared to walk through it’.“
He then paused. “Wait,” I prodded, “I thought you said there were three.”
“Yes. Every so often, I bet there are times where someone’s reaction, though they may not say it, is ‘how dare you show me that door!’ Because now they know they are always at choice in life and their ignorance is no longer bliss.”
When David’s friend and colleague made that statement, it really got his attention.
For some people, especially for those whose identity is bound up in remaining who they are, they don’t like being challenged to choose a new response to life’s challenges. In fact, they can feel victimized by the new insights because they have no desire to change.
They can also see “being at choice” as an anxiety-producing problem and react with annoyance about being shown that “door.”
We know growth requires change and that the changes inherent in 3VQ and TED* are not easy. The change in mindset and ways of relating with others (the 2nd Vital Question) takes time, conscious effort, and practice, practice, practice.
If you are one who chooses to adopt a Creator Orientation and relate to yourself and others as Creator, Challenger and Coach, know that there will be times that doing so is much easier said than done.
Personal change and growing into these new ways of thinking, interacting and taking action can trigger anxiety. When anxiety and fear arise, it is a natural human instinct to pull back and retreat into old and familiar ways of thinking and reacting to others.
When you have such an experience of wanting to recoil from your commitment to integrate 3VQ and TED* into your work and life, we suggest the following:
- Recommit yourself to your willingness to grow, even when it is uncomfortable.
- When anxious feelings arise, pause, take a few breaths and remind yourself that growth is not anxiety free. You can have your anxiety without the anxiety having you and causing you go reactive.
- Ask yourself: “What is at risk if I retreat into my old ways or thinking and relating?”
- Then ask yourself: “What are the benefits of continuing to experiment with the 3 Vital Questions?”
- After your reflection, determine at least one Baby Step you can take to live and work in more empowered ways.
And then, as a Creator, walk through that door of choice and take that step—we dare you!