Mobility. The capacity to move or be moved. – Timothy Gallwey
So much of coaching is about enabling mobility. Timothy Gallwey devoted a whole chapter to the idea in his book, The Inner Game of Work. What makes mobility significant is that it enhances our effectiveness. Effectiveness contracts if there is no “play” or “subtly” to one’s attitude and behavior. But its not just about “play” and “subtly.” Many people shift their attention and focus in negative ways – their behavior moves from openness and ease to one of rigidity and intolerance. Why does this happen?
Desire is often perceived negatively. We’re not supposed to trust it. Reason we trust. Ideals we trust. Deliberate planning we trust. And because “desire” and “means” often arise independent of one another, there is an impracticality that surrounds “the wish” that any desire holds. A desire without means is often treated as an empty thought. So it really takes work to trust the direction and force of our desires.
In his book, Gallwey builds his Self 1 and Self 2 distinction around the involuntary nature of trust, awareness and choice. And desire, as it turns out, influences all three. Awareness is simply focused attention. Holding awareness is knowing the present moment clearly because we hold a desire. Choice is the ability to decide for ourselves which of our various desires we will nurture and which we will starve. Choice is about moving in some desired direction. And Trust is the mental control which enables us to be intentional. It is the mental link that allows to connect with our desire and stand resolutely within it.
So you see, desire is the essential background. And a “felt desire” is the inner awareness that allows us to put trust into focus and give it our attention.
And what’s interesting is that the ‘triangle’ — created by Awareness, Choice, and Trust — builds an involuntary capacity, one that allows us to discover and express uniquely felt desires THAT NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE. The consciously-aware Self 1 uses this triangle to reinforce the mandates and desires of others. Self 1 rejects our naturally occurring felt desires as impratical and empty. They are too upsetting to the status quo. In contrast, the more involuntary and unconscious Self 2 uses the triangle to reinforce our naturally occurring felt desires. Self 2 whispers in a voice that only we can hear. At times both soft and firm, it voices the desires that no on else can express. It asks us to be bigger than ourselves.
So why do so many people shift their attention in negative ways?
Gallwey would say that Self 1 over-dominates and interferes with Self 2. But I would argue there is more to it than that. The natural tendency of Self 1 is to look first for power and how it can be expressed, and only then associate it with desire. The consciously learned mandates of others condition us to seek power before relationship. This is the illusory joy that brings genuine sorrow. Power cannot be a substitute for relationship. No matter how much we are mesmerized or beguiled into believing that. (see …illusory joy and genuine sorrow…)
And to prove just how much power has become a substitute for relationship, just look at the corporate beliefs which dominate how change is enacted from within a large-scale corporate environment:
- People in positions of power absolve themselves of needing to change. Change is something “we” do to “them.”
- Resistance to change is often resistance to the process of change rather than to the particular change at hand. Power must be defended.
- Resistance is rooted in the prevailing command-and-control corporate culture. If relationship precedes power, safety is then jeopardized.
Change creates anxiety, but anxiety is also an invitation to deepen relationship. Many people shift their attention and focus in negative ways – from openness and ease to one of rigidity and intolerance – because we have been trained to seek power before relationship. Like the Three Stooges in yesterday’s post, any expression of power is loaded with meaning. The immediacy of the power — to enact a transforming exchange — is mesmerizing and beguiling to us because power always has that impact on us. It places us in the world even if we feel no particular relationship, or purpose or vision (that is, no conscience, or will, or imagination). Power becomes the substitute for all three. Self 1 reduces every desire to a simplified question of power. Self 2 asks something which, at times, feels absolutely impossible – to put relationship before power and let that be “enough.”
Mobility. The capacity to move or be moved. It puts trust into focus by reinforcing our naturally occurring felt desires, ones that cannot be expressed by anyone else. And that really is “enough.”
Thanks for listening!