Evolutionary Professional Blog

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Facility With Self ::: Navigating Your Interiors

 

 

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Agreement Frames | Clean Relating

 

 

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Wherein I Explain the Cycle of My Social Media Status Updates

"I am a mouth for a process that many of us are going though. The more intimately I deal with how it is for me, the more intimately I am sharing how it is for you." -Ram Dass

Some have asked about my updates. The are sexual/primal. And then emotive [poetry shares] and then cognitive/political and then spiritual/ethereal/transcendent. Huh. Yeah. Weird, huh?

What's up with this guy? Where is The.McClain comin' from?

As I have written before, it is not transcend and deny, it is not transcend and suppress. Rather transcend and *include*.

I assert being fully alive is to be sexual and primal. To be emotive and love. To be cognitive and mentally sharp and discerning AND yes, of course to be Spiritual/transcendent/ethereal. ALL of it. ALL fully flowing ::: ALL channels open. All channels awake. All channels channeling.

I have also found that the more I give voice to the darker more primal drives, the more comfortably my students and clients are willing to share and examine those places within themselves -- the more they are able to feel safe. AND within that, they can accelerate the dissolution of those aspects to the degree that it is appropriate. For them. For the very process of evolution. The evolution of conscious evolution.

And it all begins by shining the light on the "shadow" aspects of ourselves. The unspoken [and "inappropriate" aspects of ourselves. The politically incorrect. The lecherous. The murderous. The rageful. The ... well you get it. Consciousness, when it is at full, is *all* of it.

It is all, of course, part of the human experience.

So expect to see me cycle through those drives, levels, energetic centers, stages, etc. [consciously and intentionally]. So yes, you will see me talk [or quote] of fucking and eating/indulging. Of feeling and loving ::: epically. AND calling our leaders to task--not based on partisanship, but on results--regardless of who is "in power", while pointing to guiding lights I myself am moving toward and hoping we all move toward.

Pre-rational ::: Rational ::: Trans-rational

...and then repeating again.

In service of the very nature of the upward Spiral itself.

But know that you may not understand my choices, and you may not agree with them ::: and they may not be wise [heh] ::: BUT - most of the time - they are incredibly intentional and conscious.

-Intrinsic McClain-Ness™

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So You Just Celebreated a Win? Good. Begin Again ...

A great quote about footballgreat quote about football, but it applies to any business:

"It's kind of like the questions that have been asked about what it's like right after being world champions," Coughlin said. "We go to the parade, we come back from the parade, and the next day we're grading players, we're ranking players. The business just goes on. Enjoy it while you can, because you've got the next hurdle, and in order to get back on schedule, you've got to deal with these kinds of things [immediately]."

What do you do right after you complete XYZ? Begin again and go on the next thing/level.

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Integral Personal Evolution | An Evening Introduction

Increase your capacity to handle whatever life throws at you.

Imagine being confused when someone asks you if you took something personally. Authentically confused–as in, that interpretation is actually confusing to you.

Imagine being free–finally–from the opinions of others defining who you are.

Imagine when the sh** comes down in your life there is just the sh** to deal with and your mind is fully in service–it is your slave, rather than you being enslaved and imprisoned by your own mind.  

Being free from the emotions that enslave most people--and at choice--fully.

I do not mean just in a specific context, like relationships or finances or professional–personal evolution is not context dependent–but free at core level, such that your natural emotional responses are more free–in every context.

Imagine “reframing” being unnecessary–unnecessary because the reframe is the frame that naturally arises.

Our ego and our emotions evolve in stages. Greater and greater expanse. Ever-increasing levels of freedom. Wider and wider embrace of all that arises–moment to moment.

This is important to you because your stage will determine how you interpret events as well as your emotional reaction to it--before any re-framing can occur. In other words, it is what governs your relationship to interacting with the world and with yourself. 

Of course, this is only important if you interact with others–or yourself.

Let’s accelerate the process of movement through the stages--so we can play more, love deeper, laugh longer–and hurt for only as long as is necessary for us to learn what we must learn to deepen our experience of ourselves.

To unfold our depths; to reveal our Divinity.

And isn’t that what it’s all for anyway?

Because who we are is pure divinity. Pure Spirit. “God/dess” manifest. Yet our particular manifestation is often clouded.

As you touch your hand to your heart you may begin to feel Divinity waiting, wanting to come out and play. Release your Divinity; release the highest within you. Release--your inner god/dess.

Your Personal Evolution is the gateway. 

Yes, it will take the gristly and gritty work of building the muscles of facility with Self.  AND it will be the most valuable endeavor you have undertaken.

Let's explore this unfolding together.

 

What: Free Evening Intro to Personal Evolution | The Evolutionary Ego
When: Monday April 9th @ 7:30pm - 9:30pm-ish
Why? ::: You already know ... 

Where? In San Francisco. RSVP for exact location using the contact form on this site.


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Semi-Weekly Tips ::: Your Relationship to "Failures"

It is not the "successes" or "failures" that will define you and your business in the end.

Rather, it is your relationship--your orientation--to the failures that will.

 

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Semi-Weekly Tips ::: You Are Responsible And Therefore At Choice

 You are responsible for the current state of your business.  Period.

 

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Coaching The Life Coach | The 16 Week Course

One of the things that am committed to changing in the world is the painful separation of Spirit and wealth acquisition.

So many people think they have to sacrifice their spiritual life to make money. And so many people think they have to sacrifice wealth to be truly spiritual.

The truth is quite the opposite. Not only *can* we integrate them, but we must.

I think we can all agree, that if these were integrated--if people were acquiring wealth AND living a robust spiritual life in the same moment, then so much of the unethical stuff we have seen in the financial markets in the last few years would not have happened.

For our world to solve so many problems it has, not only can we integrate spiritual sensibilities and wealth acquisition ... but we must.

Why am I sharing this in this email? 

As many of you know, I have been working on an on-line version of my live Coaching The Life Coach program for  ... well … years now.

It is finally finished. 

A 16-week tour-de-force covering everything from your emotional blocks and defining your purpose to SEO and v4.0 of Evolutionary Sales™ with the purpose to have you integrate your purpose and your prosperity and be well on your way to be making over 6-figures by living your purpose.

For being here, you get a coupon code that will give you about 25% off each month.

Check out the course hoopla page here:

http://coaches.evolutionarycompanies.com/clc-4-sales-page

And the course visual overview here:
http://coaches.evolutionarycompanies.com/clc4-course-outline

 

Your coupon code is:

community50

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Relationships: Elegent Navigation, Effective Communication Part 1

Relationships: Effective Communication | Elegant Navigation

Part 1: The Problem (1346 words. Average reading time: 6 minutes)

In the global marketplace of cultures, ideas, relationships, and business strategies, we can no longer say that there is one way to “do relationships” or that there is an “is-ness” to what form they should take.

 There simply is no global—or even local—consensus around relationships—if there ever was.

Whether we are speaking about arranged marriages still common on the other side of the globe in India, gay marriages—legal in some countries and some U.S. Statesegal in some countries and some U.S. Statesegal in some countries and some U.S. States or other alternative forms of relating from polyamory, or other non-traditional, non-monogamous relationship forms, we can certainly say that what is considered an acceptable form of relating is massively expanding in scope.

Whether you agree or disagree with those life-style choices, it is undeniable that the very idea of relationship is in evolution both morally and culturally.  Not to mention in practicality—in form.

And yet … 

And yet, most people still cannot seem to even navigate the waters of traditional relationships with facility and elegance.  Even many friendships are not always fulfilling and conflicts are rarely navigated effectively—if at all. Sadly, many marriages and intimate romantic relationships often hobble along until people are just in a habit, not a relationship. They’re still “together” on the surface, but the reality, truth, intimacy, and dynamism faded—or died—long ago.

They are in a habit, not an actual relationship.

There are certainly exceptions to this.  Both in relationships and in society as a whole. We have individuals and small “intentional” communities who have it as one of their stated values to become facile at navigating the waters of relationships—including  conflicts and misunderstandings that arise, as well as their internal, individual, personal emotional upset or “charge” that comes along with it—with skill, ease, and a good degree of elegance.

But even after more than 40 years of the rise and expansion of the human potential movement, these are exceptions, not rules.  Heck, they are often not even expected standards, let alone the rule.

But it could be so.  

We can all have fulfilling, harmonious relationships. Even in conflict, there are philosophical approaches as well effective communication models that, if take on, can fulfill on this possibility—and make it a reality.

So…what are they?

 First, let’s look at some of the common problems that arise. And then, together, we will examine some simple solutions.

 

The Problems

 

Many of dynamics within inter-personal problems and/or conflicts can be summed up thusly:

  • A belief that relationships are “supposed to take work” or “supposed to be hard”
  • Dishonesty. Dishonesty in at least two ways
    • Deceit—actual lying
    • Hiding the truth—not just of facts, which we will lump in with the above, but of our internal, subjective experience. Our process. And what is going on for us.
  • Blaming others for our circumstances or the situation AND
  • Failing to take responsibility for our part in a conflict or misunderstanding
  • Simply meaning two different things—or interpreting something in two different ways—that are in conflict unknowingly until the it causes a conflict explicitly and openly
  • An egoic need to “be right” put before a search for truth and accuracy
  • A lack of emotional choice or facility [being run by our anger, fear, anxiety, guilt, resentments etc.]
  • A lack of knowledge around how to effectively communicate through a conflict—a lack of a positive, effective, workable model
  • A lack of skillful means with those models
  • A collision of values/world-views that are in conflict

 

Why are people dishonest? Several reasons seem to occur most frequently:

  • We do not want to “rock the boat”
  • We do not want to hurt someone’s feelings by telling them the truth [even though, in reality, most people can handle the truth, it is the deception or the hiding that causes the true hurt once revealed or discovered
  • Fear—fear of being judged, fear of being alone, fear of being rejected, or just plain fear of speaking the truth directly.

 

Why do people blame others?  Oh, so many reasons, but a few common reasons are:

 

  • It’s just easier to point the finger outside of oneself than it is to take responsibility—even when oneself is more “to blame”.
  • We do not have solid enough sense of self to take responsibility without going into a state of shame—and therefore avoid doing so
  • We have fault and blame collapsed with responsibility


Why do people resist—sometimes at great cost interpersonally and in terms of intimacy—taking responsibility?

Sadly, people think that responsibility equals blame or fault, but they are actually separate matters. Responsibility really means just that—being able to respond.  To engage. To resolve. To accept your part in it.  When they collapse fault and blame with taking responsibility, they avoid it like the plague, lest they experience guilt and/or shame around it.  Unfortunately, the other person in the equation is often all too willing to assist the other in feeling guilt or shame for egoic reasons—or to extract their pound of flesh, their pint of blood.

While I certainly do not want to oversimplify these complex and multi-faceted issues, we could say that all of those items can boil down to one core cause: insufficient esteem for the self; a lack of healthy and appropriate ego development. Except in the case of actual physical abuse, there is no reason other than a lack of esteem for yourself—knowledge of your competence to communicate it and your belief that you deserve to be happy—to explain it. AND, in the case of actual physical abuse, if the individual is staying in that system—and therefore participating in it—we can trace it to the same core: a lack of esteem for the self; that they deserve better and take action to make it so.

Without boring you by vivisecting all of those problem dynamic bullet points let’s cut to the quick of it: we could trace all of the problems in relationships down to 4 basic common denominators, 3 of them completely resolvable, and the 4th, quite often possible to resolve:

  1. Anemic esteem for the Self
  2. Underdeveloped facility – both emotionally as well as communication skills
  3. Lack of knowledge of effective communication models or processes
  4. A collision of worldviews at the level of values

We will address solutions to items 1, 2, and 3 in Part 2. For a partial examination of the 4th item, I will point you to another article on that subject HEREHEREHERE on my legacy site.

 

 You can proceed to Part 2 of this article: The Solutions HEREHERE.

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Relationships: Elegent Navigation, Effective Communication, Part 2

Relationships: Effective Communication | Elegant Navigation

Part 2: The Solutions (1100 words, average reading time: 4.5 minutes)

[Part 1 can be found HERE]

 

I have a very simple approach to relationships, that avoids most, if not all, of the problems outlined in the interpersonal conflicts above. It is the philosophical grounding I take on in all of my relationships explicitly:

  • Realize—and accept—the fact that no one way of approaching relationships, communication, or conflict is the “right way”. That there is no consensus agreement or reality except that which you form with the Other. They are simply different styles…therefore take this on as an organizing principle and act accordingly: 
  • Give the other person the freedom to be however they want; to be self expressed free from attempts to control them or suppress them
  • Give yourself the freedom to be fully self-expressed—to be your authentic self
  • In the event that one person’s behavior upsets the other, the person who is upset makes a clear request to alter the offending behavior
    • If they accept the request, you now have an agreement
    • If they decline the request, you now know what to expect from them and have more understanding of each other’s approach to the world
    • Forge an agreement with the other that this is the way you will approach relationships and conflict

 

Simple.

It gives both parties maximum freedom to be themselves. It treats both parties like adults who are responsible for their own experience—and can express their needs. Everything is on the table and at face value. There is no second-guessing. There is no ambiguity. There are no guessing games or “game playing”.

And really, holding someone accountable to agreements they have not made—in the form of your unstated expectations—is simply unjust. It is also supremely arrogant, in that it assumes that “well, everybody knows that you should…” which can be translated at a deeper level of its assumption is “my way of doing relationships is the global standard”. 

Incredibly arrogant.

Your way of doing it may be more effective—and may even be more enjoyable for both parties if accepted by and engaged in by both parties—but it is not the only way to do it, and in the absence of an explicit consensus or agreement reality, you must create one.

As I said, it is simple. However, it is not easy.   

There are several things you must do and develop efficacy with for this approach to work and work well for both parties.  There is also a very effective way to communicate through those upsets before making your request (the last bullet point above). We’ll get to that in a few minutes.

First, here is what you must do:

Take on the recommended philosophical grounding and approach outlined in the bullet points above. 

Take responsibility. Don’t do it for them, or for the other person. Do it for yourself—as your esteem for yourself will expand and grow each time you accept responsibility. Your sense of self expands. It also has the effect of allowing people who are emotionally mature enough to follow suit and take responsibility for their part in it—rather than polarizing, blaming each other, and digging your heels in—to the detriment of the relationship and/or for the thin gruel of short-term ego inflation (as opposed to healthy egoic expansion, which occurs, again, by taking responsibility). 

Engage in as many other practices as possible to build true and healthy esteem for the self.  It is your immune system for your emotional life.

Make a firm decision to practice and exercise your facility with self.  At a bare minimum, know that even if your interpretations of what is occurring are mostly accurate, they are at least incomplete. Always look to include more information in your world-view. Expand your perspective.

More advanced practices to exercise your internal facility would be to consider:

  • How else could the events/their actions be interpreted?
  • Where else could the person be coming from?
    • What else—besides your disempowering interpretation/projection/guess—could be their motivations? Their intent? Their outcome?
    • What could their positive intent be?
    • Step into their shoes. What could their experience of you be right now? Is it positive? Neutral? Negative? What else is going on right now for them that is straining their resources?
    • What emotion is underneath their communication—and speak directly to and validate that before getting to facts and agreements

 

Take on a responsible and conscious model for communicating your emotions, expectations, and for requesting an agreement around styles.

All three of those can be addressed by one simple model—in 4 steps. For this, I borrow heavily from Dr Marshall Rosenberg’s work. Here is my suggested approach to communicate upset and negotiate an agreement:

  1. State the emotion responsibly [“responsibly” is explained below in step 1]
  2. Take responsibility for the unstated/un-agreed-to expectation
  3. Make a request
  4. Get an answer

 

Let me provide an example of the kind of language to accomplish this, mapped to the steps, with some guidelines. Let’s take an innocuous example of someone not calling you and they then arrive 20 minutes late [recommended language in bold]:

 

  1. I am noticing I am experiencing anger [or worry, or frustration, or ____________”… [not “you made me angry”, “It pisses me off when you do that”, etc. Not everyone would be angered by it. It is your interpretation and your expectation causing the upset—not some external force or person;
  2. That’s because I have an expectation that people will call if they are going to be more than  _____  minutes late…
  3. So my request is that from now on, if you are going to be more than _____ late that you call and let me know.
  4. Is that something you are willing to agree to…or not? [yes and no must both be fine answers, otherwise it is a demand/boundary declaration, not a request. Give them the freedom to say no]

This model can be used with any situation between two people where there is emotional upset present to elegantly and rapidly move through it.

And…to turn this in on itself, you could use this very model to get agreement around using this model. In fact, I highly recommend you do that.

How? Here is the model used to get agreement around the model:

 

  1. I am noticing I am frustrated by the way we have been communicating when we are upset or in conflict
  2. That’s because I have an expectation that it could be done in a way that would honor us both, while moving through it rapidly
  3. So my request is that from now on, when we are upset, we use this simple 4-step process when we are upset  [show them the model—heck, show them this article]
  4. Is that something you are willing to agree to…or not?

 

Simple.

If there is an actual agreement in place that was broken, there is another equally facile way to move through that…but I will save that for another time.

Some people have protested, “but this takes so much consciousness” or “so much awareness” or “but they should just know that…”

You have to choose for yourself if the relationship—intimate or friendly or professional—is worth increasing your consciousness and your skill. And it is a skill to navigate both your own interiors as well as the conflict using these approaches and models. Since it is a skill it will take practice—and give yourself the freedom to stumble until you become skilled at it.

What awaits you on the other side is fulfilling relationships based on clarity and truth—rather than assumptions and delusion—as well as the ability to rapidly move through conflict so that it takes just minutes, rather than days—or, frankly, never—to do so. AND these are approaches and skills that will serve not only you, but all of those around you in every single context and every relationship in your life.

Do it for yourself, if nothing else.

I think you’re worth it. I trust you do as well.

 

For more clarity and resources on the critical component of self-esteem, see Dr Nathaniel Branden’s work in general, and his Six Pillars of Self Esteem in particular. Here is an articleHere is an articleHere is an articleHere is an articleHere is an article to get you started.

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Evolutionary Thinking on the Evolution of Ego | Expand and Dissolve Rather than "Annihilate"

We have been sold a bill of goods around ego. One that creates internal division and conflict. One that creates internal dissonance. One that creates pain. One that, at its worst, can foster a certain degree of self-hatred. A dis-ownership of the self. A bill of goods that is 2,500 years old in terms of its story around ego, the nature of ego, and the "problem" of ego.

And there is a better way. One that can create the same intended result with a kinder, gentler more self-accepting approach that can accelerate the evolution of the ego through the radical acceptance of expanding the ego, rather than attempting the psychological and spiritual suicide of ego annihilation. 

You can also see some similar themes around ego in the business context, read this article:  Self-Esteem and the Solo-Preneur | Internal vs. External Locus of Responsibility for an even deeper cut, taken from an email I sent a client a couple years ago, read Your Self-Worth is a Settled Matter.

Ok...ready? ::: Heh.

A quote from Ken Wilber I posted spawned an in-depth, yet brief—discussion on the nature and evolution of ego, Spiral Dynamics, the Integral community, and related topics, including the difference between cognitive development and actual development ::: the difference being understanding vs emotional response and being, or stated differently ::: one’s “center of gravity”.

The style is conversational, as it was an actual conversation.

Below are excerpted comments in the thread that followed. The order of some of the comments have been changed for continuity of the discussion, and for flow. Some have been deleted for the sake of relevance. If you want to see the full, unedited thread for yourself, you can see that HEREHEREHERE. The edited and streamlined version is below for your reading enjoyment.

The quote that started it all :::

“The ego is not a thing but a subtle effort, and you cannot use effort to get rid of effort--you end up with two efforts instead of one. The ego itself is a perfect manifestation of the Divine, and it is best handled by resting in Freedom, not by trying to get rid of ego, which simply increases the effort of ego itself.” --Ken Wilber 

Of course, I cannot speak for Ken Wilber—nor will I attempt to.

Simultaneously, I have read and listened to most of his stuff. As a result, I can certainly imagine—to varying degrees of accuracy—what he is speaking to, so I will attempt to translate him.

AND this will be based on my own experience after 19 years of conscious work, clearing, and self-examination and evolution—AND based on my work with over 200 clients one-on-one in my Personal Evolution Program, which lasted [when I used to do that work]  about 7 months--designed to accelerate the evolution of their ego ::: to widen their embrace. To increase their ease. To reduce their fear. To eliminate most of their anger. To increase their esteem for the Self.

So I may be and will be projecting/hallucinating…and it will be accurate—to varying degrees. Your mileage may vary.

So…what is “ego”? Most in popular spiritual and psychological circles will say we must transcend our ego, or worse ::: “annihilate it”. Is this healthy? Is this ecological? Does it suit the ecology of the environment we exist in?

The ecology of the self?

Is “ego what motivates us” as Pi asserts? Perhaps sometimes, yes. perhaps always—sure.

And the question for me becomes, motivates HOW? From what stage? Because, you see, we will be motivated differently from different stages, for different reasons.

For me, ego is essentially the seat of our consciousness. Where it rests and comes from. Not its Source. Its Source is the very kosmos ::: consciousness with a capital C. 

James Reidy suggested as a definition :::

Ego: n. a person's conscious and unconscious beliefs about their own identity. 

To which I responded ::: think of it as a prism through which Spirit is shining. A prism the light of God Consciousness shines through [and is skewed to varying degrees]. To the degree the stuff you are talking about is clear and or conscious is the degree to which it is god/dess, spirit, the very cosmos. I would say the stuff you are talking about is the dirt on the glass. 

Which is what I think Ken Wilber means when he says:

 

“The ego itself is a perfect manifestation of the Divine."

 

Everything is a perfect manifestation of the divine. That is the essence of non-dual reality. AND of course, even duality is held within non-duality. It must be. Spirit does not judge. We do.

And if we are careful to incorporate stages, the ever-increasing, ever-widening waves and stages and levels that one passes through, plateaus at, regresses and contracts to on occasion—where our emotional reactions come from and where our interpretations are filtered through—whether we use Kolberg, Gilligan, or Gravesian models to determine our “stage” ego can not be transcended.

It cannot be annihilated—with one exception. Blowing your brains will do it.

Death will do it.

And this is the problem I have with most “gurus” is they set up a massive internal conflict or increase internal dissonance/discordance with their idea about annihilating the ego. Their 2-dimensional, either/or relationship to ego. Which is what I think Ken Wilber is pointing to when he says :::

“The ego is not a thing but a subtle effort, and you cannot use effort to get rid of effort--you end up with two efforts instead of one."

AND it is only their ego that wants you to annihilate yours—to submit to them.

However, we can get the same intended results of openness, expansiveness, acceptance, with a more ecological and holistic understanding of ego. And with that understanding, what we CAN do is evolve it. Expand it. Have it occur as more diffuse. So wide and so diffuse it needs no protection. It needs no assertion. It has nothing to prove.

It will occur like a transcendent ego. It will look like “ego-less-ness”. What it actually looks like it the ever-expanding upward spiral. AN unfolding. A larger embrace.

Let me ask you what kind of ego can be “one with all things that are arising…moment to moment…even now”? I’ll tell you what kind of ego—a huge fucking ego. A wide and high ego. A diffuse ego. An ego so large that feedback or other’s attacks are accepted and absorbed into it like a still lake. it is also a subtle ego.

Unfortunately we are used to seeing very loud, pre-rational egos, and calling that “ego”. Yet it is an underdeveloped, uncertain ego than needs to be a gross [vs subtle], hard, reactive, ego. A defensive ego. Not a huge, well developed ego. A large, expanded ego is subtle and diffuse.

Simultaneously, their presence can be very powerful. When they look at you, their gaze often sees deeper into you than you have into yourself, which can be very uncomfortable for some. For others, habit forming.

Wilber again: "…and it is best handled by resting in Freedom, not by trying to get rid of ego"

AND as I am fond of saying ::: the biggest ego trip in the kosmos is thinking you can or will ever “transcend” your ego.

However, we can expand it, evolve it, and have it so developed and so diffuse that it occurs “transcendent” for most people—because there is little resistance. There is so much confidence that you do not need to prove yourself—even to yourself. It allows you to more easily look in the mirror. To accept where you are wrong and have wronged.

There is a true freedom there. The freedom that Wilber speaks to, I believe. And resting there…is fun in the quiet joy kind of way.

Derek Arckis said :::

Another example is: 'Awareness alone is curative'. Yes, this works well as well, if you don't have to come back into the world (Samara) and socially function via emotions and affect response / motive (seat of ego). Not so subtle if you ask me. Awareness of the great intensity of feeling through the burning off of karma is much more realistic and painful, yet truly evolutionary, rather than blowing (ungrounded) in the high winds of a brightly lit day (merely enlightenment). 

But who wants to bypass the quick and dirty and do the actual work to truly evolve (in the egoic sense, rather than mere cognitive experience)?

Exactly … AND what it takes to get there—is work. Being vigilant in our awareness. The subtleties of our awareness. Subtle effort. And in that, is freedom. When re-relax into the Witness—our ever-present awareness—we are there in the atmosphere of enlightenment.

I understand this turns the popular idea of ego on its head. I get that. I also get that Wilber and Cohen [not Cowan] have both talked about this in passing—briefly. At least the idea that it is a big ego that is an enlightened ego—and the obviousness of the stages in all of their work.

Why they still talk about it in two-dimensional terms I am uncertain of. I have one major guess ::: They are speaking into the existent memes and tapping those associations, rather than attempting to undertake the effort to recode and reframe over 2,500 years of entrenched traditions.

Given they are some of the very few who understand this, that is my guess.

AND who knows?

They do. He does. Some part of you does … even now.

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Quadrant-Based Model for Esteem for the Self

Self-Esteem Matrix

[Validation (V) ::: Worth | Referencing (R) ::: Efficacy]
Internal and external locus

 

matrix_esteem_self

 

If we combine Dr Nathaniel’s definition of self-esteem—that is that self-esteem has two integral and inseparable—yet equally important and parallel—components:

  • Self-efficacy [knowledge of our effectiveness/our value/guilt]
  • Self-respect [Making choices appropriate to life/self-worth/shame

…with another multi-dimensional idea ::: that the “high self-esteem” and “low self-esteem” binary representation is inadequate to accurately explain some behaviors and behavioral choices, and we look at where the individual’s attention is, then we begin to create a richer and deeper—and therefore more accurate signifier—a more accurate representation of esteem for the self.

I prefer that phrase, that is: esteem for the self, to the more common phrase “self-esteem” for two reasons:

  1. The phrase/word “self-esteem” is one of the most misunderstood and overused phrases in American pop psychology. And,
  2. The phrase Esteem for the Self refocuses our attention where it should be; our opinion of the “me” in our self-concept.

 The sad part is that what most of the “experts” in academia call “self-esteem” is simply not self-esteem, but rather “other-esteem”. This can border on the absurd when supposed experts call for an end to competition. Or, an end to grades in school.

Given that our esteem for the self is our immune system for life, it must be tested, so it can grow, respond, and develop the metaphoric antibodies to the hardships of life. While I am far from competitive, I am glad it existed in my upbringing. Grades. Martial Arts training, science contests, spelling bees, etc.

Anyway … to bring a richer texture to the conversation … in the above figure we have 4 basic locations or orientations to esteem for the self. Internal / external and validation / referencing.

Below are some relatively raw notes on the quadrants above, but more importantly, below that is a table that lays out some of the misconceptions about what it means to have true esteem for the self. For those of you who know me to be a proponent of stage conceptions, this is not in conflict with an egoic stage conception, but it would overly complicate the conversation for mass consumption to add another dimension in this writing.

If you are curious about how this quadrant-based model would interact with a stage conception for egoic development, shoot me an email … ok:

With no further ado:

UPPER LEFT ::: If someone is Internally validated [VI] and they are externally referenced [RE] then we have the ideal situation; someone who is internally validated, and therefore “immune” at a core level from the opinions of others—yet also externally referenced, meaning they care about gathering feedback from the outside world and from others—so they can continually become more effective, and—if need be—adjust their behaviors. This quadrant is the healthiest of the quadrants. Those grounded in this quadrant will be happiest, more at ease with themselves, interact more effectively with others, and produce better results in the real world.

 

UPPER RIGHT ::: Internally validated and internally referenced. Not ideal. They truly do not care about the opinions of feelings of others—and do not need them, but simultaneously they do not notice their impact or care about their impact. You could call this person the empowered idiot. Unaware entirely.

 

LOWER LEFT ::: Externally validated and externally referenced. This person is constantly contorting themselves to whomever is around them, based on subtle or gross cues, but they are also dependent on the opinion of others to feel good about themselves. They try to be everything for and to everybody. I jokingly refer to this quadrant as “hell”. They will never feel good about themselves as they are never in touch with themselves—and do not even know who they are—and their feelings will shift like the wind upon the whims or preferences of others.

 

LOWER RIGHT ::: Externally validated but internally referenced. This person is desperate for people’s attention, their validation and praise, yet is inner-focused and not able to adjust to cues. Imagine them seeking approval, and constantly bumping into walls and people all the time. Desperate for approval. Never quite able to do the right thing to get it. Let's call this quadrant "purgatory".

Heh.

 

Pseudo Self-Esteem; Myths Of Self-Esteem

 

True Esteem For The Self [The Truth About Self-Esteem]:

 

People with “high self esteem” are egotistical or arrogant. They are always proving something to others or to themselves. They talk about how great they are all the time

 

Have supreme, unshakeable, yet quiet confidence; they know when they are good at something and know they are fundamentally “OK” and have nothing to prove—not even to themselves. They have no need to talk about how good they are at what they do: for them it is simple fact.

 

People with high self-esteem do not admit their mistakes—or admit them more slowly than others, as they are unwilling to admit they screwed up.

 

 

People with his esteem for themselves can and do admit their wrongs and faults and their mistakes quickly as it “means” nothing about them. They are more concerned with efficacy than how they “look”.

Others can somehow “hurt” your self esteem

 

Are internally validated, so others opinions, while important for efficacy, has no effect on true esteem for the self [otherwise, it would be called “other-esteem” rather than “self-esteem”

 

People with high self-esteem do not care about what other people think or about others’ feelings

 

Want to know how they are impacting others-both positively and negatively-as they are willing to adjust their behaviors; efficacy above all

 

It’s bad for most children’s self esteem to “lose” in a competition [as there is always “winner” and a “loser” and far fewer [and often only one] “winner”.

 

Are just fine losing, but rather have the mind-set around acquiring more skill/developing further, and look forward to the next opportunity to “compete:” yet have no need or desire for competition as such

 

Need people to like them or need them

 

Are fundamentally at peace and love themselves absent any acknowledgement, praise, or need from others; they eschew dependency of others or idolization from others

 

Thrives on the praise of others

 

Have no desire for the praise of others, but takes note of what the other prefers for the practical purposes; for the sake of eficacy

 

Until next time ...

In Warmth and In Service ...

jason.the.mcclain™

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The Self-Esteem Quadrophenia | Egoic Evolution in Stages and Quadrants

Over the years, I have written several several takes, applications, thoughts, and republished dialogues on ego and self-esteem.

In terms of personal development--irrespective of your motivations; no matter if the flashpoint is your inter-personal relationships or professional life--there is no single factor that is more important to the core of your happiness, your ease and flow, and your general thrival and expansion than your egoic development. From ego-centric to gender-centric or ethno-centric to world-centric to cosmo-centric.

Blah, blah, blah. Heh.

Below is a round-up of those articles to date.

Some are tailored to small business folk. Others are more abstract and theoretical. One is a dialogue about ego among me and my brilliant friends on facebook. All are important to you as you settle into the you that is expanding personally, professionally, financially, relationally...and yes, of course, Spiritually.

Where the rubber of possibility meets the road of reality [and sometimes leaves a mark] and whether it gains traction or not, is with this single point of access.

Yes, it will enable you to handle the crap life throws at you. Deal with the less visionary of the world. Regain your balance when you lose it, be able to draw boundaries, ask for what you know you deserve, and have the confidence in the truth that everything will be fine ... eventually. That you will learn, grow, develop, and thrive. Eventually.

And remember, while the distinctions are important, an ounce of integration is worth a pound of insight or knowledge. Build the muscle. Practice. Notice. Witness.

Okee-dokee. Enough of me waxing poetic. Here they are. From the divine to the practical. From the theoretical to the hard driving and direct. Have fun.

:::

  1. Self-Esteem and the Solo-Entrepreneur
  2. Evolutionary Thinking on the Evolution of Ego
  3. Quadrant-Based Model for Esteem for the Self
  4. The Need for Approval ::: Your Self-Worth is a Settled Matter

 

In Service and In Evolution,

 

jason.the.mcclain™

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Motivation | Style, Structure, and Tasty Bite-Sized Morsels

One of the main challenges that small business people face—particularly solo practitioners or “solo-preneurs” in general--is the problem and the art of motivating oneself.

You are your own boss. If you have employees, then the game may be a little different for you as you have people depending on you.  However, if it is just you, there are often no external forces telling you that you must do any particular “thing”.  There are certainly exceptions to this—client deliverables, purchases that have been made, the general inertia of your business pulling you along at some point, but really, especially at first, it is an uphill battle for many on their own.

There are so many aspects to this problem of motivation that some never figure it out—or worse, they find solutions that compound the problem in the long-term because the “solutions” are ill-suited approaches. Ill-suited to them as individuals.

To really add fuel to the fire [or baking soda to the lack thereof] we have distractions, overwhelm, time management, prioritization, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

What works for one person in terms of motivation may or may not—and often does not—work for another. So it is with time management, goals, and the like. There is no one-size-fits-all or even a one-size-fits-most solution. Particularly for those who are more sensitive both emotionally and kinesthetically/energetically, many of the “take massive action” or “get present to the consequences if you do not” approaches create more internal dissonance, and if the tasks or milestones the individual is accountable for are not accomplished, this can lead to a build-up of that same internal dissonance, or worse, feelings of guilt or worse still, even shame, and with the principle of compound interest on the “debt” you have with yourself…well, we can see where it may and often does lead: overwhelm rather than accomplishment.

Even if it does not lead there for you, these levels of intense urgent styles of motivational techniques can cause a lack of balance at best, and at worst, hardcore burnout.

What is the solution? Custom design your own motivational strategy using a few basic principles and approaches.

 

Step 1: Discover Your Style

Find out what works for you at a base level. Since at least Aristotle was writing in the  300s B.C. we have known that humans are generally motivated in two basic ways or “directions” ::: away from pain or toward pleasure. Or both.

Stated in the context of goals and deliverables: away from consequences or toward a vision.

You will notice one creates leverage [and often contraction and internal dissonance] in your body—it pushes you. Compels you. Often uncomfortably. The other pulls you forward. It is expansive. It opens you and draws you toward it.

The danger is to judge one or the other. Urgency/away from/consequence driven motivation could be “bad” because it creates tension and dissonance. Vision is “good” because it is expansive. Or the reverse; vision/toward is “bad” because it does not create massive intense action, necessarily. Urgency/away from is “good” because it creates more instant [in some] results.

An additional component is style is how you like to be supported. 

This is also a critical component. While I am not an "accountability coach" per se, and never have been, quite often, clients ask me to support them in getting stuff done. Before I even begin such an aspect of our relationship, and since I can assume almost any style of coaching to serve them at this point, I ask them ::: how do you like to be supported.

No this before asking for external help--or be prepared to explore that inquiry with your friend, guide, coach, or accountability partner.

The truth is, whichever style works for you, as you become more aware, even now, at how you have created results in the past for yourself—when you found yourself simply motivated to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish—is the “good” style for you.

If an “away from” strategy works best for you, then create externally supported consequences to propel you forward. Engage a coach professionally, who coaches in that style. Or have a friend be your accountability partner—and someone willing to enforce uncomfortable consequences for/on you.

If this kind of approach has you feel overwhelmed, or has you feel like running from your entire support system [missing phone calls, not emailing them when you said you would, unaccomplished tasks building up, etc.], then consider the other approach: an approach that has you moving toward a larger vision. Toward a future you are creating. An approach that has you stay constantly present to the deeper meaning in the work you are doing; what your purpose of mission is, so you stay in the game. Plainly put ::: remember why you are committed to doing what you are supposed to do, in the grand scheme of things.  

As an example: you’re not simply “having a client session”. You are doing far more than that—you are helping someone have the life they have always dreamed of. And even greater or larger, you are contributing to the evolution of humanity itself—to a global vision of the Greater Good.

 

Mission. Vision. Life Purpose.

Whatever your style, be sure you use the one that best suits your sensibilities and produces the results for you, in your life, that you want produced.

 

Step 2: Make Your Tasks Bite-Sized.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” –Anonymous

It is not an "event" is an unfolding process.

Make sure your expectations are realistic, and that your goals and outcomes are in stages, and a palatable size. Often, people set these wild expectations for themselves or they have their goal of “building a business” be a one-step process, rather than what it is: a natural process of growth we see all around us.

First, we crawl. Then we walk. Then we run.

You would not expect to go to the gym for the very first time and lift 300 pounds would you? Of course not. You would go, do a little to stretch yourself—just get a little sore—and then do a little more until you are at the level—eventually—you want to be at.

 

Nothing happens in one step.

And make sure the chunks are an appropriate size for your sensibilities—again, not someone else’s no matter how much of a “motivational guru” they are.

Allow me to give you a personal example. Nearly a decade ago now, I used to make 200 cold calls a day. However, I did not last long when I tried to declare or commit to making that many phone calls. Too large of a chunk.  So I tried blocks of 50. It was still daunting. Eventually, I got down to committing to simply doing blocks of 10. That was easy. In fact, it was so easy, I did another 10. And another. This little psychological game I played with myself made it easier and easier to consistently accomplish 200 calls a day.

Make sure your level of expectations (your workload, your milestones, and even your to-do list if you use one) are all designed to maintain balance, while consistently building and growing.

Slow, sustainable, constant growth and expansion is always preferable to short-term, over-the-top goals, as that is the sustainable, and more ecological [both emotionally and systemically] approach.

I will suggest one thing : make sure you always accomplish the most important or most pressing single task for that day. Just pick one. You know which one it is. If you want to do more, great. But commit to doing that one thing you know needs to be done today. If that “one thing” is too large a task, break it down into sub-tasks, and eat that elephant one bite at a time.

 

In sum, there are three major steps to “motivating” yourself.

  1. Discover The Style or “direction” that works for you. Are you motivated toward something larger or toward a vision? Or are you more motivated with consequences and pain?
  2. Set up systems and structures to support your style of motivation. Whether that is through a colleague, friend, professional, or with yourself is irrelevant until you learn what best works for you--both in terms of style and in terms of actual structures.
  3. Make sure your goals or milestones or “stuff” you wanna get done is not only realistic, but is also in the appropriate “chunk size” so you do not undercut or undermine the first two steps. And relax—you can always increase chunk size or workload as you gain momentum and a sense of accomplishment.

Above all, be  a scientist in the laboratory of your own life. Consider the above and the choices you make at first an experiment. Test it out. If you find, after some days, or a week, or more that the style of motivation is not working, be willing to be flexible and try the other style. If you discover you are seldom—or never--accomplishing your desired “things” to do, that’s fine. It only means one thing ::: you need to adjust the size or the scope or the chunks as appropriate.

Test. Adjust. Test again. Find out what work. Build on your successes. Harvest the lessons when you miss your target. Build upon that as well. Often, those lessons are even more valuable than accomplishing what you set out to do.

If you know where and how to examine the failures they are always more valuable than the successes and will lead to exponential success in the long run.

Have fun with it. Remember, it is your life. You get to live it as you choose.

 

In Service,

 

Jason The McClain

 

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The Need for Approval | Ego | Your Self-Worth is a Settled Matter

[Originally written in August 2008]
 
Many people have read this piece and encouraged me to post it publicly. So, by popular demand... It is an email I posted to a client near the end of their completion of the Personal Evolution Program, and in it I address a need for approval, ego development, the purpose and motivation for personal evolution...and the distinction between self-worth and value, and more... Your self-worth is a settled matter if you will accept it as such. Enjoy.

::: :::

Now back to you.

I was thinking about the approval thing. But first--you have come a long way. So stop, take a deep breath, turn around towards the sunset and enjoy the vista. You deserve it. 
 
"The mountain we climb in Personal Evolution is a bit like a mirage while hiking/climbing a mountain. You could stop now and camp for the night--or say, "forget this", it and go back down the mountainside.
 
Buuuuutt, you can also see there is a reachable summit. So you choose to go further--yet...when you reach what you thought would be the summit, there is yet another summit that materializes out of the mist. And this goes on forever. There is no omega point except when you choose to simply stop and rest.
 
Each of us have that choice every day. For some, we still consciously choose to continue to deepen our depths--and plumb just behind them. There is no end or bottom to the depth, there are only unplumbed depths. For others, they have achieved a high enough peak, that there is no motivation--no real life reason--to climb the next.  And there are others I will not list in the interests of time. I choose--consciously--to evolve further when I should or must--that is when my business or financial or relational results are inhibited by some aspect of myself. Otherwise, I am pretty darned content with where I am at-BUT I still need to have constant attention on where I need to be for others in the context in which I want to move with greater velocity--or frankly, sometimes, ANY velocity. 
 
I urge you to make the same or a similar real world criteria as you become more and more comfortable with you you are...and as you come to full acceptance of yourself, there is a pitfall of not caring what others think--and disregarding their feedback. Care what others think in practical terms--and care deeply--as it fosters results. Do not care about their opinions and judgments of you on a personal level. That is--think about the practical results and adjust, but know that as an internally validated man, the matter of your self-worth is settled. The question of the value you bring to people and the world in this context or that context, well, that is never settled as it depends on too many variables [each individuals expectations and sensibilities, your skill and competence in the domain, your sensitivities/awareness when adjustments are needed, market forces, etc.]. But that is a separate practical matter. 
 
The personal: your self-worth, is a settled matter. It is...well, pick your preference/metaphor: it is good. It is priceless. It is worth-full. It is Spirit manifest. It is divine. 
 
As for the seeking of approval-that is obviously pretending as if your worth could be determined externally. It can not. Whether you realize it yet or not, you still have to accept the opinion of others--good, bad, right, wrong--to have their opinions matter. In other words, you have the ultimate choice still--even if you are not exercising it to as full a degree as you will enjoy in the future. 
 
But why even do this work? What does it make possible? Why spend the time, energy, and the--at times--grueling work of dis-identification, detachment, and internalizing validity when you notice it as external? Why forgo the feel good and the short term false ego pump of compliments? 
 
In a word: Freedom. Freedom from what? 

Freedom from the ebbs and flows of the opinions and judgments of others. Why is this important? So you can gather feedback, without the moral and emotional cloud of personal meaning. Here is the challenge with tying your valuation to another's opinions: you are not only cast about from one end to the other, AND the problem with that is that people react from and interpret through their stage of egoic, emotional, and values meme stage of development. There will be patterns and probabilities, and all feedback is valid for them, but there is only so much contorting you can engage in, and stay sane and centered, and more importantly, live authentically--true to yourself.
 
Additionally, believe me, as someone who has had people tell me I am a god [literally] on more than one occasion and at times, had people tell me I was an a**hole and the devil's spawn [literally] I came to realize that no matter what they say, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and their acknowledgments and their judgments are worth only one thing: getting specifics around those experiences [I did X Y and Z in A context and they felt B emotion as a result] for the purpose of adjusting my behavior for improved results. 
 
Their characterizations are worthless except as crude pointers to their stage of development because, again, we interpret through and react and respond from our stage of development And even then, I have to gauge how valuable it is -- determined solely by how large a percentage of people are at that stage and would react/interpret the same way. 
 
All feedback is valid--and everyone's emotional experience is valid as it is and to be left untouched unless requested otherwise. However, not all feedback is valuable
 
Now, what I can not say is where the line is between the idea that they are responsible for their own emotional experience--and you are not--and where you are responsible for your impact on others and the results you garner. That is a line I have yet to determine for myself after nearly a decade of inquiry. I do know that I tend to move more and more towards having room for the emotional reactions I create in others-sometimes by simply walking through the room, or making a benign comment about my schedule, or not noticing someone in a room I am in--having space for that and having them feel valid without my trying to adjust their experience is a skill I am still developing and only in the last year and a half feel fully competent at. And I get it right about 65% of the time. 
 
Circling back--the thing to remember is that you are already determining your own worth, by agreeing or disagreeing with those who assess you as good/bad or some variation. You still have to buy into their perspective. And since you are the ultimate decider, decide now, that irrespective of the value assessments they are making and the validity of the feedback, the matter of your self-worth is settled. 
 
We were told a lie as children--something about original sin. It is more accurate to say we were born with universal innocence. And imagine, the preciousness and the innocence of a blameless child. At your core...that is you irrespective of any behaviors that are not aligned--YOU, at your core, are precious and pure, and have a hologram of divinity that you are reflecting and projecting. 
 
To think otherwise is an error--a mistake--and nothing more. 
 
In Service and in Evolution, 
 
Jason
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