- Discover the 3 environmental elements that affect your self-awareness and your goal achievement
- Learn what the perspective bubble is and how you must avoid it at all costs
- The most common mistakes that people make once they understand this
- Watch the entire video to get the full lesson
- Download the worksheet that accompanies this blog post so that you make the most of your learning
- If you are an agent of change (coach, consultant, educator, etc) and seek to cause transformations in the lives of your clients, download the Human Transformation Canvas, free.
Hey Growth Seekers. It’s Ralph Plaskett, author of the acclaimed book, Deepening Growth, and transformation coach to those seeking a deeper connection to purpose, clarity of identity, and effective pursuit of achievement.
Listen, have you ever had a feeling that the life you are leading doesn’t feel exactly right? Sure, everything might be good. You’ve to gain various levels of success and countless people around you shower you with praise or admire your achievements. Nevertheless, there is something missing, something just not right.
You might feel how are you to have this feeling that something isn’t right when so many things are going in your favor? The reality is, there is a void that you just can’t put your finger on. You are not alone. Frankly, there are more people who live in this state of existence than we are aware of.
I remember having a disorienting dilemma around my identity. There was a difference of I saw myself and the way that others saw me. It was the event that caused me to realize that something was just not right. Yes, everything was going well. I had everything that I wanted – a beautiful wife, two wonderful kids, and a promising career.
What I came to realize was that I wasn’t rightly relating to my authentic self. And that’s when I dove headfirst in leading an authentic life unbounded by my constructed beliefs and social norms.
Meet my client Jasmine. For the purpose of confidentiality, names have been changed. Jasmine had everything going on. She is a high achiever and what she focuses on, she accomplishes. She had a successful entrepreneur career in the high-stakes, highly political and competitive Washington DC market. She was viewed as a mentor and a leader among her peers. Yet in a few short years, she experienced two pivotal events that caused her to question everything.
Conventional knowledge would say to “shut up and color” meaning that one should stop complaining about all the good things going on in your life even if it is not exactly what you wanted and just go with the flow. But what kind of life does this lead to? Sure, based on social standards all the boxes are checked and therefore you’ve achieved what most would only dream of. Yet the reality is, social standards of success can and do lead to lives of quiet desperation and an empty unfulfilled existence.
When I began working together with Jasmin as her coach, there was a single theme that continued to come up during our sessions. Encompassed in a simple yet profound question – Who is Jasmine? – was the theme of clarity. And this is what I wanted to talk with you about today.
Before we can move into the clarity framework, it is important that we review the environmental conditions that have a significant effect on our clarity. There are three environmental conditions that we must be self-aware of in order to not allow them to unconsciously affect our psyche and its effects on our clarity.
The first is the actual physical environment. The physical environment around us and the culture influenced by the environment plays a significant role in shaping our mental models that have an impact on the effectiveness of our personal clarity. You see the physical environment in part shapes our individuality.
Take two identical twins and for the purpose of this exercise, the emphasis is on their near-identical genetic makeup. Place these twins in separate physical environments – let’s say the great plains of Wyoming and the tropical isles of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The way that these twins adapt to their environments is based on the specific environment and as we can see they will be drastically different.
The physical environment shapes the way that we interact with the world and the people around us. The crowded streets of a big city like New York or Tokyo may cause someone to be more accepting of loud noises, people in close personal space, and busy. This may be just the opposite for someone who grew up in the small towns of the Great Plains.
This first environment also takes into consideration the micro-social environments such as family units and macro-social environments such as schools, neighborhoods, regions, countries, and cultures. Just listing all of these is a lot, so consider that effect and impact that these environments (the geographic and social) have on shaping who you are and its continued impact on your clarity.
The chief thing to remember here is that we are NOT our environment. Yes. It significantly contributes to our development and its impact on our clarity but it does not mold us in cement blocks, unable to move or change or adapt. We are living breathing creatures, but we are not plants. We can change, adapt, move, and shape ourselves into what we need to be to live a life that we are proud of.
Many people use their environments as the scapegoat of their excuses, the reason for their failures, the reason for their unhappiness. If this wasn’t true then there wouldn’t be rags to riches stories. If this wasn’t true then there wouldn’t be hope for 90% of the world’s population. The truth is, our greatest work is the exploration deep within to model ourselves to the achievement of our deepest ambitions. This brings me to our second environmental condition.
The second is our mental environment. This environment describes how we interact in the world with others and the way that we view ourselves in the world. There are two illustrations that we are going to look at to succinctly describe the mental environment in the most action-oriented way that I know-how.
The first illustration is a framework known as the Karpman’s Drama triangle. The three corners of this triangle is represented by the victim, persecutor, and rescuer. The victim is described as the person who possesses a “whoa is me” attitude or the world is against me. The persecutor is described as the person who looks to blame anyone or anything outside of themselves. They are critical, blaming, oppressive, and controlling.
Lastly, the rescuer is described as the person that seeks to solve the problems of others while not addressing their own; what’s more, the rescuer enables both the victim and the persecutor personalities. Each of us has the ability to be in any one of these personalities at any given time in any given circumstance.
As you may have noticed, the drama triangle is well, full of drama and is associated with negative responses to the world around us.
The flipside of this is Emerald’s empowerment dynamic triangle. And you guessed it, it has three corners that represent the creator, challenger, and coach. Like the characters in the drama triangle, we are able to possess anyone of these characteristics at any given time. The creator characteristic is described as tapping into their passions to fuel the achievement of outcomes. They are focused on creating and moving things forward. The challenger is described as focusing on learning and growth. They are the ones who like to hold the creators accountable by building them up vs the persecutor who seeks to tear people down. Finally, we have the coach who uses compassion and active inquiry to help creators develop a vision and plan. They provide encouragement, support, and a safe space to design and improve actions.
If we look at both of these triangles, they both represent two distinct ways that we can view the world. One more positive than the other. One more empowering and liberating than the other. One focuses on growth while the other focuses on limits. Two ways to view and operate in the world and the choice is yours on which one you feel enables you to achieve your aspirations.
The goal is to be aware of how we are relating to others and which personality we are most displaying. We want to possess what I call the achiever personality where we relate rightly to the world around us, owning not only our good but also our bad and ugly circumstances; possess the resilience to handle difficult situations, and focus on achieving my aims.
The third and final environment is our emotional environment. I like to call this our emotional climate. This environment encompasses our emotions, moods, and feelings about ourselves and the world around us. All of these words may sound familiar but there are some key distinctions that when we understand them, we are more aware of the things that affect our states of being. For instance, moods are long-term effects of our state of mind. We essentially live in a mood. The mood is our baseline. Moods are not affected by external factors. Our emotions are short-term responses to external factors that have an effect on our mood. So our mood is our baseline not affected by external factors while our emotions are short-term instinctive responses to external factors.
And then there are feelings. Feelings are our conscious response to moods and emotions. If we had absolutely no control over our moods and emotions, then we have full control over our feelings. In our feelings we have the ability to respond differently than our emotions often do. Take the emotion of fear for example. In fear we have the feelings of fright, of being scared, of being anxious. These are typical responses. But we do not have to respond this way. In our feelings we have a choice. For instance – instead of responding to fear with feelings of fright, being scared or anxiety – we can redirect that energy to feelings of readiness and focus.
In the martial arts world, Aikido is a martial art form that was featured in countless 1990s films by Steven Seagal. This martial arts form is known for using the opponent’s own energy/attacks against them. Likewise, we can use the instinctive response to external factors known as emotions and redirect that energy to a more empowering feeling.
This is a powerful technique that you can begin employing today. You don’t have to be a zen master. You don’t have to practice 10,000 hours of meditation before you can begin. What you must do is become more aware of your mood, emotions, and feelings.
There is a common misconception that you should stop having bad emotions. As we just learned, emotions are natural instinctive responses. We don’t want to stop having those. They are built-in responses that have allowed humans to survive this long and allowed for you to get this far. What we want to do is move from surviving to thriving. We do this by changing how we respond to these instinctive responses to external forces; by changing the meaning of the feelings that we have when these emotions come up.
So let’s review. Here are the 3 ways to be more self-aware of your environment.
- You can choose not to be a product of your environment as they would say. Your physical environment plays a significant role in developing you as an individual. Becoming aware of how your environment has shaped you allows you to focus on the areas that require attention that will bring you closer to your wants out of life.
- You can either be the victim or the creator. The way you respond will determine the outlook of your future. How we relate to ourselves and the world around us determines how far we can climb.
- You have the ability to control your emotions by changing how you feel about them. Like the martial arts form – Aikido – you have the ability to shift the energy of your emotions to a more productive state. You can change how you feel about Fear, for example, and change it from fright to a feeling of readiness; from anxiety to a feeling of focus.
Here are the most common mistakes that people make once they understand this.
- They reject everything that they hear and think that they have everything going on. Listen, even the most successful people in any area of life, understand that regardless of the level of achievement, there is more growth, that is required. Learning, especially about yourself, doesn’t stop.
- They give up on the change because it is difficult. Look, change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and focused effort to do so. You will slip back into old habits. The goal isn’t to get frustrated when this happens, but recognize it for what it is and identify the triggers that caused you to revert back to those habits.
- Which brings me to not becoming self-aware specifically, in identifying the triggers that you have around your habits and emotions. Your triggers are indicators on what causes you to do unproductive/disempowering things. Knowing what they are is half the battle. The other half is identifying the appropriate response to get the results you want.
Listen. You are a powerful person who has or can develop more control in your life by understanding the elements discussed in this video.
You are not stuck.
You are not a product of your environment.
You are capable of more than you imagine.
And that’s not just a cliche saying. I’ve studied human performance for a long time and I’ve dedicated my life to facilitating the transformation of persons to reach their highest potential. And one thing is for sure. You are capable of much more than you imagine. You have the capacity for greater things than you are even aware of. It will take work. It will take time. Anything worth doing is worth the work and time.