Kymberly Johnson is a graduate of the 2001 Newfield Certified Coach Training Program.
We are living in a time when humanity faces monumental predicaments, the scale of which we have never seen before. Technological innovation is one way to confront these challenges, but the real innovation lies within…in evolving our way of being.
One domain where we have control and agency is within ourselves. In the midst of the uncertainty and chaos of our current world, I am excited that we are being called to use our inner human power to create ways of being that we don’t even know the signature of yet.
Much of my life’s work has been in exploring this fundamental question: What capacities must we embody to be the eye of the storm inside the chaos of all that continues to happen and change around us?
Where must we begin is with our mindset: How do we perceive the world? When we are able to notice that the way we see the world is not the only way, but just one way of many, we can begin to expand what we see…the realm of possibilities widens. In order to evolve as human beings, we need to expand our capacities to see in ways we have not seen before, to be able to create in ways we’ve not created before. Our survival now depends on this.
How It All Works Together
There’s more. Emotion fuels action, and we need to develop relevant and responsible emotional capacities in order to create new ways of perceiving to build a new world. Awareness and self-management of emotional patterns are key: of my emotional patterns, of yours, of ours.
From mindset and emotions, we move on, or rather IN, to body: It is important to have health and energy to carry out the necessary tasks of our times and be aware that the way we hold our bodies is a visible canvas of what we are living inside. When we step into postures that facilitate certain emotions as opposed to others, we can begin to shift our mood and thoughts. How we inhabit our body matters.
Another crucial human capacity is conversational intelligence. Conversations are generative. As Judith Glaser says, “Words create worlds.” Well, we need to create a new world. Different ways of speaking actually trigger different hormones in our bodies. When we speak in ways that stimulate defensiveness and reactivity, we trigger the stress hormone cortisol. This causes us to retreat to the primitive brain, which shuts down our frontal lobes — the area of the brain housing our capacity to reason, connect, and create.
On the other hand, when we speak in ways that engender connection and trust, oxytocin is produced, which is a bonding, feel good hormone. With so much at stake today, we need to know how to down-regulate reactivity in order to relate, build trust, and be able to move on together to co-create that which we know we must.
With this knowledge, we can begin to override old ways of being and old habits that keep us stuck in dysfunctional patterns. We can become more creative and evolve our ways of relating. Ultimately, we can move towards building a culture that is trusting and innovative rather than the culture of mistrust that just isn’t going to work anymore in today’s world. We must innovate out of our very human capacities. The future of our world depends on us!
Practice Becoming the Highest Version of Yourself
Our world needs our ongoing human evolution and challenges us to be the highest versions of ourselves, I invite you to experiment with the following exercises:
- Listen and speak:
- Listen to Connect (Conversational Intelligence, Judith Glaser): When someone else is speaking, we often listen to debate, listen to compare with what is going on in our mind, or listen to concoct our next response. Listening to Connect will allow the other person to feel heard and seen, which is one of the best inroads to build trust and to engender high-level relating.
- Vocabulary of Connection: Speak with words that support and connect, not judge or reject. Move away from criticizing and blaming and towards asking questions that seek to understand. Pay attention to aspirations: What is it that you and the other person are truly wanting from this conversation?
- Embody what you want to step into and become:
- Coherent Affirmations: You’ve probably heard of affirmations as a way to shift into a new way of being. But words without including emotions and the body are often not enough. Try this coherence of body, emotion, and language.
- Frame a New Declaration: Ask yourself what is the essence of what you want to claim for yourself. This may be the opposite of some pattern that has limited you in your life. [Start with “I am X.” For example, “I am enough,” instead of, “I am not enough.”]
- Supporting Emotions: Search inside to see what are some of the emotions that go with your statement. For example: “empowered and energetic.”
- Bring in the Body: Stand up and move around until you find a position in your body that captures what you are feeling. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do this. Discover what works for you. When you find that posture, scan your entire body so that you can remember what it is.
- Bring it Together: Now do all three at the same time. You are not just thinking words, you are feeling and sensing empowerment and confidence, you are shaping your body to match that, and you are stating what you are claiming for yourself (mantra or declaration).
- Practice these multiple times a day, every day. It only takes seconds to do. Remember, we become what we practice!