Plus, I’m participating in a wonderful Coaches Rising course called “Become a Transformative Presence” and have already experienced amazing teaching from Jim Dethmer, Nicholas Janni, and John Prendergast. Much of what I’m learning is mind blowing in the best possible way AND a key idea that has really opened up my eyes is from Jim Dethmer – acceptance precedes shifting; transformation is actually dependent on accepting where we are first! What?! My view has always been that the way I move is to notice what I don’t accept and then change! How can it be that to shift I first accept!
I explored this a little further with my coach and found that the definition of acceptance I’m operating with is more like resignation which then turns into stagnation and ultimately quitting. And if you know me, you know that I’m not a quitter! So therefore based on my definition I’m not an “accepter” either. And that rings true for me. I’m always looking for ways for me and those close to me to be better, work harder, do more – my visceral reaction to “accepting” where I’m at or others are at is disappointment even despair, it feels like giving up. What, this is all I’m going to be or get?! If I truly accept myself, my circumstances, others, how will I get myself to move forward? What’s the incentive? Instead I’m going to wallow in my “acceptance.” Huh …
What would life look like if I redefined acceptance as being and moving with what is? If I start with acceptance and see what unfolds – my first thought is that it would be a heck of a lot easier! Resisting where I’m at is actually a lot of work! Playing with accepting and, hold on here, actually welcoming what I’m experiencing right now feels like an opening. And that opening gets even bigger when I consider accepting where others are at too – you mean I don’t have to micro-manage what my kids are doing and call it parenting?! That truly does blow my mind! My new practice based on Jim Dethmer’s work is to try out the four A’s, Acknowledge, Allow, Accept, and Appreciate and see what emerges. Want to join me? If you do, I’d love to hear from you! And even if you don’t, I accept that and would love to hear from you!
Caroline Cochran, PhD is a Certified Presence-Based® Coach and a Leadership Development Consultant with over 25 years of experience.