Passing the four tests of transformation
Transformation is hard. We barely figured out the finite game of growth and surely we are confronted with the infinite game of transformation. A never ending circle. A circle we are more and more confronted with as our volatile world is pushing us back up into our minds making us wonder where we belong, who we are and what our purpose is. Creating uncomfortable situations in which we feel like we are on an important crossroad. These are often very personal struggles. These are struggles where it looks that more information, skills or knowledge don’t help us make the right decision. These are questions linked to our own inner world. Questions about how we position ourselves within the world and how we relate to the world. If we are able to give new meaning to this we are on our way to transformation.
Transformation and change are a continuous part of my work and I have seen some beautiful moments when I saw people transform right in front of me. I also have seen many people and teams get stuck.Which where unable to redefine their own story. Getting stuck in an old narrative, unable to see beyond it.
As I have seen so many people struggling with transformation, I decided to work on some inspiring paradoxes to help you break free. These paradoxes help you bring your internal discussions to the right abstraction level. We can sometimes get stuck in the details of our own situation, lacking to see a bigger picture and observing our own situation from a bit of a distance.
I have translates these paradoxes in four simple tests. They help you identify what is lacking in your own process to transform. Ready to take these?
The Family Test
To be AUTONOMOUS you need to be CONNECTED
Lots of people desire freedom or independence. I was one of those people. A big question to ask here is what is it you want to be free of and why? It is like why do you want to live on your own and not under the roof of your parents? This rebelious movement of breaking of is build on emotion. The escapism. A new start, new team or a new product is tempting. The empty paper. The clean start. Total control and absolute freedom to start from nothing. It is an illusion. There is no clean start. We always build on something that is already there. If you don’t see it yet and you really think you are doing something new than you are not ready. Understand that you are being freed up with a role to play. You are working under service of something or somebody. Understand which new generation you are building on top of an older one.
The Product Test
In order to GIVE away you need to be available to RECEIVE
The act of giving can only be done if in the same moment you are able to receive. So if you are currently thinking that it is truely you that is actually giving something to someone else, think again. You are receiving something by somebody in the same moment. Ask yourself what you have received in order for you to be able to give. If there is a blockage that does not allow the giver to receive the process stops. The helper that cannot be helped. The musician that is not inspired by other musicians and creates unique music. Transformation is not possible in these situations. In any creative expression there is input and output. Not just output. A product is in a sense always co-created. It is never the sole child of one person. Don’t focus on making products for someone. Instead focus on making products with someone. Are you totally present when you create? Is the brush less important than the painter? Does the audience influence the performance? Is the audience part of the creation? What enables you to express in the way you do? Be thankful and celebrate every unique creation.
The Responsibility Test
In order to TAKE your position you need to ACCEPT your position
We all have first names and last names. You could say that your last name says something about your lineage. Which family you belong to. To which system you are loyal. Your first name acknowledges you as a unique individual with freedom to give your own interpretation to the next generation of your family. In business you could say that with large organization people identify themselves by their “last name”. Employees say what they are a part of. Within the start-up and entrepreneurial world we tend to highlight our uniqueness, the “first name”. So in order to transform you need to know to what family you belong and you need to know what you will add that what has become before you. Currently many start-ups want to take their position through growth hacking. Many of the tasks associated with growthhacking are forceful in nature. It is creating room for the startup through seduction, hooks and pushing others to the side. Yet if a startup understands to which family they belong and in their behaviour they show that loyalty it will be easier to get into position. Which responsibility are you taking over?
The Sacrifice Test
In order to HOLD ON you need to LET GO
The last lesson is the hardest lesson for those that have gained a position and are defending it. The sadness of the end. Yet the only way to continue is understanding that by letting go we can start the process of transformation. Continuously letting go of small parts, will allow us to selfheal. As so much in business this is often done through forceful events, like massive lay-offs or bankruptcy, which unnecessarily hurt any system that is freeing up these resources. It is the closest thing to a traditional sacrifice. So what are you prepared to sacrifice in order to continue? And what needs to continue? Beliefs? Behaviour? Purpose? Family? Definitions? Function? It is exactly this process that shows you what you are loyal to. Opening up the discussion to defining your family. It shows our willingness to change.
Let me know if this helped you understand your own process of transformation.