Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction

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Have you ever thought about the difference between developmental growth and transformation? Or, have or do you consider them the same? Hm.

There is an important distinction between developmental growth and transformation, which is important to both personal and professional development. Let’s take a look.

First, let’s define the terms.

development

Translate development into Spanish

NOUN

  • The process of developing or being developed.‘she traces the development of the novel’
    1. A specified state of growth or advancement.‘the wings attain their full development several hours after birth

transformation

Translate transformation into Spanish

NOUN

  • Thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.‘its landscape has undergone a radical transformation’
    1. A metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.‘Both the molting process and the metamorphic transformation from larva to pupa are coordinated and regulated by hormones.’

Ah, do you see the dinsticiton? Either way, let’s work it through.

Development

When you are interested in development, meaning available to it, you occupy a space that welcome’s learning. You stand outside of what you believe to be true about the world, and how you occupy it, and welcome new knowledge, new types of understanding, and new ways of being. Simple. Or is it?

Well, because we have an ego, or, wait, do we? Well, for the purposes of this post, let’s assume we do. Because we have an ego, we don’t like being wrong.

We are constantly seeking validation of what we know. Why?

Because it fits into our worldview. It is what we know. When information comes in, we assemble it into the the narrative of our worldview and who we believe we are. We confirm our ego.

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If the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, we really only have two choices.

Deny the existence of this new information, or become open to it.

Denying this new information is called denial. We are actively denying that another way to look at a situation or event is possible. Egocentric.

However, when we are open to the possibility that there are other ways to think about a situation or event, we have now entered into the developmental arena.

Meaning, that we can now take this new information in, make sense of it, and do something with it.

Even if the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, if we are open, we can incorporate it into our worldview rather easily. It is all about being open to new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.

The simplest example is to consider development at school and work. When we are confronted with new information, we have a choice. Assimilate and incorporate that new information into our existing worldview, creating new knowledge, or reject it.

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Example.

I am always in conversation with the team about our goals, objectives, and priorities. Recently, I was asked about hiring someone to run Zoom technology for the upcoming professional development trainings.

I, however, was unsure about the need. Didn’t know. I needed to think about it.

Well, the next week, I ran a Zoom meeting with the team. The meeting was 90-minutes and was about creating our next 30-day priorities. Part of the meeting was creating breakout rooms, which you can do in Zoom. The meeting was a complete disaster. Really, it was. What did I learn?

That you absolutely need someone to run technology while the person running the meeting does just that, runs the meeting. I learned through doing the meeting that hiring someone for a Zoom tech position was absolutely necessary. We are hiring someone right now.

I moved from questioning the need, reflecting upon it, to learning that we definitely needed the new position. I developed.

Alright, that’s development. Opportunities for development are available every day. If you don’t see them, it might be that you are avoiding them or in denial about them. It’s not a demerit. I didn’t develop for a long time. Really. I wasn’t interested. Not a judgement. Just a fact. Let’s now look at transformation.

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Transformation

Now, transformation implies a complete change to the object, thing, or person. Yep, that’s right. How then does transformation differ from development?

While development requires an active openness, as we’ve discussed, transformation requires openness and a complete and total letting go of what was, in favor of what will be. It requires a shift from a focus on the external to the internal.

Transformation is about questioning all you know. Every ounce of what you know, or beleive you know, must be questioned.

Further, you must be willing to let go of how you previously viewed the world. Open to a continual process of creating new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.

The distinction is that with transformation you actively seek out opportunities to question the ways you think, act, and occur. Internally focused.

You are continuously interested in disrupting your old habits and ways of thinking while creating new habits and ways of thinking.

Let me give you an example to help with the distinction.

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Let us say you want to develop leadership skills. You can develop leadership skills in lots of ways. You can take classes, read books, even put leadership principles into practice in your life. That is development.

You incorporate new information into the preexisting way you already think about leadership. Simple. How then to create transformation? Mm. Different.

You must be willing to let go of all of your preconceived ideas about what leaders are supposed to do, how they are supposed to act, and how they are supposed to be. All of them. Then what?

You leave your ego at the door.

And, everything you think you know about leadership. Start over. Really. Let it all go. And, create from there.

Transformation can only occur when we let go. Know also that the letting go will need to happen again, and again, and again. Over and over. Why? Because you are disrupting what you held to be true, and creating something new. Key. You are not adding, you are creating.

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Example

Let’s see. Okay. Here we go.

When the pandemic began here locally, we were approaching the last week of the term at the community college where I work. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I work in community and continuing education. It is all experiential. All of it. Which means that it is in-person. All of it is, or was.

Within one month of the pandemic beginning here, we let go of all the concepts we held to be true about our business model. All of them. What happened?

We created an entirely new business model. A model that is transformational, as all aspects of it are completely different than the previous model. All of them.

We created all new processes and systems for how we do business. New ways we market and engage with the local community, new ways that instructors teach their classes, even the content that is delivered, while similar, is still completely new. Why?

Because a completely new context has been created. And it was created intentionally by believing something else was possible. Which then replaced our current belief system of how we all viewed our work.

All of us. now our actions follow that new belief system. That is transformation.

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When you intentionally create new ways to be, new ways to think, new ways to believe, new ways to be a human, you are creating contexts that are transformational. Never seen or experienced before. Transformation.

How are development and transformation similar?

One key way. When you develop, whether you want to or not, you give out your development to others. If those around you are open, they will learn from you and also develop. And, it is the exact same for you. If those around you are developing, and you are open you will also develop.

It is the same with transformation. If you are creating transformational contexts that change the nature of what’s possible, those around you, if they are open, will also transform. If they are open. If not, then they won’t. Same for development.

Can development lead to transformation?

Oh, yes, absolutely. In some ways, they sort of go together, which is why I wanted to write about the distinction. Whereas they are different, they both are about being open to and participating in creating change.

Here is a distinction on the difference between change and transformation.

“Change is about using external influences to modify actions to achieve desired results. Transformation is about modifying beliefs so that natural actions achieve the desired results.”

cioinsight.com

See the difference? One is externally driven, and one is internally driven. Very similar to the distinction between development and transformation. Important.

How do you begin to develop or transform?

Really it’s pretty simple, yet not easy. A paradox, yep. My suggestion?

  • Be open to everything around you. Being open is probably the key to both development and transformation. Both become possible when we are open to new information and new experiences.

When we are open, the world opens up. It really does. There is so much to learn and to experience. Being open creates an immediate possibility. The possibility that you will learn to be more. More of either how you already occur, or more by occurring in a completely new way in a completely new context.

#beliefsystems, #changeandtransformation, #covid-19, #creatingchange, #creatingnewcontexts, #creatingnewknoweldge, #creatingnewwaysofbeing, #creativity, #development, #developmentalgrowth, #distinction, #distinctionbetweentransformationanddevelopment, #ego, #growth, #humandevelopment, #leadership, #letting-go, #personaldevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #transformation

A Bloggers’ Diary 7/23/20: COVID-19 and Our Emotional and Creative Selves

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Phew, what a week. All across the country we are still seeing rises in the COVID-19 virus. As I’ve mentioned, most of my extended family lives in Los Angeles, and the virus incident rate is particularly high there right now.

It’s a lot for everyone to bear right now. A lot. Know that even when you feel like you are the only one feeling anxious, sad, confused, angry, frustrated, or any other emotion that arises; you are not alone.

Repeated. You are not alone.

We all feel. We all feel the same emotions. They come and go, here one moment, then gone the next. Normal human experience.

This week I was feeling particularly blocked. No real writing ideas were forthcoming. Frustrating. And, as I’ve written about in other posts, this happens to us all. You can insert whatever medium you like here, arts, science, it doesn’t matter. We all get blocked. Stuck.

You know what it was for me this week?

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Mm. Took me about two days to figure it out, which means that I continued to do my day like always, feeling overwhelmed. For me, the first indicator something is going on. Then it occurred to me. You’ve not cried at all this week.

You may be saying, jeez, it’s only Wednesday. Yet, as was aforementioned, we all have a lot to hold, handle, and deal with right now. Letting out those tears then is not only needed, it is necessary. For everyone, and especially those that live their life from a creative standpoint.

Creativity becomes blocked when we hold onto our emotions. Yep. What did I do? I cried. And, guess what? Almost immediately I had several new insights, which I am currently writing about, including this blog.

It is so interesting to write about the importance of doing our inner work, being with our emotions, probing into them, really feeling them, letting them go, and still continue to get stuck holding onto mine. A Paradox? Yes.

It is the reality of the situation. Humanness.

Happens to us all. It is part of being human. It is the pain, and WONDER about being human. It is also the continuous learning about being human.

Learning from ourselves and each other. Beautiful.

On this Wednesday, then, I send you peace and love; and, knowing that your emotions, which may be erratic and more complex than normal due to our current reality, are not abnormal. You are just like me. And, I am just like you.

When you need to cry do so, and see what comes on the other side of those tears that are ready to pour forth.

Be well. Love well. Create well.

#anger, #covid-19, #creation, #creativity, #crying, #doubt, #emotional-intelligence, #emotions, #fear, #frustration, #learninghumanness, #letting-go, #worry

Purpose and Life: How to Create Purpose in Each Moment of Your Life

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A purpose-driven life. What does that mean? Any idea? Okay, well, as with most things, there is no one way to think about purpose, or life. Lots of ways to think about these concepts. And, for sure, they are just that, concepts. As humans we often become confused about the meaning we derive from concepts. Why?

Because we create meaning to make sense of the world. And, we create concepts or stories with the language we use to describe our experience. I’ve written about this in other posts, yet it is also instructive here. Why? Because searching for purpose is something that humans spend a lot of time, and money on. Is it necessary? Not sure? Let’s take a look.

What does purpose have to do with life?

How many times have you heard someone utter the phrase, I found my purpose! Yep, me too. And, I’ve uttered that phrase myself. What’s the issue with this way of thinking?

One issue is that if we find purpose outside of ourselves, then it can be taken away. Make sense? Sometimes people land the job they’ve always wanted, and believe the job, or the company, will deliver the purpose they’ve been looking for.

I lived the majority of my life this way. Yep. True. Yet, what I’ve come to realize in the past three years, is that purpose, like all concepts that are created in language, live inside of us. Period. Then what does that mean for people that are in search of purpose?

It means that they will never find it in the world. Not until they find it within themselves. There really is no other way. What we create within us, can never be taken away. Why? Because we’ve created it, and it lives within us. Not accessible to others, unless we choose to invite them.

This may be hard to believe for some, and for others may make perfect sense. We create purpose in our lives. Period.

We are the active agents in creating purpose, and all other concepts that are derived from language. They come from within. Has always worked this way, and will always continue to work this way. What about people who say they’ve found their purpose, and that their purpose lives in the outside world? Depends.

If they’ve created that purpose from within, then when circumstances change their purpose will remain. However, if their purpose is attached to something that lives in the world, and does not live within them, then that purpose may fade. Why is this so?

Because life is full of change. The world, everything around us and within us, is always in a constant state of change. Constant. And, what happens with change?

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Where there is constant change, it is only a matter of time before that which we’ve attached our purpose to also changes. And, when it does, there goes our purpose. Extremely painful. Let me give you an example.

When I was first married, we lived in a couple of different apartments in Los Angeles. After a few years, we were ready to buy a home. Hard to do in LA. However, we persisted, and found one. A lovely little home.

In the time we searched for this house, many people told me things like, owning a home is the best, it is everything people say and more. Because my parents were homeowners, I believed that homewoning was a requirement. Owning a home became my purpose at that time in my life.

It was perfect. Our sons were very little, and we were on our way to homeownership. The issue, you ask? Well, this was in 2004. And, what happened in 2007 and 2008? Yep. The housing crash.

Though we ended up selling the house in LA, and purchasing one in AZ, we ended up foreclosing on that house in 2007. That was one of the most painful experiences of my life. Tons of tears. It was as if a part of me had been ripped right out of me. Why?

Because the purpose I had created in language, lived outside of me. When the house foreclosed, then, it was a visceral experience of loss. Losing something so dear, and so important to me. Really was painful. And, why was it so painful?

Because the concept of purpose that I created was that being a homeowner was not only the next step in my life, but was also a step that would bring me peace and security.

What followed? A ton of shame about foreclosing on that house. Shame followed naturally because I had created a purpose that lived outside of me, and that purpose was attached to a particular way of being, and result. Painful. Yet not the only way to create purpose. There is a different way. Let’s take a look.

How can we create purpose in our lives?

When purpose is created from within, it’s never about what’s outside of you. Not ever. Purpose is derived from the actions you take inside of the manifold things that you do. Period.

The main difference for me, is that I don’t have a particular purpose, outside of living my life fully in every moment. This moment, then the next, then the next. And, the purpose that is derived from within is generalizable to all contexts.

A walk on the beach; a conversation with a friend or loved one, a meeting at work, writing this post. Same. They all feel similar to me today. Was not always the case.

When you have a purpose that starts inside of you, the world looks and feels different. Why? Because you are more present to each moment, and all of the wonder that lives there.

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When we are able to get outside of our minds continuous longing to be busy, to find purpose, we can be more still. And, in that stillness, purpose is actually kind of a funny concept. What purpose does one really need in this life, but to live; and, live well?

How do you create purpose? Well, that is up to you. You can look, and be on a continuous quest for something that is already inside of you. Many people, including myself for most of my life, live that way.

Or, you can begin to understand that we are the active agents and creators of our purpose. And, in each moment a purpose can be created from within you, no matter what you are doing. Anything, at any time.

For instance, I am now at the coast for a couple of days. Nice. Upon arriving, I walked on the beach for a little while. Just walked. Was beautiful. Then I came back to the tiny, and I mean tiny, room I’m staying in, and meditated for 30-minutes. Now I’m finishing up this post. Then, I’ll get dinner, and then, don’t know.

Doesn’t matter. What comes in each moment will come; and I’ll see it as it comes. Life is actually quite exhilarating that way. No conceptualization of how it will be, or what I’m supposed to be doing. Just doing. That’s all.

What actions can you take to create purpose in each moment?

  • Live life fully – whatever you are doing, be present to that context, and fully enjoy each moment. When we are not present, and are thinking about other things, we miss our opportunity to create our inner purpose in that moment.
  • Be the best iteration of yourself – when we give everything we have in every moment, regardless of what we are doing, we are living purposefully. Give your all, always.
  • Create your purpose from within – create your purpose from within you, and create it again, and again. Each moment, of every day. That’s living a full life.
  • Be who you really are – your inner purpose will come from who you really are, not a performance based upon who others think you are. Be who you are, and your purpose will show up.
  • Stay engaged with all that you do – we have so many things that we can do, and contribute to. Phew, so much to do. And, being engaged in all that you do, is important to creating that inner purpose. Engagement means getting the most out of everything you do. Important.
  • Let go of expectations you have – when we have expectations about how things are supposed to go, we set ourselves up for disappointment. And, there is no purpose in disappointment. Don’t expect, just be present and do.

Alright, there are a few actions you can take to begin to create that inner purpose. Funny. It’s already there, you just need to slow down, be present, appreciate everything that is in front of you, and experience the life that is there to be lived.

Let go of the life you think you should be living, and live the one that is right in front of you. You will see, feel, and believe in your new found purpose, whatever it is.

#being-who-you-are, #creating-purpose, #letting-go, #life, #living-a-full-life, #living-in-the-moment, #purpose