I work with this great mentor, called Hilary Cotton. She's coached me over a long period of time, and her insights and support have been invaluable.
In our last session, I was describing the development of this website, and how the process that the web development team took me through obliged me to think really hard about what I do to help clients and to develop my field. (Thanks Jonathan, David and Matthew!)
I mentioned the challenge that I have set myself here - for all my work to contribute to real change for sustainable development.
The work that needs doing is the work of transformation, and that's where my passion is.
But, maybe inevitably, it isn't where all my work is.
Some of the work clients ask for is a bit more workaday - more about being a bit better in today's context, than co-creating a transformed future.
And I was feeling uncomfortable about the incongruence, to the point of wondering if I should change the text on the page.
Thanks to Hilary's incisive questions, I had an insight: I was disappointed that not all my work is transformational, and I was letting my disappointment get right in the way.
The incisive questions technique leads you to identify limiting assumptions and replace them with liberating assumptions.
Here's the liberating assumption I came up with, which is also a reframing of my emotional response:
If I knew that respecting my disappointment will lead to understanding better the opportunities for transformation, I will pay it proper attention and be unafraid of it.
So here's the reframe: I can view my disappointment as a phenomenon, and be curious about it and what it teaches me about transformation.
I feel disappointed in what I've been able to do in this piece of work. That's interesting.
And more, I can respect my disappointment, as a useful companion which can remind me about what I value and what my ambitions are.
Hello, Disappointment. What can I learn from walking with you, looking you in the face and studying you for a bit?
And then I can bid it goodbye, and try on another attitude.
I'm going to look at this another way: with curiosity about what will happen, gratitude that the work was brought to me, and openness to what might emerge from it.
And I won't be afraid of being disappointed in the future.