Siobhán Cahalan | What if…we occupy the Center?

“What does the position of you, on the page, say about your life situation? What does it say about where you see yourself with regards to your life situation?”

Change. What is the reality of where you are right now? Where is it you would like to be? Maybe you are 100% fine with everything in your life and there is nothing you would like to change. Maybe you think you are happy with everything but somewhere inside there is a niggling feeling that something isn’t ok. Or maybe you are painfully aware that so much needs to change and you are screaming for it.

Consider for a moment your life situation. What do you consider to be your life situation? Our life situation may consist of all those things we have going on in our life. And many of the people we have relationships with in our life. When you think of all the things and all the relationships you have going on in your life, how many are there? Are there too many to count? How about making a note of them? 

A little exercise:

Draw a circle and write all the elements of your life situation in the circle. 

Now, draw you.

Where are you on the page? Are you in the circle? Are you outside the circle? Are you positioned at the lower right of the page? Are you in the center of the circle? Are you on the edge of the circle, not in-not out? Are you inside and close to the edge of the circle? Are you on the page at all?

What does the position of you, on the page, say about your life situation? What does it say about where you see yourself with regards to your life situation?

If you are not on the page, what does that tell you? If you are sitting on the edge on the circle, what does that tell you? In the center?

Often, we are told that we ourselves have to change. We have to change our very being before our life can become better. Consider that we don’t have to change ourselves. We are perfect as we are. It is our current uniqueness which makes us who we are. 

When we look at our life situation, we see that if we change elements in our life situation, our life will begin to change. We do not need to force ourselves to change. We do not need to force change upon ourselves. We can review the external elements and make changes there. In doing that, we may evolve, we may change, but it will happen organically in tune with the flow of the change happening outside.

When we occupy the center of our circle, it seems as though we remain fixed, anchored while the elements change. And having this sense of anchoring can help when other things are changing. 

But, we are not a fixed entity. We change all the time. Every day we change. Everything changes every day. That is the nature of nature and the nature of life. The more we become conscious of our life situation and evolve it, the less chance we have of being fixed, and we allow ourselves greater freedom for our subtle evolution.

The same exercise, The Circle™, can be done in an organizational setting. Where is the focus now? How cluttered is it? Where is the energy of people invested? Are the employees connected to the elements? Are the elements individually constructed appropriately? Are the elements connected? Is there a big picture view that pulls everything together? Does every employee feel connected to the vision and are all heading in the same, planned, direction?

What are four ways which may help us occupy the center?

We could see the wood for the trees. We could become aware of how cluttered our circle is, how the small details are causing us feelings of overwhelm and gain clarity through simplifying.

We could regain a sense of control. Or gain a sense of control we may never have had. Through better management of our life situation, we place ourselves in the center.

We could make it lean. We can draw a new circle. We can place the elements we want to have in there.

We could close the gap. What reality am I experiencing now? What reality would I like? How can I close the gap to get there?

Wisdom Tool Number One: See the Wood

How many elements are in the circle? Did they all fit in the circle or are they flowing over the edges? Do you feel there are many others to add? How cluttered is it? Are you surprised with the number of items? 

How lost are you in the elements? In the details of the elements?

“A cluttered circle may contribute to feeling disconnected from your own life.”

A cluttered circle can be the cause of feelings of overwhelm, stress, lethargy. Do you feel connected to your life? Are you connected to the things you do? Do you feel connected to the people in the circle? 

A cluttered circle may contribute to feeling disconnected from your own life. A circle containing few elements, but the elements are not the right elements for you, can contribute to feeling disconnected. If you look at an element and you notice feelings of being disconnected, it may be worth taking the element apart to explore what is it in that element that is causing the disconnect. As you do this with each element, you may begin to notice a pattern. What do the aspects have in common? Is there a common theme that presents itself? Look it in the face, and make a note of it. Releasing it from the circle may be what is needed.

A cluttered circle can prevent us seeing the wood from the trees. Getting lost in the details and minutiae and not being able to see the bigger picture. Becoming aware of the individual and collective elements helps us gain an overview, the helicopter view. It helps us to see more clearly. It helps us to accept where we are right now and gain the clarity to see what needs to change.

In an organization, what are the elements making up each employees circle? Do they make sense in the bigger picture? Are the elements connected to the vision of the organization? Are the collective elements of the team streamlined? Is there overlap, duplication? What are the reasons for feelings of disconnect? 

Wisdom Tool Number Two: Regain Control

If you placed yourself not in the center, does it contribute to you feeling not in control of your own life? Can you remember a time when you felt you had control? What were the elements then? Why did you feel more in control then?

“Consciously choosing the elements in your circle helps you regain footing and paves the way for better management of your life.” 

Maybe, we feel we have never been in the center of our circle. Maybe we feel we have never even had our own circle. Become aware of that. Accept it. Now, you get to draw your own circle, and place yourself in the center, and feel somewhat in control of your life situation, your life.

Become aware of each element. Consciously choosing the elements in yourcircle helps you regain footing and paves the way for better management of your life. Better managing your life helps to create the things you want and need, unique to you. And creating the things you want and need leads to greater wellbeing overall.

In an organization, does each employee know what their roles and responsibilities are? Is it agreed in writing? Does it make sense? Are expectations aligned? Where is energy being lost? Are employees self-managing or being micro-managed? How can employees be encouraged to be in the center of their responsibilities and understand the impact and alignment with others and the wider goals?

Wisdom Tool Number Three: Make it Lean

As we look at the elements of our life situation, how many are there? Are there elements in there you didn’t know were there? When you explore how you feel, can you see the link between an element and your feeling – good or less good. 

“Accept the elements in the circle. Accept where you are placed. Accept the now.” 

If you are “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired”, which of the elements is contributing to you feeling that way? Or is it the sheer amount of elements that are helping you feel that way, overwhelmed, stuck, tired? Are you distracted? Procrastinating? Unfocused?

One by one, how does each element contribute to how you feel? Those elements which contribute to feelings you’d rather not have, can you remove them from the circle?

Accept the elements in the circle. Accept where you are placed. Accept the now. This is where you are at. It is now. Note how many elements are there. Note the quantity of elements. Note the quality of the individual elements. The quality of the circle altogether.

Remove the excess, the ones which are not supporting the life situation you want to have. Making it lean will enable you to focus, to keep your eye on what it is you want. Simplify the circle, simplify the words in the circle. Allow the elements to be things you move towards. Not things you run away from.

In an organization, two buzz words: streamline and lean. What are the surplus activities? What elements keep employees and the organization from moving cohesively forward? How can removing the surplus and duplication support a more efficient and agile environment?

Wisdom Tool Number Four: Close the Gap

Draw a new circle. In the new circle, write the elements you want to keep. Only those you want to keep. Is the quantity much less? Is the circle less cluttered? How do each of these elements contribute to how you feel? Perhaps some of the elements which you removed in the first circle could be replaced by their opposite in the new circle. So instead of focusing on what we don’t want, we can focus on the thing we want.

“Each time, you are faced with a choice, bring yourself to the center of the circle and make a choice from there.”

Can you clearly see where you are now and where you would like to be? Can you see the difference between the first circle and the second circle? Where are you in the second circle? Place yourself in the center.

Each time, you are faced with a choice, bring yourself to the center of the circle and make a choice from there. Each day, we are faced with multiple possible choices. Become aware of all the choices you have in a certain moment. Scan through the choices and make a decision based on being in the center of your circle. The best decision for you, in that moment, that supports the elements you want to have in your life. Feel the strength coming from making decisions in that place.

Where are you now? Where do you want to be? Are you in the center? Having streamlined the elements and knowing now what elements I want in my circle, how can I close the gap to make it a reality? What support do I need to keep my focus on the elements I want in my life? What do I need to do to create and sustainably maintain the life situation I want? What is the gap between where I am now and where I want to be? 

We may have a perception that other people want us to have the circle we have. Is it a fact or is it a belief? That is our belief. Do people really care what elements are in your circle? Would people even notice if you changed the elements or the make-up of elements in your circle? Would they notice if you edged closer to the center? Maybe they would appreciate the new management style of your life situation and the wellbeing it emanates? Could they be relieved that you are now feeling in control of your life? And not trying to be in control of theirs? And how that makes their life better as a result? Would they be inspired? Take it as an example for their lives?

In an organization, where do we want to be? What is the ultimate vision? What elements are needed to compose the vision and fulfill the goals? What is the gap? How can we strive to close the gap and achieve the well-defined goals?

If we are feeling overwhelmed and not in control of our life situation, we can rise above the detail and get a clear overview, we can place ourselves in the center and (re)gain a sense of control, we can simplify and we can move towards creating the life situation we do want.

“Good self-governance leads to good organizational governance.”

To further explore how you can access your innate wisdom, to better understand the elements making up your circle and to make way for positive change in your life situation, leading to enhanced self-governance and organizational governance, schedule a coaching conversation with Siobhán. 

Drop a note to to set something up.

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