Status and success vs. significance

Status and success vs. significance

Recently, Ive been contemplating status and success vs significance.

That bird in the photo… I doubt that he or she contemplates success. But a bird carries significance. It has an important role to play in the balance of nature.

And it plays its role well. A bird is always true to its bird nature.

But, humans are different.

Add cultural conditioning and most of us are out of sync with our true nature and natural energy balance.

Success and status permeate our cultural conditioning.

Have you noticed the different language used for success vs. significance? People chase or attain success. They seek significance or make a significant contribution.

Early in life, success and significance get confused. Chasing success often hides an unconscious search for significance.

The mistaken belief is that success will bring validation from others – and therefore status. This belief is a poor substitute for the genuine feeling and knowing of significance.

It is not uncommon to hear stories of successful but unhappy and unfulfilled people. Unconscious searching for significance, via success, has an enormous trap.

When there is a high need for external validation, a person is more likely to sacrifice their personal values and integrity in order to maintain the status quo. In other words they end up being valued for the wrong things. I confess to falling into this trap – more than once.

What may begin in childhood, in order to stay safe and to belong, has a nasty habit of continuing into adulthood, with disastrous consequences. Toxic relationships. Burnout. Poor choices that undermine self respect.

But, personal crises can serve as an initiation to the true journey, hinted at in myth, stories and parables through the ages. Mapped out for us all by Joseph Campbell in the 20th century. He called it the Hero’s Journey.

We are unwittingly captivated by the potential of this journey, which is invisibly wired into us. Many of our most loved films capitalise on this by basing their plots on the Hero’s Journey model. (Applies for heroine’s too.)

As a transformational coach, I use this model with my clients, supporting them on their lifetime adventure to realise their true nature, from which can flower more effective expression of their unique gifts through work and in relationships..

You could say that the success of this journey is the discovery of True Significance.

True Significance does not come from external sources and especially, it does not come from self sacrifice. It comes from deep knowing and being faithful to a sense of purpose. And that journey is lifelong.


Have men and women forgotten how to hunt?

Have men and women forgotten how to hunt?

Have men and women forgotten how to hunt? Is the secret to maintaining passion, sustaining a sense of purpose and using personal power effectively linked to keeping innate hunting instincts honed? 

I’ve been thinking about this recently, reviewing some of my own experiences and observing others around me. This contemplation began while watching the reality tv show Love Island! (my vice this last month)

Love Island wasn’t exactly a ‘back to the wild’ show. Far from that, a group of young, attractive singles are housed in a luxury villa in Majorca. The basic aim is for them to couple up over the 7 weeks of the show. There are challenges and twists, people being voted off and new islanders arriving by surprise etc.

I became fascinated by the journey of transformation that some of the contestants experienced and the clever way the whole show was constructed. The contestants may have been in a luxury ‘fishbowl’, but the behaviours were ‘back to the wild.’ The hunting process was clear.

There was the initial search as both girls and boys preened, showed off, flirted and claimed the person most attractive to them. Then there were the dances of power – arguments, games, alliances and resistance. And there was surrender when some let their guard down and bared their vulnerable hearts. Of course, that had to happen before the relationships became believable to the voting public. (My vice did not include voting.)

It seems to me that these 3 stages –  hunt (or quest), resistance, surrender – are essential for remaining in the flow of life and love, irrespective of whether the hunt is for a partner or for the renewal of passion for work or for enlightenment or for a wild animal to feed a tribe. The hunt infuses a sense of purpose. Some resistance is normal (to the process or from the ‘hunted’). But, re-newal, transformation and being ‘fed’ only happens following surrender.

Modern life does not help us to keep the hunting instinct sharp. I suggest that hunting skills get dulled by online shopping, take away meals and other conveniences. It’s hard for most people to stay in touch with the power of their wild inner core.

If we lead a defensive life, constantly in resistance, we are not honouring the cycle. We may experience stagnancy, repeated false starts and ensuing despair.

All of my mailing list will be too old to sign up for the next season of Love Island. Your best option to keep your hunting skills honed could be through your commitment to personal and spiritual growth!

Awakening is one thing that is not made easy for us in western culture. It’s not even valued! Maybe we should be thankful for that. This is one area of our lives where effort must be made, where we must develop the courage to turn against the status quo and the inner strength to face our personal set of resistances.

A person that engages fully in the type of personal journey that yields results must honour the 3 steps I’ve mentioned. A personal challenge may initiate a hunt for the right teacher, healer, coach or therapist. Certainly discernment must be exercised. And then we must watch for the inner resistances that impede progress.

There’s no passion in resistance, no passion in trying to control outcomes and no passion in not stepping forward in the first place.

I had a recent personal experience with my current coach who did not let me off the hook with a challenge to remain in the flow of my passion with regard to my work.

Initially I felt misunderstood and therefore resistant to his suggestions.

I did some parts work. (Parts work is a structured process and also offered an as an aspect of Awakening Coaching.) I dialogued with my ‘passion part’ and also with a ‘heartbreak part.’ There was nothing wrong with the passion part, which has plenty of ideas! But the heartbreak part said, ‘every time you allow passion free rein, heartbreak is the result. I’m protecting you.’

The unconscious limiting belief was thus revealed! And that had to happen before the brake that my coach was pointing to could be removed.

The impediment was inside me and not with the coach or the programme. There was something that I hadn’t seen that a good coach put his finger on. It’s always a shock when another reveals that which you have unconsciously been trying to protect. But, surrender and vulnerability are the keys to a breakthrough.

How about you? What I point to affects most of us, particularly in mid life during when duty and responsibility demands often take precedence over the wild longings of the heart and soul.

Apparently, the Love Island final had the highest viewing of any ITV2 show ever. I think I know why.

To begin the re-claim of passion, purpose and power, please reply to this mail. Let’s have a chat to discuss how my coaching can help with your unconscious limitations.

I’m off for a week of ‘back to nature’ camping and communing with a group of women in the wilds of Wales. My wild ‘hunting skills’ will be extra sharp when back! 🙂


Contemplating jealousy and competition

Last week I had an interesting conversation about jealousy with a client.

Given that jealousy tends to be socially unacceptable and therefore repressed, I found it refreshing that she was so matter of fact in her admission of past jealousy towards her partner. And she was keen to determine where, and in what situations, this ‘demon’ still sabotaged her life. (The ‘demon’ being the jealousy and not the partner!)

We spoke of comparison, competitiveness, co-dependence and the points of view and beliefs that promote the behaviours.

A couple of days later, a colleague mentioned that the coaching field promotes competitiveness – to be the best, to make more money, to be more visible etc.

As a personal/spiritual development coach I hold to a different vision and purpose for coaching. But, I am not personally immune to falling into comparison and feeling inadequate.

I remembered a conversation I had with another coach last year. She said, wryly, ‘the problem is that the beautiful maiden of coaching was seduced by the slimy salesman of internet marketing.’ (If you want to use that quote, I heard it from Dawn Todd.)

I started to connect the dots between the conversations. The ‘beautiful maiden’ in all of us can be seduced easily, if and when ‘she’ believes ‘she’ needs the ‘slimy, charismatic salesman’.

Such feelings of inadequacy affect all of us from time to time. This is because we all suffer from an existential wound of separation. That existential wound manifests a bit differently for each one of us. For some it is ‘I’m not good enough.’ For others it is ‘I’m unworthy’ or ‘I’m unlovable’ or ‘I’m unwanted’ or ‘I’m useless.’ In the case of my client, she had dimmed her light in the childhood belief of ‘I’m too much.’

When we can admit to our feelings of inadequacy and notice accompanying jealousy, comparison and competition, we are not dangerous. Consciousness is the antidote to dangerous forms of jealousy. Consciousness is the doorway to transformation.

We are dangerous if we claim to never feel this way. Invulnerability suggests a lack of attention to, and continuing suppression of, emotional data. This lack of consciousness is at the root of narcissism.

The world is a hall of mirrors. And part of the magic, for me, has been to learn to use this hall of mirrors for my own growth.

So, this last week, after working with my client, I worked on myself. This is a habit for me. I contemplated when and where feelings of jealousy or competitiveness might have been present recently. I found a couple of instances where my admiration of another person’s achievement, or their apparent ease in situations that I find challenging, were accompanied by feelings of inadequacy.

At least, now, I know what to do with such feelings – take the time to feel them fully. Often this must be done after the event, as part of a personal practice, which is what I did.

Further suppression and the accompanying behaviours that have their root in childhood reactions, can be nipped in the bud when we sit quietly and ask ourselves this question:

Where in my body is this feeling of inadequacy/jealousy?

Welcoming the feeling and being willing to experience it fully counters the old habits of suppression and initiates a process of dissolution.

When I reached this point in the consultation with my client, it was possible to guide her through a releasing process. The work I most love to do is help people to release old energetic imprints which block their freedom to be authentic.

My client understood that when she connects to her inner resources and guidance, there is no jealousy of anyone else. And, freed from the belief of ‘I’m too much’, she can reclaim suppressed parts. She does not need to live in the shadows of another as she learns how to shine her own light and offer her gifts.

May we all understand the root causes of relational dramas and find release from struggle and suffering. Spiritual understanding + energy/quantum tools + coaching skills is one way to make fast progress. This is my offering.

As for me, I will be enjoying a short break to Barcelona with my sister for a few days next week. Sibling rivalry/jealousy is not a problem between us as mature adults. But, it could have been if neither of us had done any personal work. It was present in the previous generation in our family. Having cleared a bit more of the ‘karma’ this week, I am looking forward to a catch up with her!


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