the becoming: October 25, 2022
Resistance, Transitions, and Belonging
Hi! I’m Andi, and this is the becoming, a newsletter that invites warm and open conversations exploring what it means to be in the complexity of life as a leader, however you inhabit that role.
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Here in San Francisco we’ve finally head a break of good weather after weeks of cold and fog. Strangely, the warmth and sun have brought up some hidden grief I’ve been carrying and it feels somewhat fitting to process it in the gloriousness of a perfect day.
So, how are you?
This quarter I’m researching how people experience and respond to resistance in organizations. In my time as an executive I developed ways to use resistance as a tool for navigating organizational complexity. Rather than confront it head on and try and overcome it with brute force, resistance helped me to feel out paths with the fewest obstacles. As if the resistance was saying, “not here, but if you move to the left you can go that way for a while.”
I’ve been doing some training in Gestalt psychology recently and am quite taken with their understanding of resistance. Not as a negative or unwanted occurrence to be overcome, but as a healthy and necessary part of a system. I mean, imagine if we willingly and immediately went along anytime a significant other asked us to change something they didn’t like. We would no longer be ourselves! Now, there might be a conversation to be had and issues to explore, but simply changing without question because someone wants you to leads to loss and disconnection. Resistance helps maintain balance and integrity of any system, allowing change to happen in a sustainable and healthy way.
And so! I’m interested in talking to leaders and hearing about their experience of resistance in their organizations. In exchange I’m offering insights from my research via a free coaching session. If you or anyone you know might be interested, you can sign up here.
The topic of transitions is kind of an evergreen theme, since we’re all going through them all the time. Especially after the last couple of years, phew. William and Susan Bridges have been working in the transition space for decades, and their work is accordingly deep and insightful. Using their three-phase model of transition, I wrote a piece about how we move through transitions through the lens of one of my own (which I am still in the midst of).
This book came my way via a recommendation from a client. The “spiritual transformation” part in the title refers to the traditions in the Christian lineage of teachings. I’m not a religious person but do like to read religious texts, so I felt pretty at home with it (as one reviewer says, "It's not just for Christians!). This book is not in any way, shape, or form trying to convert or proselytize, but rather to teach Internal Family Systems in a way that illustrates its congruity with the teachings of Jesus. If you really can’t get down with any references to religion, this book probably isn’t for you. But you’d miss out on the deep compassion, humor, and wisdom this book offers. It’s one of the top books I’ve read on Internal Family Systems and puts theory into action with incredibly useful reflection questions at the end of each chapter. I use IFS in my coaching work and in my own personal development, and this book brought new insights and perspectives that have been exceptionally supportive in going deeper with all of my parts.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to belong, where we seek belonging, and what it is we are belonging to. I think some of this has come up naturally with my transition away from working in organizations, which for a long time was a (somewhat misplaced) primary source of belonging. As a pretty strong introvert, and without the prompts of daily office life, where is it that I belong? Or with whom? What does it look like to belong to myself?
How do you belong?