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© Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn 1
	
Part I: The value of being contrary
When you fail, goof or experience ...
© Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn
	
The ‘Rising Strong’ process
2	
Vulnerability is not about winning or los...
© Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn
	
The ‘Rising Strong’ process
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remains. Similarly, I can’t go back to th...
© Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn
	
The ‘Rising Strong’ process
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In short, in order to be agile (proactive...
© Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn
	
The ‘Rising Strong’ process
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This presentation looks indeed already mo...
© Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn
	
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By the experience of Creative Interchange...
© Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn
	
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I had to let it happen, I had to change
C...
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‘going on as I’m going on’. Putting this ...
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Part II: Owning your own story
The Rising...
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you don't go into the action (the so-cal...
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When we are flat on our face in the aren...
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the others’ behavior or have we triggere...
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Besides curiosity being able to deal wit...
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b. What is in my left column (cf. Left C...
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Luke: Oh, no! We'll never get it out now...
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confused and afraid, but Yoda’s response...
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alternative – denying our stories and di...
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brightness of the Creative Interchange p...
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Part III: (What) Do I Have to Change ?!?...
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In appreciatively understanding fully ou...
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is the ability to achieve purpose
We do ...
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anchored in the creative interaction pro...
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The delta shows us clearly the differenc...
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improvement, provide for permanent energ...
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we ourselves are the driver of the vehic...
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process par excellence: Creative Interch...
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Part IV: Creating AND choosing the
neces...
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According to Jan Bommerez, Stephen Covey...
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As being said, this stage is for me pers...
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phase - the creation of unique solutions...
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Not surprisingly it was Guy who helped m...
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daughter Daphne responded when her grand...
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During the second of my three week that ...
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"No, Christel, this copy is too thumbed....
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Part V: Transformation
The final part of...
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As already stated one hears nowadays oft...
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There is a sort of 'standing' infinity s...
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If you're willing to give yourself fully...
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too: continual observing the changing re...
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Charlie Palmgren. As long as the decisio...
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permanently connected to the Creative In...
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The 'Rising Strong' process

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In January of this year (2017) I read Brené Brown’s last book and while reading ‘Rising Strong’ it struck me that it partly describes the Creative Interchange Process. The subtitle of the Dutch translation of her book: “the Wisdom of Falling and Standing Up” indicates that this book mainly covers the left side of my Crucial Dialogue Model (Crucial dialogues being one of the many applications of Creative Interchange).

Inspired by Brené Brown’s book I wrote five columns covering the complete ‘Rising Strong’ Process. First in Dutch and due to a comment of Mitch Kotula I started to translate them into (‘my kind of’) English. The last two columns describe the right part of the Crucial Dialogue Model, which is less covered in ‘Rising Strong’.

Those five columns, that where originally published on LinkedIn are now presented on Slide ‘to whom it concerns’ as a paper: The ‘Rising Strong’ Process.

Creatively,
Johan

Published in: Self Improvement
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The 'Rising Strong' process

  1. 1. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn 1 Part I: The value of being contrary When you fail, goof or experience a setback you have a choice; whether 1) you show the mainstream behavior and start blaming ‘the other’, start looking around until you’ve found the scape goat; and if unfortunately you don’t find one, you finally blame ‘Murphy’, or 2) you react contrary: you refuse to judge, to blame ‘the other’ or to condemn him, on the contrary, you choose to live the ‘Rising Strong’ process from the inside out. This process starts with what I call a ‘Crucial dialogue’, with yourself and your environment regarding your goof or your fail. During this dialogue I recommend you to use the Crucial Dialogue Modeli ii . Doing this you solve ‘the problem’’ preventing it at the same time from happening again in the future. In order to be contrary and to dare to look in the mirror you need the courage in order to demonstrate what it looks like to endure failure and disappointment; to feel one’s own vulnerability, one’s own hurt instead of working it out on other people. Be willing to be fully aware of the nasty reality, to own your own story and to continue to liver your own values and norms and effectively display all this, to keep showing up; this is the behavior I’ve ultimately chosen. The ‘Rising Strong’ process is in fact the Creative Interchange process lived from the inside out after a failure. When it comes to living Creative Interchange and thus applying the Crucial Dialogue Model – thinking, emotions and human behavior – the adage ‘The more I learn, the less I know” is right on. When learning from one’s own mistakes one encounter one’s own limitations. That’s how I’ve learned tot give up my claim for ‘being right’! What I do instead is live a basic and universal truth: Creative Interchange (CI). During this I’m vulnerable and I engage fully in the ‘Rising Strong’ process. I have the courage to accept this challenge and I do not only live this process form the inside out, I make this living visible. All this in the knowing that I do control the ultimate result. Indeed, you can live fully Creative Interchange, you cannot steer the process towards a specific result. The ‘Rising Strong’ Process 1. Introduction 2. Creative Interchange
  2. 2. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 2 Vulnerability is not about winning or losing; it’s having the courage to live CI from the inside out and be seen as such, without having any control over the outcome; it is not a sign of weakness, it’s our greatest sign of courage. When you are living CI that way, you are – as Theodore Roosevelt worded it in his 1910 “Man in the arena” speechiii – actually in the arena. You are not in the arena for the sake of the spectators, nor are you a spectator yourself. You are aware of your living the process, and you are the doer of deeds, no spectator. What’s more, you don’t give a damn for spectators who just hurl mean- spirited criticism and put-downs from a safe distance. That’s why I turned my back to Twitter last year. Twitter is filled with people who never venture onto the floor. This also means that I have become selective about the feedback I let into my life. For me, if you’re not standing with me in the arena and thus having the possibility to be kicked in the ass yourself, I’m not interested in your feedback. If you, on the other hand, are with me in the arena, then I will appreciate your feedback; I will even ask for it. I don’t think of this as a real Roels’ ‘rule’, nevertheless if you are not vulnerable yourself, as I am, If you are not willing to engage in a dialogue with me, with the risk that this dialogue will turn into a crucial one, I’m not interested in your feedback. If we are brave to be authentic often enough, the physics of vulnerability teach us that we will eventually fall. That’s why ‘The Boxer’ of Paul Simoniv has become one of my favorite songs. I certainly know that if I have the courage to be vulnerable I will eventually make contact with the canvas. I also know that I will rise again, because I’ve chosen to live CI from the inside out. In the clearing stands a boxer And a fighter by his trade And he carries the reminders Of every glove that laid him down Or cut him till he cried out In his anger and his shame “I am leaving, I am leaving” But the fighter still remains. Paul Simon – The Boxer Since I’ve chosen to live Creative Interchange ‘beyond the point of no return’, I can’t go back; the fighter still
  3. 3. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 3 remains. Similarly, I can’t go back to the reality just before the fall. I believe strongly that I will learn from the experience and will land at a ‘higher’ level than where I was just before the fall. What I also know beyond any doubt is that I will have to go through the dust with my face covered be blood, sweat and tears typical for the fight. Enjoyable is different, but I haven’t chosen for fun, but for growth. And that is always accompanied by growing pains. It is on the one hand painful and, on the other hand, I know that I will, at the end of the fight, rise again as ‘reborn’ and ‘better’. By this Awareness and this Confidence I get the strength to go on pushed by the creative tension to a higher level. That force (cf. The Force of Yoda) is nothing else but Creative Interchange. And, to be honest, easy and peaceful is this fight not at all. Getting up after the fall is a personal task and yet I am not alone. I own the inner certainty that – if a) I stay connected with others and b) live Creative Interchange with them from the inside out – I’ll succeed! In other words, in the solitude of the setback you have the challenge to search and to find creative connection with others. To this end, giving trust 'upfront ' is an advantage. It is better that you sometimes your trust was harmed then that you can never gave your trust 'upfront'; in other words that you wait until this trust is 'earned', because then it could be too late. Real creative interchange translates what we learn from a failure or a mistake into a decision to action. By continuously performing that action with commitment and perseverance, Creative Interchange enables that eventually the new behavior becomes a new, good habit. Real learning navigates from the head, the heart and our hands to our mind and ultimately transforms our mindset. Learning to get up after a hit, through experiencing Creative Interchange from within, became a part of my mindset. I know that I occasionally will fall and I also know that I, through living CI from within, will rise stronger and better. That I will be standing upright, agile and resilient, fully in my real life again until I will stumble and fall one’s again. That is, I’ve learned, a natural law such as gravity. The ‘Rising Strong’ process after a setback is always the same process; whether it's about personal or organizational problem; the creative interaction process helps us back on our feet again.
  4. 4. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 4 In short, in order to be agile (proactive) or resilient (re- active), it is necessary to live Creative Interchange from the inside out. This has finally become wisdom, which I now transfer, the best I can, to my three grandchildren. Because they will – as Fons Leroy so aptly outlined in an interview on Flemish television journal of 7 October 2016, the day after the announcement of the mass dismissal at ING – need this in the future more than often. I pass this knowledge nowadays because I realize that the day will come that I no longer will be able to stand up. Also that is a law of nature, every life is finite, even mine. What will surely live on is the creative interaction process and hopefully, my most fervent wish, also in my grandchildren. I’m passing the living of Creative Interchange I through showing them how thoughts, emotions and behavior form a coherent whole, as the Crucial dialogue model so beautiful clarifies. The biggest problem with Creative Interchange is that it looks like an easy formula that applies to everyone. Don't get me wrong; Creative Interchange does apply to everyone; what's more, we're born with it! The problem lays in the fact that Creative Interchange is seen during the first conscious introduction as an easy formula. This is also because I did not succeed (yet) to present CI in an understandable complex way. My most complex presentation of CI is the ' Butterfly model ' with its four phases, eight basic conditions and sixteen skills: 3. Agile and Resilient 4. Creative Interchange is not a formula!
  5. 5. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 5 This presentation looks indeed already more complicated than the Lemniscate model I once started with. I explain the butterfly model, however, still too much as a kind of 'step by step' approach, which it is not. The butterfly model provides a possible route (communication → appreciation → imagination → transformation), which, however, can be run in different ways. The cause and effect thinking, that the model might imply, can be completely reversed, and in addition, each of the four phases encompasses all four phases. For example: the fourth phase, transformation, has the skill of giving and receiving feedback. Feedback should be given (communication), appreciatively understood (appreciation), invite change and thus finding ideas to this end (imagination), the chosen ideas have ultimately to be implemented (transformation). Creative Interchange really does not have a linear process order. Granted, I am almost always conveniently presenting it as such during the first introduction of CI. As I have already stated, by using my Crucial Dialogue model and its four phases. I always add during those presentations that this way of presenting is actually too simple and too linear for the living, complex, organic life process that Creative Interchange is. Creative Interchange seems at first sight indeed following certain patterns, but is certainly not to be described in a formula, let alone in a step-by-step linear order. It has in many cases the form of the old Echternach procession (three steps forward followed by two backward). That rule led, as you may know, to such chaos that it ultimately was drastically changed: it became a dance procession. Creative Interchange is very much like a dance where the participants are linked with one another. Not with a white handkerchief, as the current protocol of the Echternach procession prescribes, but with the Creative Interchange process itself. "You have to go with the flow", I say sometimes, well aware that the phenomenon of 'Flow' is actually one of the many manifestations of Creative Interchange. Creative Interchange is a repetitive, iterative and even intuitive process that takes different forms for different people. Also different contexts provide for different experiences of Creative Interchange. There is not always a clear relationship between effort and result. You can just be living CI as firm and as pure as possible. When the result is not commensurate with the effort, then one needs to reflect on that, which in itself is another experience of living Creative Interchange.
  6. 6. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 6 By the experience of Creative Interchange from within, even and especially when standing up after a deadly fall, you learn that you are part of a larger whole. The Franciscan Richard Rohr says this aptly when he states: "You know after any truly initiating experience that you are part of a much bigger whole. Life is not about you henceforward; but you are about life."v Another father, Paul de Sauvigny de Blot SJ, taught me, actually more so than Charlie Palmgren, that ‘Rising strong’ is essentially a spiritual exercise. In his dissertationvi with as main character, the founder of the Jesuit order Ignatius of Loyola, " time and time “spirituality" pops up in Ignatius life story as a crucial part of resilience and the battle after a heavy setback in order to stand up again. Father de Blot defines spirituality as "inner experience that transcends myself, gives direction to my life and makes sense of my existence.” The inner experience of Creative Interchange leads to following inner certainty: Creative Interchange is the process of life. CI is the ‘mother’ process of all learning and change, thus of all transformation. Creative Interchange is based on our interconnectedness and through experiencing CI from our experiences become ‘spiritual exercises’. To me, one of the main applications of Creative Interchange as spiritual exercise is ‘Rising strong’ after being hit to the ground. Because this Rising Strong’ requires a deep-rooted belief in the power of Creative Interchange through interconnectedness and requires a struggle with yourself and in most cases the recovery of meaning and purpose. What I've learned is that without the experience of Creative Interchange it is extremely difficult to raise strong again. That life lesson I learned in my most dark period so far (my massive depression: 2008-2010). Then resilience came rather late, what I have much later forgiven me with quite troublesome way. I should have brought my knowledge already in practice during that phase in my life, since I had already published my book ' Creatieve wisselwerking (Creative Interchange)' years before. Eventually I connected me back with the process of life. For some inexplicable reason I thought in that dark period much about the song "Don't cry for me, Argentina"vii , in which I replaced 'Argentina' by 'Creative Interchange':
  7. 7. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 7 I had to let it happen, I had to change Couldn't stay all my life down at heel Looking out of the window, staying out of the sun So I chose freedom Running around trying everything new But nothing impressed me at all I never expected it to Don't cry for me Argentina The truth is I never left you All through my wild days My mad existence I kept my promise Don't keep your distance And as for fortune, and as for fame I never invited them in Though it seemed to the world they were all I desired They are illusions They're not the solutions they promised to be The answer was here all the time I love you and hope you love me …. Have I said too much? There's nothing more I can think of to say to you But all you have to do is look at me to know that Every word is true! At my next whack – colon cancer 2013 – I did it much better and I was already acting before uppercut. Living proactively, so agile, Creative Interchange from within, as well with myself as with my environment, I saw that knock 'arrive'. Unfortunately my family doctor did not believe my 'inner certainty ' at all; He knew the better. Colon cancer could not at all being my reality, given my history – he was my third family doctor in a series of grandfather-father-son. I did have quite a bit of difficulties to get out from under that loyalty, which in turn was a Creative Interchange life lesson. In the case of colon cancer is avoiding the blow is really not an option, Rise directly strong and go on is the message! And that is exactly what I have done! You can always check with my three grandchildren: Eloïse, Edward and Elvire. When push comes to shove, they are the biggest reason for my
  8. 8. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 8 ‘going on as I’m going on’. Putting this way the 'cause and effect ' model upside down. In the following sections we discuss the ‘Rising Strong’ process in detail. The figure below is a possible representation of this process:
  9. 9. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 9 Part II: Owning your own story The Rising Strong process is, as stated in part I, the experience of the Creative Interchange process from within (Creative Interchange – CI). By living the CI process from within, we learn our stinker story and experience the resulting pain, so that we can appreciatively understand both through which we can later exploit in order to eventually find the courage to write later a positive new sequel to our story. This part II is about connecting in silence with yourself so that you can give in following stages life back to a chance so that ultimately you can heal. Brené Brown states several times in her books: "Owning your own story and while doing this keep loving yourself is the bravest thing what you can ever do." Therefor you have to come into connection with your stinker and you failing and yet continue to love yourself. It is not only the most courageous, it is also the wisest thing that you can do, if you want the famous quote of footballer- philosopher Johan Cruyff: "every disadvantage have its advantage" to come true by searching consciously the potential benefit in your story and ultimately realize this advantage effectively. The Rising Strong process starts with identifying the facts of your story. To this end, among other things, the first characteristic of Creative Interchange is needed: Authentic interaction. Not only authentic interaction with your self; also authentic interaction with people from your area who witnessed your fail story. Then you have to be curious enough to ask the right questions and to get correct answers to these questions. Thereby you’ll ultimately understand your story appreciatively which will lead later on to more or less violent feelings (part III). In doing so, your do not seek a rapid conclusion and 1. Identifying and owning your own story 2. Authentic Interaction
  10. 10. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 10 you don't go into the action (the so-called odious ' jump to conclusion ' behavior). On the contrary you reflect long enough on your own story until you fully appreciatively understand the complex ‘causes and consequences' chain that led to it. This is what we will cover in in this column. It is a phase of connection and calmness, not of fighting, freezing or fleeing. At the end of that phase you really feel at the first hand what needs to be changed (part III) and you need to transform those feelings turning creative ideas into possible solutions (part IV) who once realized (part V) ensure that the quote of Johan Cruijff eventually becomes a reality: the disadvantage (the fall) is an advantage (we stand up again and we go through)! In this part, 'owning your own story’, you need to be very genuine, authentic and whole in order to be able to appreciatively the real meaning of your own story. That is the start of the process. In doing so, we need to answer the question what role we play in our own lives: "Do we want to write the story yourself or we give the direction of our lives to someone else?" Choose to write our own story, gives an uncomfortable feeling: it is choosing courage over convenience. Our body often reacts before we have fully understood what’s going on and those reactions are aimed to protect us by fleeing, fighting or freezing. This is because our body carries a centuries old programming: a reflex ‘habit’ behavior that has been carved into us since centuries. In the Rising Strong process we cannot determine a brave new course if we do not understand exactly where we actually are, are not curious about how we ended up there and do not have an inner certainty where we eventually want to go. We must are emotionally accountable to ourselves?
  11. 11. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 11 When we are flat on our face in the arena, ours first reaction is often to look around if anyone has seen it. We sense directly shame welling up and, if we live according to the 'mainstream' philosophy (see part I), we start looking for someone or something to blame, the culprit or scapegoat. Of course we look for the scapegoat, in accordance with the 'ruling' mindset, outside ourselves. The combination shame/blame is so common because we, out of desperation to soften the pain, see blame as ‘a quick fix’. They who take a refuge in blaming someone or something outside himself or herself, the need to control is so strong that they want to assign blame. They think they feel better after they’ve pointed the finger at someone or something, but in fact nothing changes. Blame is deadly in relationships. It is toxic. But, unfortunately, it remains the preferred response of the most of us. If we are, like I am, 'against the grain ', we look at our story first from a distance, as if it were a story of someone else is. Put another way, we observe the facts of our story with our, what I call, 'clear consciousness'. This is in Anglo-Saxon countries identified as the concept of Awareness. So, we describe first our story with what I call clear consciousness; we observe in other words the "naked" truth. Only then we color our story with our colored consciousness (in Anglo-Saxon countries they simply use the concept consciousness). In doing so we need also and most importantly, to understand and describe our own input into the story. Doing this, we are fully experiencing the second characteristic of Creative Interchange: Appreciative understanding. This also means that, if we identify a different actor than ourselves, we first ask what role we have played ourselves. "Have we tolerated 3. Awareness vs Consciousness
  12. 12. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 12 the others’ behavior or have we triggered it?" is one of the pertinent questions we can ask ourselves during this analysis. We do look sincerely into the mirror and are not beating it into pieces! We make sure that we, in seeing ‘the truth’ we do not blaming ourselves since that is undermining and has little added value. We are also convinced that if we deny our stories of failing or are denying those difficult stories, these do not go away. On the contrary, we understand fully that in that case they will possess and thereby determine us. We deliberately choose not to let this happen. We let us not control 'from the outside in’! One of the reasons that we sometimes dare not to be accountable for our stinker stories is fear. In that context we’re asking the following questions: "What if I do find something regarding my behavior that is not so pleasant?" or "What will others think of me?" Fear causes us wanting to cover up our stories, full knowing well that that covering up does not really exists. Fear leads to ostrich behavior. It's not because we bury our heads in the sand that our fellow people become blind. What is necessary in order to take full accountability of your own story is curiosity, not coincidentally one of the basic conditions of the second characteristic of Creative Interchange: “Appreciative Understanding”. New information 'as such' is not changing our way of thinking and thereby also not our lives. Father Paul de Blot SJ taught me that when something falls upon you, you not only have to pick it up. You must, above all, learn something from and do something with it. The real learning is action learning, not the collection of information. In fact, Paul de Blot talks in this about the creative interaction process. Information alone does not cause transformation! Keeping the 'childlike' curiosity means to me to accept that 'nothing is for nothing ' and that I have to live that knowledge until it becomes wisdom. Curiosity is an act of vulnerability and courage. You have to be brave to want to know, because you never know in advance whether you're going to find something, for which you really can be blamed or that indicates that you were wrong. Curiosity is unpleasant because it also means uncertainty in addition to vulnerability. Curiosity is thereby a contrarian capacity that is different from the 'mainstream' standard. 3. Appreciative Understanding
  13. 13. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 13 Besides curiosity being able to deal with uncertainty is a basic condition of this stage of the Rising Strong process. The reason why both are crucial to this process is that the varied and sometimes eccentric path of the Rise Strong again is really against-the-grain. Embracing vulnerability, curiosity and uncertainty, which is needed to get up after a fall, is also a bit dangerous, especially for our environment. People who do not continue to lie flat down after a hit, but – like the boxer in Paul Simon's song – gets up are often troublemakers. Difficult to control because "the fighter still remains!" They ask the right tough questions and that too is against-the-grain and can be dangerous. We need to have a certain degree of knowledge or consciousness before we can get curious. We aren’t curious about something we are unaware of or know nothing abut. The story that we have seen with our clear consciousness (awareness) has triggered our curiosity. "How is it for God’s sake possible that this happened to me?" Our curiosity, which leads to the coloring of our story (consciousness), is really hooked to our awareness regarding our stinker-story. We do this by humbly asking pertinent questions (cf. ' Humble Inquiry ' by Edgar Schein), which can sound dangerous in the ears of others. Capturing our uncensored story is a crucial part in order to able to appreciatively understand it. However we are aware that our first version in most cases an ‘invented ‘story is, that should be refined afterwards. The advantage of this uncensored story is that there are hidden answers on three critically important questions; questions that lead to increased self-knowledge and inner integration and that provide for more courage, empathy, compassion and connection to our lives: 1. What more do I need to learn and understand about the situation? a. Which ones of my statements are objective? b. Which ones of my statements are based on suppositions? 2. What more do I need to learn and understand about the other players in my story? a. Do I need supplementary information? b. What humble questions do I need to ask in that regard? 3. What more do I need to learn and understand about myself? a. What role did I really play?
  14. 14. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 14 b. What is in my left column (cf. Left Column exercise f Argyrisviii )? The biggest danger that can sneak in when we are truly facing our failure-story is that we question our intrinsic worth. We always need to remind us of the difference between eccentric value and intrinsic worth. Due to our failure maybe our eccentric value can drop (others could be getting a lower opinion of us), but truly, our intrinsic worth can never be brought into question, since our intrinsic worth is changeless. Charlie Palmgren says in this regard that we should re-dis-cover what was never out of sight from the inner eye; find what we’ve never lost: our intrinsic worth. Billy Joel sings about that intrinsic worth in his song ' River of Dreams ': I’ve been searching for something Taken out of my soul Something I’d never lose Something somebody stole … Charlie writes in his already cited ‘The Chicken Conspiracy’: “You are a human being of worth. Worth is a constant. Your worth is unconditional. In truth, your worth is a given. You never have been and you never will be worth more than you are right now. You are worth all you can be worth at this very moment.” His definition is surprising in its simplicity: Worth is defined by the capacity to engage in transforming creativity. Brené Brown comes to exactly the same conclusion based on her research in her book ‘Rising Strong’ix . In fact reading her book was the trigger to writes these series of columns with the same title. My grandson taught me to love the Star Wars films and more specifically I came to like the dialogues between Yoda and Luke Skywalker. For example, The Empire Strikes Backx contains at least a few crucial scenes. In a first scene Luke sees, during a workout, that his X- Wing is about to disappear into the bog. Then unfolds following dialogue in which Yoda describes Creative Interchange (' the Force '): 4. Intrinsic Worth vs Excentric Value 5. Yoda and Luke Skywalker dialogues
  15. 15. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 15 Luke: Oh, no! We'll never get it out now! Yoda: So certain, are you? Always with you, what cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say? Luke: Master, moving stones around is one thing, but this is... totally different! Yoda: No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned. Luke: All right, I'll give it a try. Yoda: No! Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try. Luke tries to use the Force to levitate his X-Wing out of the bog, but fails in his attempt. Luke: I can't. It's too big. Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship. Luke: You want the impossible. Luke sees that Yoda uses ‘the Force’ to levitate the X- Wing out of the bog and gets flustered when he succeeds. Luke: I don't... I don't believe it! Yoda: That is why you fail. In another pivotal scene Yoda is training Luke to become a Jedi warrior, teaching him how to honorable use of the Force and how the dark side of the force – anger, fear, and aggression – can consume him if he doesn’t learn how to find calm and inner peace (i.e. how to live Creative Interchange from within). You have already understood that to me the Force is a metaphor whilst the dark side of it is a metaphor for the Vicious Circlexi . In this scene, Luke and Yoda are standing in the dark swamp where they’ve been training when a strange look comes over Luke. He points towards a dark cave at the base of a giant tree and, looking at Yoda, he says, “There’s something not right here… I feel cold. Death.” Yoda explains to Luke that the cave is dangerous and strong with the dark side of the Force. Luke looks
  16. 16. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 16 confused and afraid, but Yoda’s response is simply, ‘You must go.” When Luke asks what’s in the cave, Yoda explains, “Only what you take with you.” As Luke straps on his weapons, Yoda hauntingly advises, “Your weapons, you will not need them” The cave is dark and thick with vines. Steam eerily rises of the ground while a large snake wind sits way over a branch and a prehistoric-looking lizard perches on a limb. As Luke slowly makes his way through the cave, his enemy, Darth Vader, confronts him. They both draw their light sabers and Luke quickly cuts of Vader’s helmeted head. The head rolls to the ground and the face guard blows of the helmet, revealing Vader’s face. Luke is staring at his own head on the ground. This story is a wonderful metaphor for our entering our own story in order to face it. This can also be scary and ominous, since what we ultimately have to face is ourselves. The hardest part about our stories is often what we bring in it – what our colored consciousness invents about who we are and how we want to be seen by others. What makes the story so painful is what we tell ourselves about our own values and regarding what we are really worth. In doing so, we’re stuck too much to our eccentric core values (values) and too little to our intrinsic value (Worth). We've told literarily hundred times how we ‘lost’ our intrinsic worth. It is the story of the Vicious Circle that we learned from Charlie Palmgren and that we have included both of my latest books: ‘Creatieve wisselwerking’xii and ‘Cruciale dialogen’xiii . Owning our stories means reckoning with our feelings and rumbling with our dark emotions – our fear, anger, aggression, shame and blame. This isn’t easy, but the
  17. 17. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 17 alternative – denying our stories and disengaging from emotion – means to live our entire lives in the dark. We are facing a fundamental choice, which metaphorically can be compared to the choice Neo is offered by Morpheus in the movie filled with metaphors: The Matrixxiv : the choice between the red and the blue pill. This represents the choice between embracing the sometimes-painful truth of reality (red pill) and the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue pill). Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. Marianne Williamson This famous paraphrase of a passage from Marianne Williamson’s book ‘A Return to Love’xv is often erroneously attributed to Nelson Mandela's 1994 inaugural address. It describes in a nutshell the
  18. 18. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 18 brightness of the Creative Interchange process; ‘which is not just in some of us; it is in everyone’. If we decide to own our story and to live up to our truth and appreciatively understanding both, we are able to bring light in the darkness. How we can do that, we’ll describe in the parts that will follow soon.
  19. 19. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 19 Part III: (What) Do I Have to Change ?!? This part is about answering the question “Do I want to go back on my feet and live more form my full human ‘being’?” The answer to that question will lead us to what has to be change in order to write an new and hopefully successful sequel to our story. In this paper describing the ‘Rinsing Strong’ process I’ve arrived at the middle part. Since this process has we have already explained can be seen as the living of the Creative Interchange process from within, this part can be visualized by the middle of our Crucial Dialogue Modelxvi . In that middle we encounter the ‘Delta’: Delta noun and the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet – is the mathematical symbol for difference. A capital delta is a triangle. It is the difference - the delta – between (a) what we have now that we have appreciatively understood our failure story, the meaning and wisdom of this life experience and b) what we need in order to go back on our feet and to live more form our full human ‘being’. In other words, the delta is the difference between our insight in our present reality and our needs. Even though the words difference and delta can mean the same thing, I like to use the word delta because the triangle symbol connect me with the triptych that is fundamental and that is visualized through my model: Thinking (parts I &II) – Connecting/Feeling (part III) – Acting (parts IV and V). 1. The ‘Delta’
  20. 20. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 20 In appreciatively understanding fully our story of the fall, we feel, especially because of the ‘delta’ emotions and feelings. Those can provide for ‘knee-jerk’ reactions. We can though make sure that those kinds of reactions are stopped from the first spark on. Those emotions and feelings do not trigger fighting (and hitting the other), nor fleeing (and blame the other) nor freezing (to close up – ‘shit happens’). Even when we attribute the fault to ourselves, we don’t feel us a loser at all, we recognize those emotions and will control them from within. We do not blame ourselves and we feel ourselves, if needed, accountable; being accountable means that you accept that you are responsible for specific actions an their consequences. Accountability is a prerequisite for strong relations and a strong organizational culture. In order to be accountable, authenticity, courage and action is needed in order to apologize and correct your mistakes. This is an act of vulnerability. We have to be courage to analyze our feelings and reconcile our behavior and decisions with our values and norms. We refuse that our feelings control us ‘from the outside in’. In other words, our emotions do not control us. We refuse to play the victim! Even when our mistake happened without being responsible what so ever we refuse to play the role of the victim and stand up again…’the fighter still remains!’ We operate from a paradigm of engagement, not from the old outside-in ‘control and command’ paradigm. Of course, the quality of those emotions and feelings depend of the mishap-story and the context. I hope that you do not resolve those emotions by hurting or attacking somebody in you environment. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” wrote Maya Angelou in “Letter to my Daughter’xvii . What you should not let happen is that your self-confidence is vanished through your falling down. Self-confidence and making mistakes can perfectly coexist, if we continue to make it good, continue to act according to our values and shame, if we immediately bend shame and blame into a positive reaction. Whatever the context or its size was, failure is accompanied by the feeling that we have lost a part of our personal power. In this context I do love Martin Luther King’s quote: Power, properly understood, 2. Emotions and Feelings 3. Personal Power
  21. 21. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 21 is the ability to achieve purpose We do have personal power to achieve our personal goal and transformational change. That is why our Crucial Dialogue Model gathers in its middle the personal characteristics: Intrinsic Worth, Core Values, Core Qualities, Personal Purpose, Positive Intention and Personal Engagement. By connecting again with our Intrinsic Worth and by not only slowing down our personal Vicious Circle, rather by ‘reversing it’, in short by living creative interchange from within we reconnect with our personal Purpose en give ourselves the power to achieve it. The most dangerous to ourselves and to the people around is when we feel powerless, so we have to reject powerlessness. Since we know that powerlessness leads to fear and desperation. Despair means not believing any more in Creative Interchange. Despair is the spiritual dessert; it’s the belief that tomorrow will be just as today. The opposite of despair is hope. Which is
  22. 22. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 22 anchored in the creative interaction process: you can be better off tomorrow have when you set your goals, create the paths to those goals, and has the tenacity and the perseverance to walk these roads in order to achieve the set goals. You believe in your own ability (power) to live Creative Interchange from within: "You Believe in the Power of the Force!" Mindfulness says, “Feel the pain” and self- compassion says, “Cherish yourself in the midst of the pain”; two ways of embracing our lives more wholeheartedly.1 You are really aware of your emotions. That means that you give yourself the permission to feel them and thus to pay attention to them in the 'here and now'. What you need to do is create literally create a pause between action and reaction in order to able to 'mindful' evaluate those emotions. In this context one pleads more and more for self-compassion. This is the ability to accept ones elves with mildness while suffering. Current research shows that self-com-passion is strongly associated with emotional resilience, including the ability to be calm, to acknowledge our failures, learn from them so that they motivate us to succeedxviii . Science has now shown that self-pity is potentially an important factor in the context of emotional problems such as depression. Marie R. Miyashiroxix speaks in this context of two often- misunderstood human characteristics: 1. Our ability to be naturally aware of our feelings without judging them; 2. Our ability to connect these feelings to the accompanying, whether or not, fulfilled needs. If these needs are not met, we speak of a 'delta'. At this stage we clearly feel the difference between what we have and what we want to have. At this point in the ‘Rising Strong’ process you are not satisfied with the now fully appreciative understood reality being counted down on the canvas. There is a big difference between the current reality and the desired future, stand up again and move on fully as a renewed human being. 1 Germer, C. K. The mindful path to self-compassion. New York: Guilford, 2009 p 89
  23. 23. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 23 The delta shows us clearly the difference between the appreciatively understood reality and the reality that you wish for yourself, based on your values. Delta creates emotions that can lead to two kinds of stress. The creative tension is not the fear of change, which is, by definition, reactive ('outside-in'). It is the tension that you feel inside when one faces a choice. This tension is natural and stems from the difference between what I have now (the shared opinion on the reality) and that for which I choose (the desired future). In that way, the delta – between the reality and the vision – is the source of creative energy we call creative tension. In his book ‘The Fifth Discipline’xx Peter Senge writes the following about Creative Tension. Mastery of creative tension leads to a fundamental shift in our whole posture toward reality. Current reality becomes the ally not the enemy. An accurate, insight view is as important as a clear vision. And Peter Senge concludes, citing Robert Fritz: “The truly creative person knows that all creating is achieved through working with constraints. Without no constraints there is no creating.” This creative tension wells up when we’re clearly facing the delta between current and desired situation. When that gap is not only recognizes, but if we also recognize that it is our responsibility to bridge that gap, you will come close to a choice. The creative tension stems from the fact that one recognizes the necessary force for the displacement. The energy or labor is, as we know, directly proportional to the force and the distance. Three fundamental choices have to be made. If the first choice in pursuing personal mastery is to be true to your own vision, the second fundamental choice in support of personal mastery is commitment to the truth. The third is the continuous commitment to live creative interchange from within. All three are equally vital to generate creative tension that helps to decide regarding the withheld choices so that the decision leads to genuine transformation. When during that transformation the reality slowly moves from the 'crisis' situation to the desired situation, the size of the delta reduce as logically the creative tension. At that moment our permanent commitment to our choice, Creative Interchange and continuous 4. Creative Tension
  24. 24. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 24 improvement, provide for permanent energy (the Force) from within, in order to finally reach our goal. This has of course to do with the struggle between the Vicious Circle and Creative Interchange: the Creative Interchange process pushes us to the goal and the Vicious Circle draws us away from that goal. Both are present in virtually everyone. These are, so to speak, structural data. How can we cope? Through increase the power of one to at the expense of the force of the other, by a profound personal change by which we slow down the operation of the Vicious Circle and convert powerlessness into creativity. By connecting us back to our intrinsic Worth through the experience of Creative Interchange from within. The cause of powerlessness is called emotional tension. The difference between emotional tension and creative tension is of the same order as the difference between ‘bad’ (di-) and ‘healthy’ (eu-) stress. The emotional tension is linked to the Vicious Circle and leads through 'you must' to cramping, to paralysis. The creative tension is linked to the Creative Interchange process and leads through ‘I choose’ to liberation. We accept emotional tension from the outside in. Emotional tension is created by the fact that we are victim of old, worn out mindsets. Due to our personal Vicious Circle we are always ready to react negatively: "We are not able to make our dreams come true" because "we fight, flight or freeze" and "we think we do not deserve to achieve what we really want to achieve," in other words "we think we are worthless." Both of these tensions are always present to some extent. If one tension becomes larger, the other becomes smaller, and vice versa. The good news is that 5. Emotional Tension
  25. 25. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 25 we ourselves are the driver of the vehicle of our lives; we choose to what we pay attention. We can accept to observe those emotions, face them and consciously choose let the creative tension to do its work through Creative Interchange. I love the concept ‘delta’ too because deltas are where rivers meet the sea. They’re marshy, full of sediment, and forever changing. They are also rich and fertile areas of growth, like the Zeeland Flemish polders where I met, more than fifty years ago, ‘our’ Rita, my beloved wife. I guess the latter will also have to do with my preference for the concept of ' delta '. This is where we need to our work. Our key insights regarding our future emerge from the delta. It is the place where we recognize our needs, fix our goals and where we express the expectation to grow and change, to stand up again and keep going. We love ourselves for who we are, even if we are ‘facedown’, and therefore we express our expectation about who we could be! At that moment "integrity" is of the utmost importance. I really love Brené Brown's definition of this term in 'Rising Strong’xxi : Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them. We are willing to accept responsibility for our own lives. We are prepared not to opt for convenience and we do not accept the first best solution. On the contrary, we courageously choose to start the search for those solutions that really matter. This leads us to the most difficult part of the ‘Rising Strong’ process. The extremely difficult third part in which we should embrace uncertainty again until we found enough good potential solutions in order to make an informed choice. We are now convinced that something needs to change. We have fully clarified the why of that need for change. It is not in accordance with our personal mission to continue to lay facedown (cf. The Why? Simon Sinek). Meanwhile, the Who? Is crystal clear: I, together with others in my environment, should embark on the quest for solutions. The How? Is and remains the ‘Rising Strong’
  26. 26. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 26 process par excellence: Creative Interchange. The answers to the What question will clarify the hardest part of our journey. We embrace our uncertainty with one certainty: the creative interaction process will provide for the necessary solutions. Which? We do not know yet, we cannot steer nor control Creative Interchange. We know that ultimately we will have to make a choice amongst the potential solutions that will have been created and that we will have to live those from within in order to be finally back on our feet, full upright and continue to go strong again. Suddenly it dawns on me that I have no time to lose and cannot longer be distracted by trivial matters. We are focused and nothing or nobody can get in the way, as in the classic song of Herman Van Veen: ‘Opzij, opzij, opzij’: Step aside, step aside, step aside, Make room, make room, make room We are in an incredible hurry. Step aside, step aside, step aside, Because we are almost too late, We only have a few minutes. We have to run, jump, fly, dive, fall, get up and go on. We can't stay right now, We can't keep standing here any longer. I came to myself in silence (Part I and Part II), got me connected to my dream and my feelings (Part III) and am now ready to get in connection with others, as a complete human being and from the heart, to find and choose solutions (part IV), thereby to rise again and continue to go strong (part V).
  27. 27. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 27 Part IV: Creating AND choosing the necessary actions Thus far I’ve appreciatively understood my actual reality, came to my Original Self in silence and connected me with the future I truly desire. The time has come to imagine all the actions that could lead to that desired future; followed by choosing those actions that I can and will perform from within. In other words: the road towards the desired future and thus of going strong again, even stronger than before the fall, has to be constructed. Not with good intentions, but by creating and choosing the necessary actions, in order to pave it. In this third phase of the ‘Rising Strong’ process the third characteristic of Creative Interchange – Creative Integration – is at play. It is not about our ‘being’ any more, it’s about our ‘becoming’. I need literally to transcend to a higher self by incorporating new elements in myself. This means in particular that the current mental model that I had when I hit the ground, has to expand. My personal mindset needs to be renewed, because as the proverb says: "If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten." The latter is of course not consistent at all with the future I have in mind for myself. This renewal causes uncertainty and ambiguity, and because of "not yet knowing exactly what to do," it causes confusion too. It is an interlude between being the old and becoming the new way of being human. I still find this third phase the most difficult part of the ‘Rising Strong’ process. I do not like it since it is a phase of uncertainty that invariably results in discomfort. I still have to learn to surrender to this critical characteristic of the Creative Interchange process. I must be willing to let go of my old 'certainties' and to tolerate uncertainty; what’s more, I have to embrace ambiguity. I have to learn to live permanently from the inside out all basic conditions of all characteristics of Creative Interchange and to adopt all corresponding behaviors. I must therefore permanently trust, be open and curious and, in addition, embrace uncertainty as a very young child does. I, as an adult, need to regain consciously the confidence I, as a child, unconsciously had in Creative Interchange. 1. Creative Integration 2. Embracing Ambiguity
  28. 28. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 28 According to Jan Bommerez, Stephen Covey stated once: "Trust is certainty about universal principles". One of these universal principles is Creative Interchange. This quote of Stephen Covey is actually my mission in life: ‘To keep permanently inner certainty regarding Creative Interchange. "Trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback" is a universal wisdom that I too have encountered in my life. What I learned over the years by giving trust 'up front' is that trust can grow during a relationship. If in a relationship trust is not growing, the relationship itself is not worth the effort. After all, Creative Interchange thrives through sound relationships. In this search for actions, that not only allow me to rise again but - more importantly - help me to go on, I have to, along with my companions, interconnect creatively elements that are seemingly unrelated. This creates an "aha!" moment allowing a possible solution to come suddenly into sight; a real moment of sudden insight or discovery. In this part of my quest, new issues, which are handed to me through the previous stages, are integrated into my old way of thinking, creating thus a new, fuller mindset. My ‘third’ (spiritual) father Charlie Palmgren calls this kind of consciousness, which is at play during this part of the ‘Rising Strong’ process, synergistic consciousness. Synergy means that the solution, created by connecting elements in a unique way, 'is different from and more than' than was expected. The result is more than the ‘mathematical sum’ of the properties of the elements that are integrated. It is in other words not a plain mixing of the ingredients; it is rather realizing a new alloy. This new alloy has unique, surprising properties. So a unique new solution needed in order to rise up from the fall and to go strong forward again. 2. Synergistic Consciousness
  29. 29. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 29 As being said, this stage is for me personally the hardest one and this because I have seldom lived it consciously myself. This is partly because I was drastically conditioned during my education as civil engineer to think linearly and thus was kept far away from intuitive thinking. “Facts and figure" were sacred during our university studies and the use of metaphors was not taught. Once graduated ‘with great honor’ as civil engineer, my indoctrination continued on the job at ‘the Kuhlmann’, the plant of my first real work experience. My collisions with director Nicolas Kopylov are still etched in my memory: Monsieur Roels vous n’êtes pas payé pour perdre votre temps à chercher des solutions créatives, vous êtes payé comme ingénieur, et un ingénieur sait! (Mr. Roels you are not paid for losing your time in trying to find creative solutions, you are paid as an engineer and an engineer knows !) I asked him then if he knew ''la chanson, monologue parlé plus que chanté ‘Maintenant Je sais’ de Jean Gabin "; but it was not the right time to ask Nicolas Kopylov about his knowledge of the French ‘chanson’. The linear thinking gave rise to a ‘cause-and-effect’ reflex and for any fact there should be a tangible proof. During my second professional life the ‘in-the-cause-and- effect-box’ thinking remained preferential. The ISRS audit gave little room for creativity, although I’ve been just about the most creative Accredited Safety Auditor ILCI has ever known. The ISRS purists did not always applaud my way of doing; I ultimately called them 'ayatollahs'. I was slow in transforming, although I went a lot further than the pure linear 5 Why thinking of Toyota improving it with my own version of the highly branched Fact Tree or Root Cause Tree. Yet I remained largely stuck in ‘the one or the other’ and ‘the one and the other’ thinking styles. Even later, when Charlie Palmgren initiated me into the 'non-linear' and 'holistic' thinking, I still stayed heavily influenced by linear thinking. 'Indoctrination' has its long-term side effects. During my first three Professional Life’s I showed too much of a "jump to conclusion" behavior. Indeed, I saw rather quickly the possible solutions, which I implemented without, too much thought. This again is a proof that I took too little time to live fully this third
  30. 30. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 30 phase - the creation of unique solutions - from within. My core quality ‘Decisive’ with its pitfall “Nagging" is not foreign to that behavior. During my fourth life I described in my book ‘Cruciale dialogen’xxii (‘Crucial Dialogues’) four skills, which through living them strengthen the basic conditions ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Creativity’ of this third stage. By the way, I describe in ‘Crucial Dialogues’ for each of the four phases, in addition to the two basic conditions that support the characteristic of that particular phase, four distinctive skills. An important feature of Creative Interchange is that by actually practicing the four skills, the two basic conditions are enhanced and by strengthening those two basic conditions the four skills are in turn backed up. The skills of the third phase are (1) re-framing the problem, use of (2) analogies, and (3) metaphors and (4) the powerful tool "4+ and one whish". Regarding the description of these skills I refer to my book. The massive depression I had to struggle through during the period 2008-2010 made it possible to create time for myself. I understood at that time the deeper meaning of the French proverb, which I had learned from my friend Guy Bérat, "Il faut donner le temps au temps" (You have to give time to time).
  31. 31. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 31 Not surprisingly it was Guy who helped me to have confidence again in Creative Interchange. So, it was only during my fourth professional life that I came under the yoke of my preferential linear thinking and that I took the time to practice the skills of this stage. Unfortunately, I got a new setback: colon cancer. Colon cancer is a problem where a ‘freeze, flight or fight’ knee jerk reaction is of no use. "What you don’t know won’t hurt you" is an old Dutch saying which is, certainly in the case of cancer, a big lie. It's not because you do not know that you have cancer that the cancer stops to further proliferate. The problem with cancer is not how you have to react once it’s identified. The medicine is well advanced and the protocols are ready. In my case those protocols were immediately applied: starting with a dual approach of chemotherapy and radiation, continuing later on with surgery to remove the tumor and finally ending with ‘aftercare’ chemotherapy. Thus, the solution was already available; at least concerning the purely physical side of the problem. The spiritual side was a different story. "How do I deal with my cancer?" became a crucial question. You have to provide for answering that question yourself. In my case, I re-framed the question, as "How do I want to be remembered by my grandchildren?" And that reframing, which is an application of the above skill (1), led me to (a part of) the solution. You can choose to be cynical and bitter, and those attitudes have brought, to my knowledge, very few successful transformations. Obviously you do not know how many days you have left in this world; on the other hand you know that you're not alone with that lack of knowledge. So I learned during that stage that the opposite of cynicism and bitterness could lead me to the solution of my problem. In the period after the 'bad news' conversation with my doctor-specialist, I went through the previous stages in a very short time. I opted for the full Creative Interchange experience from within. I saw my own cancer story fully in the face and ultimately chose the following desired future: that I would be together with my grandchildren as long, as often I could, and that we would have fun learning together. To this end I had to be excited and not grumpy, this I knew by living skill (2) the 'use of analogies’. Finding those analogies was not difficult. I just had to remember how
  32. 32. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 32 daughter Daphne responded when her grandfather Lionel had become crusty, bitter and angry after he was diagnosed having a malignant brain tumor. Eventually we could very rarely persuade her to join us for a visit to her grandfather. I knew therefore that I definitely should not behave like this if my goal was to give my grandchildren and myself a good time. A second analogy from my own past provided for another piece of the solution. A childhood friend, André De Decker was, when he had just started at the University of Ghent, diagnosed with leukemia. I visited him regularly at the St. Vincent Hospital in Ghent. One day, when I was in André’s hospital room, his older brother Edgard, an architect, accompanied with the legendary Flemish graphic artist Romain Coemelck, came into the room. Those two blood brothers were in their Sunday best. I understood that they were on their way to a wedding party when André whispered at their leaving: "Have fun at the party!" André was already very weak and I then realized that it had become a matter of weeks before the inevitable would happen. During that period I've never experienced André, who was more intelligent and talented than me, complaining or being cynical. On the contrary, he was full of interest in my stories of my first year studying for civil engineer in Ghent. That analogy made very clear what I had to do if I wanted to reach my goal. During the period from early September to late December 2013, I did have time to find out what were the possible actions, which might radiate my inner peace and joy. During that period I fully appreciated from within this phase of “creating and selecting the necessary actions” of the ‘Rising Strong’ process. In the period before the surgery I had a crucial dialogue with my grandchildren’s mother, daughter Daphne. We finally decided that they would not pay me a visit during the first weeks of my stay at St Jan Brugge Hospital being then surrounded "with all the whistles and bells”. "With all the whistles and bells’ was a colorful statement of my surgeon Tom Feryn. That metaphorical statement describes the tubes and wires connecting my body with all kinds of tools and devices, which were neatly situated around my bedside. This is indeed not really a pretty sight for young children. So we decided that they would not come to the clinic during the first couple of weeks of my stay there. When most of the ‘whistles and bells’ had disappeared they came over and we had a pleasant afternoon. The youngest, Elvire, had a wonderful time playing my personal nurse.
  33. 33. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 33 During the second of my three week that I stayed in what I then called 'my deluxe room with nice views in a four star hotel', one of the nurses suddenly asked me: "What is your secret Johan that you’re so enjoyable every day'?" “This is because I live my own book from within, Christel.” She looked at me with very big eyes and responded, “Your own book? " "Yes, a copy of it is laying there on the table near the window, the one with the reddish cover.” There was indeed laying a copy of ‘Crucial dialogues’ because I had until five minutes before the nurses came to transport me to the surgery room, worked on the translation into French of Chapter 1. I had sent the French translation of that chapter by email to Guy Bérat, who took cared of adapting it to ‘real’ French. The book remained laying there, because I had not yet left my bed after the surgery. The nurse went to my table and picked up the book "Hey, Johan your name is on the cover!" “"That is the custom, Christel. They always print the name of the author on the cover of the book he wrote." When she was flipping the pages, I gave a brief explanation of the content of the book. It’s about how to run successfully difficult conversations that one inevitably has several times in life and I gave her a few possible examples from within her context: crucial dialogues with opinionated doctors, a bossy head nurse, difficult patients and noisy visitors. Christel continued flipping through the book looking at the diagrams and suddenly said: "This seems extremely interesting, I definitely could use it!” "Do you really want to use it, Christel?” “Of course Johan!" "In that case I offer you a copy of my book." "Do you give me this?" showing me the book she had in her hands.
  34. 34. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 34 "No, Christel, this copy is too thumbed. I’ll ask 'our' Rita to bring you a maiden one this afternoon." The following ten days Rita brought at least twenty-five copies of ‘Crucial Dialogues’ to my room in Saint John Hospital in Bruges. The next years I’ve repeatedly told people, that by living my very own book from the inside out, I learned that it really is an exceptional practical book, especially in the context of the ‘Rising Strong’ process. You should not only read it (which is already a chore), you have to live from the inside out. As its subtitle states: it’s about living daily Creative Interchange. And that's a different story than merely understanding the 'butterfly' model!
  35. 35. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 35 Part V: Transformation The final part of this series is obviously dedicated to the ‘going strong again’ section of the ‘Rising Strong’ process. We have risen again and have created and considered several options to continue strong again. These various options cannot be considered as decisions yet. Concluding does not mean the same action as deciding, although the two concepts are sometimes (wrongly) see as synonyms and are used interchangeably. Concluding means making considerations and thoroughly considering the alternatives in order to be able to make a choice. Deciding focuses on making an agreement and giving a response to the questions regarding the options that are concluded at the end of the previous stage: "Who does what, where and when?" You can literally see the distinction between to conclude and to decide if you observe the state of mind of those who complete the "passive" part of the critical dialogue (phases one to three). Following a conclusion there is no creative tension. Indeed, one did not decide to do anything effectively. Nobody can be held accountable for what has been decided, since nothing has been decided; no one has committed himself to anything. When a decision has been taken and moreover when this decision has been established, one takes responsibility. Something will definitely has to happen, so creative tension is present. If I, in the context of that stage in the "Rising Strong' process, notify others of the decision and thus my responsibility regarding a specific actions, I do know that others can speak up and address me regarding my responsibility of those actions. This is also the advice I give. Make suire that during your personal ‘Rising Strong’ process; you make people around you, your loved ones, aware of your decision so that they you could coach during your personal transformation process through honest feedback. This part is about keeping your promises to yourself and others and thus to effective do what you’ve promised to do. I call this part ‘transformation’ because during this stage I transform myself. I’m creating a new Created Self with a new mindset. The old mindset is released, if we do not slip back into old stereotype behavior. This transformation phase requires the most energy. 1. To Conclude vs to Decide
  36. 36. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 36 As already stated one hears nowadays often that the future belongs to those who are "agile" and "resilient." In addition, the concept of agile often used in the Management concepts of Lean and Holacracy and so on. To me Agile is another synonym for Creative Interchange and anyone who lives the creative interaction process from within is by definition 4resilient’. An agile person does not need 'updates' because he improves continuously. Hence one of my favorite slogans: (CI)²= Continuous Improvement through Creative Interchange! The transformation we’re talking about is nothing more and nothing less than a transformation of the mindset. “Seeing with new eyes is seeing from a new Frame of Reference, from a new Mindset” my third father Charlie Palmgren would argue. His mentor, Henry Nelson Wieman, once said, "Creative Interchange is the process that changes the mind, since the mind can not change itself." Deciding regards the tipping point between getting up and going strong again. Deciding has to do with your choice of solutions from the set that was created during the previous part. Those solutions will be effectively implemented in this final phase 'Transformation'. This Tipping Point can be visualized by following Crucial Dialogue Model: 2. Agile & Reselient 3. Mindset 4. Tipping Point
  37. 37. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 37 There is a sort of 'standing' infinity symbol in the right part of the 'big' infinity symbol. I have chosen the Lemniscate, following Lex Bos, as the basic form of the Crucial Dialogue Model. It is as if it were a dialogue around the key questioning "Which of the possible solutions we’ll chose and implement? ". This ‘dialogue within the dialogue’, which also should encompass be key resources needed for that implementation, should off course be held before the decision is taken. Stephen Covey wrote more than twenty years ago in his still relevant book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People": "Begin with the end in mind" This mission leads to the generated solutions, solutions which, with the use of the necessary resources for its purpose, will lead to the desired target, creating the desired future. In this resides also the truth of my paraphrase of the famous Edison quote: "Transformation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." The original quote is talking about genius. You must indeed be a genius to bring to fruition a transformation ‘within time and within budget’. Another important element lies in the paradox of Henry Nelson Wiemans’ ‘two fold commitment’. On the one hand one should fully be true to the decision, with passion and tenacity, not to flinch is the message. On the other hand one needs constantly to stay open to learn what the changing reality has to learn and therefore dare to change if that reality asks for a change of the implementation plan. Commitment is the willingness to do whatever is needed to actually accomplish the actions you have chosen and promised to carry out. It's about the willingness to go outside your comfort zone. Therefor an unconditional commitment is needed. Intrinsic motivation is the incentive to do what you have promised to do. It's why you come out of your bed every day and go to do your work. If you are motivated, but you do not have enough commitment, the transformation will not be successful. Then you are as someone who has a proper dream but thinks it comes naturally or is unwilling to commit oneself fully. This way you will be discouraged quickly and ultimately not be successful. 5. Commitment and Intrinsic Motivation the Golden Couple
  38. 38. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 38 If you're willing to give yourself fully, but do so do not have a clear reason (motivation), you will eventually not be effective. Both, besides the passion for life, are thus essential for successful transformation. Intrinsic Motivation and commitment are the ingredients for the basic condition tenacity. Tenacity means "the tenacious pursuit of what is desired" and has as synonyms persistence and perseverance. It is the persevering implementation of the action plan to achieve the desired reality. Tenacity includes permanently following the action plan until the objective is achieved or has ceases to be reasonably accessible. Put differently, sticking to a chosen approach until the objective is achieved, and not faint at times of doubt and disillusionment inherent to change and transformation. It’s also important that the persistent behavior is not convulsive and closed, but remains open to learning and reasoning and also is based on a good sense of reality. Endurance is patience concentrated. Thomas Carlyle Perseverance is patience concentrated. Indeed, the core quality 'Patience’ is a necessity to persist in moving forward on the chosen path, until the realization of the desired situation is an objective fact. One should also keep in mind that every change takes time. Develop patiently that what was decided is the message. Understand that your success in life won’t be determined just by what’s given to you, or what happens to you, but by what you do with all that’s given to you; what you do with all that happens to you; how hard you try; how far you push yourself; how high you’re willing to reach. True excellence only comes with perseverance. President Barack Obama (Remarks by the President at Kalamazoo Central High School Commencement, June 2010) However, Tenacity should not become stubbornness. Tenacity is inclined to stubbornness when you keep on going without taking into account the ever-changing reality. Then one is not knowledgeable. That's tenacity 6. Tenacity
  39. 39. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 39 too: continual observing the changing reality. Thus, when it becomes clear that the desired reality is unattainable this way, or when it becomes evident through new data that there are better solutions, the approach has to be questioned thoroughly. Koppig volharden, wordt bijna altijd volharden in koppigheid. Jean de Boisson (Pseudoniem van Cees Buddingh) To stubbornly persist, Becomes almost always to persist in stubbornness. The other basic condition of this part of the "Rising Strong’ process is interdependence. In order to continue the implementation of our promises, we are dependent on others. There is a mutual dependence. Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being. Mahatma Gandhi In his already cited book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ Stephen Covey states: Our objective is to move progressively on a maturity continuum from dependence to independence to interdependence. Although independence is the current paradigm of our society, we can accomplish much more by cooperation and specialization. However, we must achieve independence before we can choose interdependence. Stephen Covey uses the following definitions: 1. Dependency: You must take care of me; 2. Independence; I take (first) care for myself; 3. Inter-Dependence: We learn from each other and together we can accomplish great things through synergistic collaboration. After deciding a long journey starts and this journey is usually not for free. "When the rubber meets the road” is a typical American expression, which I learned from 7. Inter- dependence
  40. 40. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 40 Charlie Palmgren. As long as the decision is in the air, the idea encounters relatively little resistance; obviously assuming that it is not shot out of the air. The moment the idea "lands" and therefore a decision is taken, an enormous friction is created, similar to the friction encountered by the wheels of the landing gear when the aircraft touches the tarmac after a flight. The moment one takes action, the promise suddenly encounters big nuisance, in such way that in many cases promises are ultimately not fully realized. In order to protect promises during these rough tours, this phase encompasses on top of the above-mentioned basic conditions Tenacity and InterDependence (i.e. they are mutually dependent) following skills: • Permanently Repeat and Evaluate the implementation of the promised activities; • Ask for Feedback (Positive Reinforcement and Correction) • Dare to Change (if required); • Attentive experience of the process; it so important Process Awareness. Through the 'continual' change effort - while the world does not stop changing outside of us - even the world within us changes. This is necessary according to W. Edwards Deming. This quality guru put it this way: "Nothing changes without personal transformation." Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one. Marianne Williamson You can find the full description of these skills in my book ‘Crucial Dialogues’. The permanent awareness of the Creative Interchange process during the realization of the promised actions is very important. Within Process Awareness we are also aware if what we are doing, is done with the intention and behavioral skills of Creative Interchange or if we (on the contrary) act from our Vicious Circle. Staying 8. Skills
  41. 41. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 41 permanently connected to the Creative Interchange process is our guarantee to continue going strong! Finally, once again the picture of the complete ‘Rising Strong’ process:
  42. 42. © Johan Roels, Thought Philosopher @ Roels’ Inn The ‘Rising Strong’ process 42 i Roels, Johan, Cruciale dialogen. De dagelijkse beleving van het ‘Creatieve wisselwerking. Antwerpen – Apeldoorn: Garant, 2012. ii http://www.slideshare.net/johanroels33/crucial-dialogue-model-2016- 57781366 iii Roosevelt, Theodore. “Citizens in a Republic”, speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910. www.theordoreroosevelt.com/images/research/maninthearena.pdf iv Simon Paul, The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel), LP Bridge Over Troubled Water, March 21 st 1969. v Rohr, R. Adam’s Return: The five promises of Male Initiation. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2004. vi de Sauvigny de Blot, P. SJ, Vernieuwing van organisaties in een chaotische omgeving door vernieuwing van de mens. Breukelen: Nyenrode University Press, 2004. vii "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", song from Evita: lyrics by im Rices and music Andrew Lloyd Webber. Originally sung by Julie Covington, 1977. viii Senge, P.M. [et.al.], The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. Strategies and tools for Building a Learning Organization. New York: Doubleday, 1994, pp 246-252. ix Brown, B., Rising Strong, New York: Spiegel & Grau 2015, pp 78-79 x Lucas, G., Brackett, L. En Kasdan, L., Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, directed by Irvin Keshner, Lucasfilm, Ltd./20th Century Fox Home Entertainment 1980. xi Hagan, S. and Palmgren, C., The Chicken Conspiracy. Breaking The Cycle of Personal Stress and Organizational Mediocrity. Baltimore, Ma.: Recovery Communications, Inc., 1998. xii Roels, J., Creatieve wisselwerking Nieuw business paradigma als hoeksteen voor veiligheidszorg en de lerende organisatie. Leuven – Apeldoorn: Garant , 2001. xiii Roels, J., Cruciale dialogen. De dagelijkse beleving van het ‘Creatieve wisselwerking. Antwerpen – Apeldoorn: Garant, 2012. xiv The Matrix, directed by the Wachowski brothers, Warner Brother Studios, 1999. xv Williamson, Marianne, D. A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles", New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992, p. 190. xvi Roels, J., Cruciale dialogen. De dagelijkse beleving van het ‘Creatieve wisselwerking. Antwerpen – Apeldoorn: Garant, 2012. xvii Angelou, M., Letter to My Daughter, New-York: Random House, 2008. xviii https://hbr.org/2017/01/to-recover-from-failure-try-some-self- compassion? xix Miyashiro Marie R. De empathie factor, het concurrentie voordeel voor effectieve organisaties. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Business Contact, 2012. xx Senge, Peter M. De vijfde Discipline, de kunst en de praktijk van de Lerende Organisatie, Schiedam: Scriptum Management/Lannoo, 1992. xxi Brown, B., Rising Strong, London: Vermillion, an imprint of Ebury Publishing, 2015 p. 123. xxii Roels, J., Cruciale dialogen. De dagelijkse beleving van het ‘Creatieve wisselwerking. Antwerpen – Apeldoorn: Garant, 2012.

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