There is a quote by Michelangelo that he could see the statute in a piece of marble, he just had to set it free. I see the same potential in people. Each of us holds the answers we seek but with all the noise and static and stress in our lives, sometimes we need help to set them free.
Unlike marble, when people are set free we become less rigid. When we can enter a space authentically and trust those we work with it makes us more flexible, adaptable, and responsive. This is the genius of the Conscious Contracts® process. More than a piece of paper, it designs responsive, human and value-based systems that can move and evolve over time.
1. Know ourselves. We call this the “operating agreement of me”. Each of us has a unique set of values. We have dreams that drive us and a contribution we are called to make in the world. We also have our own work style and needs, strengths and weaknesses. What we don’t always have is the freedom to show up exactly as we are without the “facades” of expectation. Being able to show up authentically is the first step to building trust and understanding.
2. Know each other. The next step is to come together to see where we align. Do we share a vision for the world? Are we called to make the same contribution? Will we work well together? This may mean that we have similar styles, or it may mean that our styles can work in parallel. The key is that we have come to the discussion with our full authentic selves rather than the traditional, arm’s length, hide the ball style negotiation. Holding up that many facades arises out of a scarcity mindset and it is exhausting. We are who we are, and we align or we don’t. When we focus our energies on building connection and alignment we move into a space of abundance and possibilities.
3. Co-create our system. This is the really fun part of Conscious Contracts®. We know who we are and our shared vision for the world so now we design what we need to help us stay in alignment and bring it to life. In addition to our action plan, the other big part of this step is our ACED or process for addressing change and engaging disagreement. Conflict resolution is part of this but this is also where we create daily practices that will prevent or minimize conflict. It is the system we put in place to help us keep our word when stress has made us (temporarily) lose our mind. We design our accountability because is helps us stay in alignment. It is the difference between being accountable and being held accountable.
When I do this work with clients or teach the process in workshops I am always amazed by the energy shift that I see in participants. The opportunity to enter authentically and co-create together lights a fire in people that they didn’t realize was possible. The openness, transparency and acceptance of the process brings a new kind of security. Rather than looking to rigid rules contained in the four corners of a document, our foundation of trust and understanding allows us to build a system that can sense, respond, and evolve with whatever life throws at us.