A marked change in form, nature, or appearance, a process by which one figure, expression, or function is converted into another. From the Latin/Old French trans – meaning “across,” and formare – “to form”. Synonyms: change, alteration, mutation, conversion, metamorphosis, transfiguration, transmutation.
I have long been fascinated by transformation in people’s lives. Why does it happen? How does it happen? What does it mean? What makes something ‘transformational,’ versus something that is simply change? Here is my thinking thus far.
I believe that transformation is something ‘life-altering.’ It changes the direction of where we were going; it changes how we see ourselves and our lives. It often changes how we live and behave in the world. In the end, how we define it depends on how we define “marked” change in our life.
I believe that transformation can take place in any one (or more) of our four core energy centers. We can experience:
- a physical transformation (i.e., how we care for ourselves – losing weight, body building, quitting smoking, healthier diet, being healed);
- an intellectual (mental) transformation (i.e., what we believe, our way of thinking, how we see the world);
- an emotional transformation (overcoming the Emotional Brain Hijack);
- a spiritual transformation (i.e., a conversion of faith, or other spiritual awakening).
Sometimes, transformation can be in an instant, due to an intervention, or miraculous healing. More often, transformation takes place over time, from weeks to years. ‘Evolution’ is the word that occurs to me when I think of change over time.
In my work (coaching), I am privileged to work with a number of people across a broad spectrum of ‘current conditions’ in their lives. Almost all come because they want something different. For some, the ‘wanting something different’ is as much as they have defined. They just know that they don’t want to be where they are (physically, intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually). In most cases, where they are is affecting how they function at work, at home, or in relationships. They have reached a certain ‘tipping point’ in their discomfort with their current condition.
For about 5% of the people I coach, the gap between where they are, and where they state they want to be, is not sufficient to motivate them to change. For 80% of my coachees, they gain sufficient insight during the coaching process to make the desired positive changes. There is another 10% – 12% of those I work with who experience true transformation in their lives. I will come back to these people. The other 3%, or so, of people I coach, are a combination of not the best coaching on my part, and/or a poor match in personalities between myself and them.
Most of the 10 – 12% of the people who experience transformation didn’t start with transformation as the stated goal. What they do know is that they have work to do. They know that the version of who they are, and who they want to become, is not close. They come motivated. What occurs on the journey is a fundamental overhauling of what and how they think, what they value and believe about themselves, and the changes they wish to make in who they are becoming. There is a ‘marked’ change in their ‘form.’
I believe that transformation is the highest form of change we can experience. The transformative work is often two or three steps beyond what we see as our ‘biggest challenges.’ I think it is why most do not start with transformation as a goal. If they saw, ahead of time, the amount of work it would take they might be discouraged.
Most people just want to ‘fix’ the two or three things that are most in their way to greater success in their work and their lives. It is what is commonly referred to as ‘low hanging fruit.’ The ‘fruit’ that hangs higher, is not as noticeable, nor accessible, but is often at our core. It is a fear, or a view, or a limiting assumption that we don’t see that is a barrier to the highest version of ourselves. It is the place of our highest vulnerability. It is a place where we hold the ‘truth’ about ourselves; not what others see. The place we like to keep hidden. In those places are our greatest opportunities for significant growth and transformation.
To travel in those areas takes not only motivation, but it takes discipline, perseverance, and the courage to expose our most vulnerable self. It is often a long journey, as change is never linear. We make progress. We revert. The pattern repeats itself. There is a great deal of ‘falling down’ and ‘getting up.’ Those with the greatest success are the ones who continue to get up until they reach their goal, and beyond.
These ‘stories’ inspire me. They humble me. To be part of their work is sacred to me. To experience their growth along the journey is full of many highs, and several lows. The rate of growth seems proportional to their intimate understanding of their most inner self, and their willingness to bring it into the light. The decision to do just that is often the longest part of the process. They are literally ‘wrestling’ with themselves over whether to ‘renovate’ the most inner part of themselves or simply apply another coat of paint.
One of the most joyous times I believe I can experience as a human, is to watch another human being walk into their own light and become who they were created to be. For some, that requires transformation. For others, it requires change, but the distance is shorter.
Spring is a good time for us to evaluate what we need to ‘clean’ in our ‘house.’ Is opening the windows and letting in the Spring air sufficient, or does our ‘house’ require a lot more work. Regardless of your answer, may your journey yield the highest version of who you wish to become.
To a better you…