The last 18 months have been a turmoil around the world in many ways. All of us have been pressed to cope with the pandemic but so many other people have had their lives turned upside down by other disasters in parallell. Looking around me I realize that I’ve been extremely lucky so far and that whatever problems I’ve run into seem like small bumps in the road compared to what’s happening in other places. Médecins Sans Frontières are just awesome at helping people in chaos and I had the opportunity to help them in a small way as a corporate supporter. Thank you to all my clients for making this possible.
The concept of Congruence was a central part of Virginia Satir’s teachings. Her idea was that in order for us to truly connect with other people and ourselves we need to, from a place of strong self-esteem, fully honor and appreciate our selves, the other person and the context we are currently in. From this state of wholeness where we are fully present, accepting and accountable, we can act and communicate in a way where we have access to all our internal and external resources and where our feelings, intent, affect and communication all align. The power of Congruence lies in the authenticity we offer to ourselves and people around us and the choices we get access to when we’re not limiting ourselves through the rules of “I ought to …”, “I should not …”, “I can never …”, “I must always …” and the likes.
Virgina identified three parts that we must fully honor in order to be Congruent; the Self, the Other and the Context. We need to act with compassion and caring for ourselves as well as the other person we are interacting with. While doing this we also need to stay aware of the current context and appreciate its uniqueness. As soon as we fail to fully acknowledge one of these three parts we will move towards Incongruence (more on this in later posts).
Being Congruent is not about smooth sailing and constant happiness. It doesn’t mean that we are trying to push our own agenda. Neither does it mean being servant or even polite to the other person. It does mean that in this given point in time, we are fully present and aligned with all parts of ourself while also giving the Other and the Context the same level of attention and degrees of freedom.
A Congruent Leader is not a person who is alway Congruent. It is to me a person who understands what it means to be Congruent, who manages to chose Congruency more often and who can recognize in themself when they are not being Congruent. I strongly believe that the Congruent Leader will help people around them grow and in doing so also helps the systems (organizations, communities etc) that they reside in to flourish. When we are Congruent and communicate Congruently we also give permission to everyone else to do the same. We help people grow their self-esteem and self-efficacy by allowing them to access their own resources in a similar fashion.
When I talk about the Congruent Leader I will be quite specific about Congruency but also quite liberal in what I mean by a leader. We all lead in different situations and by being Congruent we automatically radiate some of the most important qualities of a true leader; presence and empowerment. The Congruent leader is anyone and everyone who displays the qualities we associate with a true leader, who inspire us to grow and to be the best we can in an agreed upon direction.
My upcoming posts will continue to explore the topics of how to stay more Congruent. I aim to write about tools for how to raise our awareness and attend to the Self, the Other and the Context in different ways as well as going into the concept of Congruence in more detail. This writing is ongoing and emergent so the order of the posts will not necessarily be logical and the conclusions I draw will hopefully evolve but my hope is that this will add clarity to the end product in its own way.
In the Covid summer of 2020 I was experiencing a calm period work-wise and decided to try to take on a book project. It worked great … for a couple of days, and then I slowed down, down, down, halt. Today I thought about taking a new approach to this to see if I could get it rolling again. My current idea is that writing a book is a HUGE project and perhaps I could break it down by starting to publish smaller pieces as blog posts. This would serve several purposes:
- it would be easier for me to give the writing a pace and some continuity
- it would give me the opportunity to get feedback on my writing as I go
- it would get me to start blogging again
My idea is to publish something related to the book every week and hopefully be able to aggregate all of it in the end to something more book-like.
So what is this book idea that I have then. Well, the working title of it is The Congruent Leader. The book will talk about change and it will talk about how we can interact in more helpful ways but it will NOT be a book ABOUT change or how to act or interact, it will be a book about Being. It will be an attempt at describing how I perceive the concept of Congruence from the standpoint of Virginia Satir and the models and tools I have found to be useful when it comes to being more Congruent. It is not a recipe for becoming in perfect harmony with oneself and others but it will hopefully give some ideas and suggestions along the way of becoming more harmonious, more often and with more parts of our lives.
I’m starting this journey by taking a first step on the platform created by pioneering family therapist Virginia Satir but I will most likely divert from her path as we move along. I will refer to Virginia’s ideas a lot but I do not aim to make this a book on the Satir Model. Having been trained in the Satir Model but never actually met Virginia also means that my interpretation of Virginia’s tools and models will have passed through several filters before reaching you. I have both consciously and unconsciously made additions to and subtractions from her ideas and intentions so please don’t confuse my words for hers when reading this. I will also combine my understanding of her ideas with many other ideas that I have picked up from various sources over the years. I will try to give credit to the sources when I know of them but I would appreciate your help in pointing it out when I miss this or don’t remember the source.
I hope that this will be a worthwhile series of posts for you to read and I’m sure that it will be of help to myself to get my project going again.
My first post in this series will begin to explain my take on Congruence. I’m looking forward to start this journey with you as a reader and source for feedback.
Third year with SpryWise. It’s been awesome working with the best coaching team ever, supporting an organization that is steadily moving towards more agile ways of working and having the privilegie to support a great management team. This year I decided to give some back in the form of monetary support to Röda Korset (Swedish Red Cross).
Thank you to all my colleagues, clients and friends out there!