As a career coach, I love reading and researching about human lifespan development. The psychology of how individuals grow and stretch throughout their lives — and sometimes, due to tragedy or trauma, get stuck and stop growing and stretching — has always fascinated me, especially when I counsel clients through career transition.
The Seven Levels of Effectiveness
Recently, I’ve been studying the Seven Levels of Effectiveness, a system designed by certified professional coaches Ann Betz and Ursula Pottinga to help understand the human experience.
This “map of personal development” outlines seven levels, three being primarily negative and four being mostly positive. Growth can occur from one level to the other, up the chain, with the ultimate goal being a kind of fully integrated self.
Where are you on this ladder?
7. Synchronicity: working from a true understanding that what is within creates what is outside; focus on creating a positive experience for all; the ability to see the gift and possibility in anything. The realm of “magical coincidence.”
6. Innovation: the ability to set aside ego, personal agendas and perceived restrictions and explore possibilities from all angles; questing for, seeking, and focusing on the most effective solution to the problem or goal.
5. Engagement: the desire to bring value, to be a contributor; basic enjoyment of the enterprise; focus on assets and strengths rather than limitations and detriments.
4. Courage: the willingness to take a stand against previously held negative or disempowering beliefs and actions, trusting in the possibility of a positive future (often despite current evidence that a positive future is not likely or predictable).
3. Frustration: the focus on fighting and jockeying for position against (not with) others; the feeling that the external world (both people and circumstances) must be resisted.
2. Fear: the belief that one must protect against almost certain loss, attack or disappointment.
1. Hopelessness: the fundamental inability to see or work towards a positive future.
(The Seven Levels of Effectiveness, ©2014 BEabove Leadership, all rights reserved)
To me, one of the most interesting things about this ladder is its breakdown of the ways in which we process decisions and complex problem-solving — at the lower levels our brains are ruled by some variation of fight-or-flight syndrome, a kind of reactionary, irrational response to external events.
As we move up through Frustration, Courage and Engagement, our rational minds begin to exert more influence, allowing us clearer thinking and calmer reactions to events in our lives.
But it’s not until Synchronicity, where reason is perfectly balanced with intuition and emotional depth, that we attain our most heightened self-awareness and therefore effectiveness.
Left and right brain, the dynamic duo
As a coach who counsels people through job loss and career uncertainty toward their goals, I embrace this idea that the left and right brain have to be working together for optimal results.
We can tackle a job search through the lens of the analytical left brain, making lists of our skills and work experience and carefully matching them to a sensible next career path.
Or we can take a right-brain approach and meditate, dream and create vision boards of our perfect future.
But to really get anywhere, we have to do both. That means training our brains to stretch past their left or right comfort zones to reach Synchronicity. And I believe the Authentic Vocation discernment process I work with gets that balancing act just right.
How much will you stretch out of your comfort zone to realize a brighter future?