Some leaders make change look easy. While most people strive to drive change through persuasion, they stoke our imaginations and inspire us to embrace daring new visions of what could be. How do they do it?
Believe it or not, a breakthrough from the behavioral sciences called the Voice Code has finally answered this question, offering us profound new insights into the invisible levers of influence. These insights have now been made actionable through the LUCK cycle, the following four-step engagement sequence:
- Step 1. Listen for inspiration
- Step 2. Understand the resistance
- Step 3. Call to imagine
- Step 4. Keep listening
This is the second installment of a 4-part storytelling series to help you master this inside-out engagement sequence in the pursuit of your purpose. If you missed the first installment, click Step 1. above to quickly get up to speed. There, you'll meet your traveling companion "Bob" — a struggling change advocate who is waking up to his power. You'll also discover the foundational "Unlucky belief" that keeps people trapped in the old persuasion model of social influence and receive key action items to implement "Step 1. Listen for Inspiration."
Unlucky Belief #2: People are separate
When we last met Bob, he’d reached his breaking point. He’d lost his will to keep fighting. The problem that inspired him to become an advocate was getting worse every day, and there was nothing he could do about it. He felt helpless. His mind sent him fearful visions of Armageddon scenarios with everything going to ashes. A sense of doom choked his heart and clouded his mind. This may sound bad, but once he stopped fighting it, Bob found it strangely liberating. These feelings must’ve been down there for a long time! Then, just like that, the storm was over. He felt different. The world around him hadn’t changed one bit. But something had definitely shifted. He felt a new sense of hope and peace. Maybe things would be ok. If he could only hold onto the gentle thread of joy emerging within him.
When Bob released his agenda for the world, he came face to face with the real problem. Much to his surprise, the problem wasn’t in the world at all — it was in him. He’d fallen into the trap of the wounded world-changer, believing that he could find happiness by solving the world’s problems. His mission was loving. But the tenacious willfulness that had motivated him for so long was rooted in fear.
People could sense this. Something about him felt bullying, no matter how polite he was. The undigested pain driving him triggered others to instinctively recoil. Thank god he finally gave up! Freed of the baggage he’d been carrying, he felt a sense of joyful connection to life. This joy was there all along. It was just buried beneath blankets of angst that kept him feeling separate.
This joy lives in everyone. It is the secret inner power that all great leaders tap to change the world. This power is what I call our Voice — that mysterious “larger us” who transcends fear and is connected to everyone. The second step of the LUCK cycle, “Understand the Resistance,” helps us to tap into this mighty force by removing the false “either/or” assumptions that block awareness of our shared creative power. When we effectively implement this step, we help our audiences release the belief in separation and open to inspired new possibilities for co-creation.
The inspired listening of step one (Listen for Inspiration) joins our minds to unite in discovery as we embrace step two — resistance — with a sense of curious wonder. When this journey is complete, questions grow silent and hearts open to remind us of the radical truth of unity behind the screen of perception. When Albert Einstein called separation “an optical delusion of consciousness,” he was pointing to this truth. In so doing, he was restating a simple idea proposed by every great wisdom teacher in history: We are one.
This idea lives at the aspirational core of every human heart. But until now, it has proven deviously difficult to embody when it comes to business. Why? Because the cornerstones of commerce are forged upon the belief that perception is reality. When we start from this premise, our hearts stay blocked and oneness seems like a fairy tale for naive sissies who can’t handle the harsh reality of separation.
When it comes to the business of influence, even those who courageously champion the importance of open hearts find implementation nearly impossible. The problem isn’t a lack of sincerity. It’s much more deeply rooted and systemic. We’ve been socialized to believe in separation from a young age, and our culture reinforces this belief in every conceivable way. The foundations of communication theory enshrine it!
Consider the traditional model of communication below. Through this lens, we are fundamentally separate. The inner game doesn't matter. Our leverage to influence comes solely from information as it crosses the channel between the sender and receiver.
If this model is correct, then Einstein, the Voice Code and all the great wisdom teachers throughout the ages are wrong. But if separation is an optical delusion, then the sender-receiver model is dangerous. When we implicitly endorse the underlying premise of this model, we remain stuck playing games of manipulation no matter how sincerely we may aspire to transcend them.
Step two offers a simple way out: Instead of forcing oneness, focus on finding and understanding resistance to it. As we do this, the sense of separation between them and us dissolves and unity is self-evident. Those who master this step naturally see through darkness and into the light within others. This is the gift of vision. It gives us the power to defy cynics and achieve the impossible.
Practice LUCK: Understand the Resistance
If you had to choose, which do you believe to be the core truth — oneness or separation? Which premise frames your thinking most often when it comes to making decisions? Are you willing to experiment with starting from oneness when engaging others? A high-level overview of step two is given below. Over the next week, practice this mindset by making observing and dissolving resistance your primary objective in your engagements. As you master this step, you’ll begin pass through the veil of separation to experience your inherent unity with others. This will make your calls to action (Step 3) feel natural and powerfully inspiring.
In next week's installment (Part 3 of 4), we'll cover step 3 of the LUCK sequence: Call to Imagine. In the meantime, if you get so that you want to dive deep and master Step 1, consider reading scene three, "Inspire the Alchemist," from the LUCK inner game manual, The Voice Code. It offers an actionable overview of the principle of Resonance and a 15-minute inner alignment exercise that you can use to instantly activate this principle in your communications. For Step 1 outer game support, consider reviewing chapters seven and eight from the outer game manual, Igniting Inspiration. These chapters offer a quick overview of the worldview segmentation, a developmental map which makes understanding and dissolving resistance in others easier than ever..