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  • Writer's pictureRobin Prospect

Why Grow in Harmony?

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

The name Grow in Harmony came to me early one morning. The day before, I had been exploring the nature of my work and what I love about each aspect. The commonalities were its transformational trajectory and the fact that it is done together, in relationship. I had an intention to find a name for my business but, following the creative process described by Graham Wallas, founder of the London School of Economics, I let go of trying to find an answer and went to bed. When the name Grow in Harmony landed in my mind the next morning, I was grateful to the awesome subconscious for sifting and sorting, producing a name that resonates deeply for me.

Always a lover of wordplay, I enjoy the fact that Grow in Harmony has two interpretations:

  • It refers to the intention to find ways to grow ourselves and our organisations that are in harmony with what surrounds us.

  • It also names the aspiration to increase the amount of harmony that we experience, within ourselves and in our relationship with the world.

Harmony doesn't mean unison. The beauty of harmony arises from the uniqueness of each melody being played with an awareness of the overall sound being created.

Why I believe the world needs to grow in harmony

I find personal growth incredibly satisfying. I cherish those moments of insight - aha! moments - in which I suddenly see the world in a way that makes more sense. Something is unlocked. A path is opened and my thoughts can flow in a new direction. I have come to realise that these aha! moments often follow a period of discomfort and dissonance: a point at which my habitual understanding is no longer helping me navigate life.

I think that millions of people are currently experiencing collective dissonance. There is talk of living through a meta-crisis: ideological extremism, climate change and a global health emergency define our era. This moment in history is said to be characterised by VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

We experience an increase in conflict and catastrophe, and we fear that the logical conclusion of this trend is a bleak future for humankind. But what if we hear it as a call to wake up? To realise the inadequacy of the story we in the West have been telling for the last couple of centuries: a story of control and conquest and consumption. While under its spell, we have acted as if individual success at the expense of others is rational. This story just doesn’t stack up in the face of the evidence of how my actions affect you, which in turn affects me.

Sometimes the constant awareness of what is going on all over the world is overwhelming and feels like more than our human brains can manage. However, one beautiful thing emerging from globalisation is the self-evident truth of our interconnectedness. For instance, we are easily able to intuit that the changing political direction of one country is connected to similar changes in many other places, and we are aware that the totality of human behaviour is having a massive impact on the rest of nature.

Once I accepted that the story of individualism doesn’t hold true and I shifted to an understanding of interconnectedness, it was a huge relief: this makes sense! At that point, I did not know how to reach a point of better relationships with others and the rest of nature, but at least I was not fooling myself about the context in which I must make my choices.

How do we grow in harmony?

There is a loosening of control needed to step into the process of growing in harmony. We are already in the flow of life, no matter what we decide to do. In the infinite complexity of the world, we must accept that there is so much we cannot intellectually know about what will happen next. For me, there is a dual realisation of ‘Everything I do impacts the rest of the world’ and ‘I cannot control the outcome of my action (or inaction)’. This can feel scary because we have been taught that we need to be in control.

There is a journey into not knowing and nonetheless accepting the responsibility of the choices that are ours to make, and the path that is ours to follow.

My personal experience is that I have an inner compass. I spent many years not listening to it, so it was hard to follow to begin with, but like a muscle it grows stronger with training. Mark Feenstra has expressed beautifully how our inner voice is connected to the flow of life: we are a only drop of water in the river, and yet, in the centre of each droplet there is a miniature river, which reflects a part of the river of existence. Metaphysics aside, I want to share the sense of aliveness and flow that comes from aligning more and more closely with that inner compass or river, as a guide to what to do next.

When applied to work and organisations, this perspective gives rise to a model of growth that does not try to create or exploit a gap in the market. Instead, we explore to discover the need that we are uniquely suited to meet, and we sense where to expand our capacity to fulfill that role. With this comes a realisation that, as everything constantly shifts, so will needs and capacities. So, we and our organisations will be most successful if we are able to flexibly adapt. Frederic Laloux calls this mode of organisational development 'sense and respond'.

My calling to support this process

I am drawn to supporting people and organisations to find their sense of direction and purpose. This work is rooted in my beliefs that we all contain that intelligence inside ourselves, and that each of us has a piece of the puzzle that only we can bring. This applies to organisations as much as people. I facilitate, design and create contexts in which we get better at tuning in to the existing wisdom in ourselves, one another, and the systems around us.

So how does this influence the specific work I'm doing?

  • Through transformational coaching, I connect with people where they are now and help them to recognise their innate power and creativity.

  • When working with purpose-led organisations, I'm interested in where we can harmonise relationships and communication, so that the deeper direction of an organisation can emerge.

  • The awareness of interconnectedness has transformed my approach to diversity, equity and inclusion, stripping it back to why these values really matter. I've written more about this here.

  • Circling is all about unveiling the intelligence of our experience in service to each other, so I'm really excited to share this practice with groups and individuals.

Does any of this ring true for you or your organisation? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

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