Moving to Win/Win: Oppression can be like knowing there is a sun, but not being able to see or experience its warmth because the clouds are in the way.  The sun breaking through the clouds seems very distant. Have you experienced this due to racism, the pandemic, climate crisis, political divisions, hostile work environments, etc.?

We live in uncertain and divisive times where we are bombarded with oppressive fear-inducing messages and violent behavior. How do you access hope and win/win results while feeling oppressed with uncertainty, divisiveness and win/lose threats including increased hate crimes*? 

When fearful of potential outcomes during times of uncertainty and divisiveness, hearkening back to wise spiritual truths as well as national visions and values provide hope, just as an organization’s focus on their vision and values guides them through uncertainty.

The major religions and spiritual teachings all encourage moral responsibility plus harmony or peace. We are called to do the good and right thing, including for future generations.

However, we do not always agree on what is right! In fact, much time is wasted on proving one perspective is right and the other wrong; seeing those with the “wrong” perspective as “the enemy” rather than seeking win/win solutions.  As a coach, I seek to expand perspectives.  I invite you to experiment with this perspective: “ (1) the enemy is never the problem but the opportunity; (2) the problem will never be solved through eliminating or silencing the opposition but only through creating a new field of possibility large enough to hold the tension of the opposites and launch them in a new direction.” —Cynthia Bourgeault, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three.

How can we expand our perspectives and create this new field of possibility? My previous blogs have addressed what we need to let go of to achieve this. Letting go: of perceived control, of the need to feel right (ego), of Unconscious Bias that can unknowingly be fanning fear and divisiveness.  I invite you to hold the perspective that our world is breaking open to this new field of possibility, rather than falling apart, and seek to contribute to win/win solutions rather than trying to grasp onto what you fear you might be losing.

“Having accepted things as they are, I will take responsibility for my situation and for all those events I see as problems. I know that taking responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for my situation… I also know that every problem is an opportunity in disguise, and this alertness to opportunities allows me to take this moment and transform it into a greater benefit… I will relinquish the need to defend my point of view… I will remain open to all points of view…”-Deepak Chopra, 7 Spiritual Laws of Success.

When we feel like the sun is behind the clouds, we seek inspiration in the vision and values of our founders: founders and spiritual teachers of our faith; our nation, our organizations. In the US we Pledge Allegiance to a Republic that is “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In order to achieve this, we need to heed these words: “We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart…” St. Francis, Legend of the 3 Companions. 

For healing and guidance we return to the values proclaimed in The Declaration of Independence, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….” and seek to live out these values in a way that honors all, rather than focusing on our own positions and “right”-ness. Healing and win/win outcomes flow from letting go as well as stepping into acceptance, love and forgiveness, leading to peace and harmony.

I confess finding myself challenged at this time to love those who are not acting in ways that honor and respect all, to the point of death. I feel at times heartbroken, outraged, and utterly drained, and can only imagine what this is like for those more directly affected. I seek guidance, asking how I can contribute to a better world where all can develop their potential and live in prosperity and peace, my vision, and act on that. In our Sharing Power blog I posted the cost of bullying and racism as well as some of what I have been led to do. And not without my own “oops”.

My hope is emerging through people coming together globally and standing up for equitable rights and treatment as well as caring for each other during these uncertain, divisive times, “tearing down the dividing wall of hostility”. I appreciate journalist Mónica Guzmán’s neutral approach to challenging conversations in her book I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times, and Richard Branson, “Staying open to different opinions can ignite a creative spark, create shared solutions, form deeper connections and help us overcome our differences.” (“How do you forge deeper partnerships and collaborations?” LinkedIn article 8/2/22)

Leaders, apply for an Unlock Potential session today to strategize how to unite your team during these divisive times.

Coaches, increase your impact through our Culturally Intelligent Mentor Coaching + Certificate Program.

To our success, we are in this together!

Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC

CQ, Master Certified Coach, International Coach Federation: Unlocking Potential, Prosperity and Peace for leaders, coaches and their organizations through Leadership & Team Coaching, Mentor Coaching and Coaching Supervision Sign up for our newsletter and receive 2 Steps to Greater Impact & Income including how to begin to identify and manage your own bias as well as a “2 Step” for challenging conversations

* Scholarly paper on the Increase of US Hate Crimes

Updated blog from November 6, 2016