It’s 2024.

People I know who are 24-35 are asking, ‘Why am I doing this?’ They’re asking, ‘What can I do to make meaning in my life?’ I’m digging into this question a bit, for good advice for young people.

Honestly, there’s not anything to find that’s readily applicable across the board. For now, I’m reading, listening, joining email lists about the topic of Personal Growth, investigating blogs, finding out about podcasts, and, of course, occasionally dipping into the ocean of social media posts. Rarely, I find something that I can say ‘Yeah, that applies, even with the pandemic-adjusted world, it still fits.’ Sometimes there are commencement speeches that I used to think were amazing, but they failed to take into account all the things we know now and factor in that mark 2024 and not 2014, which was when I landed in Southeast Asia. In the decade since, much has changed. Of course. Naturally; and talking about change comes easily to me since I was exploring this well before arriving here, too.

Now, I’m understanding more and more that when some talk about ‘change’ they’re not really talking about change at all – that is a given, after all, that change will come – but they’re talking about something more internal than that.

More personal.

The reality of it is becoming clear to me. I’ve observed countless startups, and nonprofits, and NGOs talking about change and making change and the center of what these things are really about is emerging after a decade of sitting back and watching from the sidelines.

I’ve already talked about it.

Ego.

People in the higher-up places in their positions corroborate this. It gets in the way.

But it’s there. It’s always, always there. Ego, competing with the big thing that the true self is seeking: connection. Oh, there’s so much to say, and so much to feel, and of course, it’s a personal take anyway no matter what I could write or share. I know that.

Still, I want to try.


What is the meaning of growth & change, truly?


I don’t mean to get too philosophical here, today. But I think there’s a parallel you can draw between the design process, which was my practice for a decade in Seattle and Raleigh-Durham, and that of finding inward transformation which is what we explore in Kismuth columns, books, and articles (and conversations – but that’s hard to share since it gets so personal and what we say together is confidential, besides).

Why is trust so important?

Because it takes time. It takes learning, uncovering, and feeling okay with what you see. Who you’re with. It takes aeons to build. It means something: it means lowering your guard. Not everyone is ready to do that, of course, but it’s requisite for real change, I feel.

During the design process, I asked clients of Design Kompany to think bigger than just what other people would think of their new brand identity’s ‘look’, which, if I’m honest, is what people often think they want when they sign up for a design with DK. I’m glad they wanted to work with me because they liked DK’s portfolio, but I encouraged them to go a step further and investigate more deeply into the ‘why’ of what they wanted to do, say, make, and share with the world. This of course got personal and I started to focus more on owner/operated firms with just a few people because DK’s process could be the most useful, in those cases. People who were ready to ask questions, big ones. And think through lots of stuff, with me asking the questions to get them to explore.  I think that what we always find out together is that the design process can call out something cool. It’s not external validation that people care about, after trusting me through this process, it’s something else. More personal. More true to who they really are.


An inward transformation


I believe that the process – with trust in it – can lead to a deep and meaningful inward transformation. Fixing your issues, resolving what’s been unresolved. I’ve helped people make tattoos or personal brand identities for themselves, when going through a big shift in life.

Such stuff to talk together and get a design together to give concrete form to those shifts can be giant work.

I see it. I find out. I watch people start coping with old stuff and dealing with it. Dealing with baggage – the traumas of childhood baggage, relationship baggage, all the stuff you never coped with. I had friends in the past who were therapists and they used to talk a lot with me about their own issues. Long story short, I tried my best to learn how to be a good listener for them, in those times. I learned how to lean on others, too, in other times in life, when things got difficult. Sometimes the skills in listening – soft skills – can be a great source of support. Just listening. Which takes a lot of energy and giving, of course. I feel that a process of inward transformation can truly happen… with trust. Trusting the process. Trusting yourself.

My opinion.

Here’s another one. You can listen to a podcast interview I did with a guest, SV, who had a fascinating take on this. Listen to my episode of the podcast ‘New Baselines’. Which is at this page:

Podcast

 


Being very honest


More to say about the work to find inward transformation and peace, as we all converse and connect and try new things n our own ways wherever we are. It’s a conversation, but it’s also a zine. A zine called S P A C E. More about it is at my crowdfunding page. That link is:

http://chuffed.org/project/spacethezine

Thanks!

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A true process of change begins with trust: this is why

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