I go on a bit about Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a model of change and a world view. I wanted to climb in a bit here and explain how I use this in coaching and working with change and what-is.

AI exists in the organisational change management space and is mostly focused there. I play with bits of AI in a universal kind of way. I tend to pick some bits out and spin them my way and end up talking about The Magical Beast and Wonder.

The Magic Beast is my shorthand for a core position or way of thinking:

The Universe is a Magical Beast.

Look at it. Wow! Amazing.

I don’t know how it works or what it will do next.

So this is holding it with a sense of wonder, staying in curiosity, and therefore loosening that certainty in our heads about what will happen next. You can substitute any thing or person for ‘The Universe’ and it still works. My boss? Politics? My partner?

This gives a little distance between self and the thing to be examined which I think eases that strong connection to our own being and behaviour and expectations. This kind of distance allows me to jokingly say things like “Because humans” or “Wow people are strange sometimes, aren’t they?”

And then The Wonder:

Hmm. what a strange thing it is.

I wonder what will happen when I do X?

This is all about proposing and making experiments. Staying in curiosity. Poking the universe with a stick. Trying something out — something different — without bringing nailed down expectations and potential for disappointment. Let’s do an experiment. Keeping it experimental eases us out of the life and death out of things. More “Oh, that didn’t work” and less “I failed”, if you see what I mean. Taking the pressure off our behaviours and making it easier to try something new.

This works for me. Maybe try it out? Experiment. See if it works for you — see if it helps. I’d love to know how you get on.

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