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Dimensions of development – Loop or Spiral?

For as long as I can remember in my coaching role, I’ve been using a blinding insight I had one day, about loops and spirals as metaphors for personal development. Including when in an official NHS therapeutic role, I would erm… go ‘off script’ to bring these slick little chums in to session. I did so because they worked curvy wonders.

I want to share the insights with you now and for the record, each time I think on them their meaningfulness and power grows and expands… that’s just what they do.

Here is an extract from my book, Ironic Fundamentalism:

Break out of the loopy loop of a frustrating life.

Think about all the times you have said to yourself “here I go again”, or you’ve felt that your career, relationships, decisions and life in general is going around in circles? That life is on a loop? Often one that feels exhausting and frustrating. Well, maybe it is. Maybe it’s a feedback loop of what you are thinking and doing resulting in the same things over and over and over… leading to the same experiences, over and over.

But what IF…? 

That loop is not what it seems and that by perceiving it differently, you can immediately and massively upscale your career, relationships, decisions and life in general? 

It’s just a matter of choice.

Each time we come around in the loop, we actually do so at a different point in time, as different people (we are older and have different experiences since the last time). What if we could super-charge that route so that the height and breadth of the spiral was expanding and growing us with each cycle round?

We can. We choose to do so by embracing the perspective and asking ourselves what do we learn each time and, what will we do more of and less of next? We can leave the old pattern behind – and not return to the same piss-poor frustrations because instead of looping around, we are going up, up, up and expanding out, out, out.

  • What do you need to make this simple yet fundamental change? 
    Answer: Insight and action. 
  • What insight does Anxiety tell you about your values, your beliefs, your behaviour?  
  • What needs to change? 
    Be that change through action. Positive risk-taking.

Now of course, with risk comes well… risk. We often fear change and loss. Everything and everyone we love changes or leaves at some point or at many points, and so do we from the lives of others. Loss is difficult, but also a necessary part of growth beyond those comfort zones. We are all travelling intertwined  spirals that see each of us arriving at or leaving a job, town or relationship to changes of career, lifestyle or mindset. 

So, think of your loop as your restricting limiting comfort zone – and your spiral as your way up and out. Staying in a loop that doesn’t serve you is well… loopy.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Attributed to Albert Einstein 
(although authorship is debated, it’s a great quote so here it is!)

Oh, and that hole on the middle of the spiral, that ‘gap’ that also expands and grows up and out? Well… the gap is not empty. The gap is the expansive potential you are creating and drawing on simultaneously. You see? The ‘stuff’ in the middle of the spiral that looks like empty space is actually all the learning, all the choices, all the energy, all the connections… it is the ALL the everything you have created and will create. 

As you expand and grow, so does it. Awesome, right? So, as along as you have momentum to keep moving in alignment with your chosen positive direction, your potential also grows with you, fuelling your growth. Forever.

Why stay ‘stuck’ expecting things to remain comfortably familiar? Surely this only can lead to Anxiety and resentment? Even the littlest positive changes will result in change for the better.

With this in mind…. What’s it going to be? Loop or Spiral?