Rich Litvin, in his 8 principles of exponential coaching (as featured in his online coaching program), talks about the importance of Deep Inner Work.
What exactly is Deep Inner Work?
It is learning to get out of your own way.
We all get stuck when we get in our own way. I most certainly do, even though I have done my fair share of Deep Inner Work.
Formal education is not enough
Over the past decade, I have engaged in a variety of trainings, programs and experiences to develop and grow beyond my formal top Business School education. I enjoyed experimenting with a variety of topics. Here are some of the transformational experiences I recall:
- Crisis Negotiation training and self-defense trainings with ADAC, France
- Survival trainings in France
- Officers Preparation Military training in the French Army
- Franco-Brazilian Negotiation Fellowship (FBNF) with Open Diplomacy
- Integral Associate Coach training by Integral Coaching Canada (training lead by Chela Davison and Laura Divine)
- High Potential personal growth trainings with Sonia Spelen
- 1 year of studies in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco
- Workshop on Death and Dying with Ken Wilber at the Integral Center in Boulder, Colorado
- 2 months at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India
- 2 retreats in the Karma Lind Buddhist center in the French Alps
- Jordan Peterson’s Self-Authoring program
- Consulting.com Accelerator Program (although I didn’t complete the program, I don’t resonate with digital marketing. But that helped me to understand consulting better, and to steer me to an approach that I resonate with much more: the Prosperous Coach).
- Prosperous Coach training with Rich Litvin during his Deep Dive in Santa Monica and the 2020 Intensive
- Positive Intelligence training by Shirzad Chamine
- Yoga Philosophical Study with the DeRose Method (in addition to the 5 years of practice)
No matter how deep you go, there will always be more work to be done. Deep Inner Work is no guarantee to success nor fulfilment. Yet, it is the most meaningful path I have discovered so far.
I also enjoyed a fair deal of self-experimentation, such as living like a nomad, urban survival and camping in urban settings (which included dumpster diving in Australia and urban sleeping outside in the city in France and in other places).
I tried all sorts of diets: from the low-carb high protein diet (as described by Tim Ferriss in the 4-Hour Body), to the fully vegan nutrient rich Thrive Foods diet, by Brendan Brazier, to fasting for 9 days, and even tasting insects in South-East Asia (I enjoyed the spiders, but the crickets not that much).
And I enjoyed challenging myself and experimenting with my body: From putting on 7 kgs of muscle in 2-3 months when it made sense for me, to practicing the headstand in Yoga.
Deeper Self exploration
I explored expanded states of consciousness with various modalities, including a 9-day Vision Quest on the Mendocino land, California.
I have held a daily practice of meditation for the past seven years.
I been supported various therapists and coaches over the years.
Despite all the inner work you have done, you can never know yourself well enough. You can (and will) get in your own way. And you will always meet people who have done more inner work than you have, and others who have done far less.
Ken Wilber talks about four areas of personal growth:
- Growing up
- Waking up
- Showing up
- Cleaning up
Growing up means evolving as a human being from an unconscious way of being to a more conscious one. That is the story of the evolution of consciousness, as he explains it in Ken’s books (A Brief History of Everything, Sex, Ecology and Spirituality, and Integral Psychology). You can find out more on human moral development in my article on Integrity vs. Morality.
Waking up means becoming more aware of reality, and what is truly real. Think about the beginning of the Matrix movie, when first message that appears is:
It is about waking up to who we truly are, yes, you, Reader, waking up to your True Nature. If you don’t know exactly what I am talking about, you have to continue to follow the White Rabbit.
Showing up means stopping to wear a mask. It also means rising to the occasion. Showing up gets 80% of the job done. I tell the students I coach: When you show up at the interview, that means: you sit down on the chair, you breathe, and you are dressed up correctly, that will get 80% of the job done.
Cleaning up is an essential part of evolution. During the growth process, we sometimes leave parts of us behind, at “less elevated” stages of consciousness. If we disown these parts of us that are essential to who we are, we lose that part of our psyche along the way. These disowned parts lurk in the shadows, and will come to bite us later on in our journey. Carl Jung called these parts the Shadow. Ken Wilber uses the analogy of having a certain amount of growth capital, let’s say of 100. When we grow up, we might have 10 points at a high stage of development. If we leave 15 points behind, that will keep us down. Cleaning up can be done with the help of Shadow Work.
“There’s an urgency now, no excuses. As the wisdom holders, we need to help people find what’s important — to Grow Up by moving through the early stages of emotional maturing, Clean Up by doing shadow-up, Wake Up by doing spiritual practice, and Show Up by serving humanity in the world.”Ken Wilber
What are some of your areas of personal growths you would like to explore?
What areas of your life are you trying to avoid at all costs?
(hint: this is where the gold is !)
What is one tiny step you can take to look at it?