The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Using the self as an instrument

Recently a friend shared how he determines which relationships to keep and which ones to let go of. For him, the basic principle is, that the relationship can be easygoing and kind. It’s a way for him to find pleasure in that relationship. If the other person makes it too complicated for him, he’ll start to let go of the relationship.

Basically what he does is pay attention to what he feels when he’s together with the other person. If there is too much he doesn’t like he will decide what to do.

It’s a way to use himself as an instrument. He uses impressions and intuitions to decide.

As a coach, consultant, and leader using the self as an instrument can be expanded beyond deciding on one’s relationships. There it will serve the purpose to gather crucial information about the organization one connects with as well as insight into it.

Every environment, relationship, or situation we are in creates a different experience and establishes a space to act we can choose. This happens by making ourselves aware of our experience and being able to put it into context. In a way, it is looking at the resonance the situation creates in us and being able to make sense of it.

To learn to do this we’ll combine practice, listening, and care, just like we would do it with an instrument.

The practice means to put ourselves into situations and listen to how they resonate within us. As a leader, this means for example to put oneself back into the experience of being led and to pay attention to how it impacts us. What do we like, what not? Where do we react and how? This gives us crucial information on how others might feel in a similar situation. It is understanding how we feel as an instrument.

Listening to our experience in a variety of situations will assist us to gain a sense of our overall experience. It gives us an idea of the range of experience we tolerate and how. The information we gather there will help us know what it needs for us to have times in which we are on top of our performance. What it also does is help us see how the relationship we are engaged in is different from others in the moment as well as in general. It helps us see the state of the instrument and how well it can resonate.

Caring for the experience implies verifying how well attuned the instrument is. There are times when the resonance is impacted in a way that might hinder proper resonance. When something is missing, for example, the instrument can’t provide qualified information. That’s where checking in with the quality of the instrument allows verifying if something needs to be done to make sure that the instrument can develop all its resonance.

It might need some time to access and develop this ability, but it is there.

It provides valuable information assisting us in making sense of the relationship we are contributing to.


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