Learning isn’t always instant, information isn’t always absorbed then used immediately and light bulb moments don’t always come when we’re expecting them. That’s what I find with a lot of tools and techniques we use in coaching and workshops; we will discuss very practical models which can be implemented straight away but with other things the impact won’t necessarily be noticeable instantly. There’s a model we use called OK Corral, originally created in 1971 by Franklyn Ernst, which is about the positions we operate from when engaging with others. I struggled a little bit to appreciate what this model had to offer; I didn’t see its benefits, but tried to appreciate that it appeared to really be resounding with many delegates we had in the room. Learning isn’t always instant, information isn’t always absorbed then used immediately I like getting things straight away and being able to use them before I have chance to forget them, but this model gave me a very different experience.
At home and work, during new experiences and meeting new people I began to implement a technique to manage apprehension and anxiety I had. What I had started to do was subconsciously use OK Corral weeks after my initial exposure to it. It is a simple concept with magnificent power. There are four positions;
I’m OK – You’re OK
I’m OK – You’re not OK
I’m not OK – You’re OK
I’m not OK – You’re not OK
The most effective position to operate from is I’m OK – You’re OK as this is where you believe you have value to add, are good and worthy and can take responsibility for yourself equally to the person you’re communicating with. We fluctuate around all four positions but will have a default position we tend to activate from.
Personally I know that prior to learning this I spent most my time flipping from I’m OK – You’re not OK and I’m not OK – You’re OK. The problem with these two positions is that one person is always on top, resulting in an unbalanced and unequal interaction, which in the majority of situations is unhealthy and unhelpful for both parties. It’s all very unconscious but in that moment you are either holding the belief that your contribution is more valuable, or vice versa. It is imperative to understand that these are all positions of our mindset and that we are all entirely in control of where we operate from. This is the difference that has made the difference for me.
Regardless of whatever anyone else is feeling, I know that’s their ‘stuff’ and it’s irrelevant to my mindset, my thoughts and feelings, which are completely independent. I have found my inner dialogue reminding me lately that I am OK and they are OK also and it’s an exceptional feeling which I believe has led to an improved assurance of myself and confidence within me.
It’s not only a more helpful place to be but also a nicer one; one of my needs is for equality, and the OK Corral really emphasises the magnitude of this because we are all equal in terms of how we think. No one has a greater ability to think than anyone else. As well as this concept being a huge learning experience for me, also the power our minds have to take on new information and use it involuntary in brilliant ways has really resonated and caused a improved shift in my own development. Our minds work in mysterious ways.
Written by Maimee Morris – Intern.