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Our Businesses, Our Selves - Page 10


There are two stages beyond green--yellow and turquoise--which represent, each in its own way, a leap into a transcendent kind of thinking and feeling about work and professional identity. The yellow stage--a phase of deep creative regeneration--occurs when a seasoned, mature, successful entrepreneur makes a profound life change and breaks away entirely from his or her old route to explore new territory, just for the sake of newness.

At one workshop, for example, I asked attendees to talk for a few minutes about their practices--where they felt they were in the trajectory of profession and career, given the eight, color-coded stages of evolution. After several practitioners had spoken about their aspirations and frustrations--most were in the early and middle stages--one woman raised her hand and said that she and her husband had built a successful group practice. "I feel now that I've achieved every professional goal I set out to achieve, including what many here today are still seeking," she said. "Now I'm ready to do something completely different. Next year at this time, I know I'll no longer be associated with this practice. I don't yet know exactly what it is I'm going to do--though I've got some ideas--but I know it'll be a departure. My husband and the group aren't happy about my decision, but I feel very deeply that it's time for me to go off on my own, in an entirely new direction." As she spoke, the room became very quiet; she was clearly at a different crossroads than any of the others. When I asked the attendees what stage they thought she'd approached, they shouted out, "yellow." A therapist at this stage is willing to provoke some chaos, relying on her flexibility and the synchronicity around her. Her knowledge and competency as a therapist and businessperson are retained and integrated as she ventures into this new phase of life and work.

The last stage is the rarefied turquoise stage, an idealized "holistic" domain, in which business owners see all the many levels of interaction possible and utilize the state of "flow" for the best, easiest performance from individuals. Turquoise businesses are attuned to the delicate balance of interlocking life forces and aspire to spiritual connectivity. As exclusive a coterie as this stage represents, many people nonetheless can experience turquoise moments--states of flow, when thinking, feeling, and action seem united.

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