Blueprints provide bird’s eye views and minutiae at the same time.
I once did an assessment called StrengthsFinder which identified blueprints (called “Context” in their lingo) as one of my Top 5 strengths.
People with the Strength of Context® look back in time to understand the present. They look back into history to bring the present to life, and to add stability and meaning to the here and now. These are the people who believe, “If we do not study history we will repeat the mistakes of the past.”
It resonated with me immediately. I firmly believe that learning about the past is crucial to understanding the present. I think people are the same today as they were 500 years ago. Tools may change – printing press, the Internet – but the way people interact with each other and understand themselves has not.
That’s why I studied a lot of history. By understanding the blueprints like how the Renaissance fed the Scientific Revolution leading to the Industrial Age and the wars of the twentieth century, I feel grounded knowing how humanity got “here.”
My biggest passion, though, is people. I love learning how people tick, their personal blueprints. I enjoy hearing people’s origin stories, how they got from “there” to “here.”
In sum, I think the past informs the present at micro (personal) and macro (societal) levels.
What’s your blueprint?
It’s no surprise that my favourite part of coaching is Fulfilment, which is about identifying your values. Values come from your past experiences, what feels good versus feeling dissonant.
At their best, blueprints are maps that guide you gently forward. When you know your blueprint, you gain:
It helps you navigate today and the future.
Here’s an example: I value connection. With this awareness, I know that I enjoyed working with people while doing HR because it nourished my value of connection. It also clarified why I got so frustrated doing administration; it took time away from connecting with others, so it drained me.
I decided to spend more time connecting which has resulted in feeling more aligned, more authentic, in my daily life.
What’s important to you?
I use blueprints every day in my coaching by helping people see how past behaviours and experiences impact them today. Let’s say you get triggered by someone who yells. With coaching, you don’t analyze who or why you got yelled at in your past. Instead, you look at how you currently respond (fight, flight, freeze) and identify new ways of responding, authentically, that support your growth. In other words, you start to see you have options.
I’ve talked a lot about choice in my newsletters. When you feel stuck in a pattern, behaviour, or thought, you believe you don’t have choices. In consequence, you may feel frustrated, paralyzed, or angry.
Responding in new ways happens by identifying alternative choices you can make. A friend of mine recently advised me, “It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.” Exactly! Choices come from seeing things in multiple perspectives.
Think of an apple pie with eight (8) slices. Instead of focusing on just your slice (your current perspective), think of the other seven (7) slices. What are some other ways of viewing your topic?