Maintaining Integrity through Change

In this post I want to discuss two examples from nature that help describe what I do with clients. In a nutshell, Alchemus Prime helps clients maintain integrity while adapting to profound changes.

In a world that is racing by us with new technologies and mass extinctions, sometimes it’s difficult to get a grip on who we are, why we’re here, and what we can best be doing to make a difference. These two examples may be instructive and inspiring:

 

Metamorphosis: Self-Renewal

When a caterpillar goes into its cocoon, it takes a leap of faith, trusting that things will be alright despite profound change in its form and function. As a leader facing uncertainty and paradigmatic change, you might ask yourself what you need to take with you on this journey. I did ask this very question a couple of years ago at the Bioneers conference in a workshop led by the brilliant Toby Herzlich. My answer was the “Maintain Integrity through Self-Renewal” card from the Life’s Principles Leadership deck (see photos below).

My epiphany at that time was that everything that I need to maintain my integrity as a leader and environmentalist is what I will take with me through profound change; everything else I will leave behind. For me, this meant my values, principles, passion, and self-care. What is essential to your function that you want to take with you, no matter how much change life brings?

Life's Principles Leadership card on integrity and self-renewal.

Life’s Principles Leadership card on integrity and self-renewal.

 

Water: Changing States

Yesterday was my birthday and I woke up with an intense insight, as if someone had planted a burning seed in my mind. The insight was this: water can adapt to external change (such as heat or cold) by changing its state, and in some cases this change in state can purify the water, but water never loses its integrity and identity as water. I lay in bed pondering and digesting this for a while, and wrote a poem about it last night.

Think about polluted water, say, in a river. When conditions heat up, water evaporates, leaving behind particulate impurities, and transforms into vapor that drifts off to another location, eventually to fall as nourishing rain. Water can also freeze and create a layer of ice, upon which snow falls and stays clean and pure. Of course, there are exceptions, such as acid rain, so it’s important to know how far you can take this example. In human terms, acid rain is a compromised state, in which we have lost our integrity, and become “polluted.”

Water’s lesson for me is that I can choose to change in substantial ways to adapt to changing conditions without losing my identity or integrity. In fact, changing myself in deep ways could be advantageous to me, as it can be for water. I can embrace change as an ally, a partner, a friend. How do you see yourself adapting to change: is it making you more yourself?

Water can change states from liquid to gas and back to liquid depending on external conditions.

Water can change states from liquid to gas and back to liquid depending on external conditions.

 

I realize from these reflections that if I had to sum up what Alchemus Prime was created to do, it’s this: our services help you become more like water…adapting to and flowing with change in ways that maintain, and even strengthen your integrity.

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