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Taking Responsibility for Your Own Freedom


I came across this concept the other day and it struck me. Hard.


It’s from a guy called Peter Block. He wrote things like Flawless Consulting and Activating the Common Good.


Why did this snippet strike me so much? Because it’s the best definition of Coaching that I’ve come across.


What does taking responsibility for your own freedom mean to me?


  • Realising what you have ownership and control over and how you can make change to achieve things you may not yet even know are possible.

  • Taking responsibility for doing this thinking in the first place.

  • Recognising that having that ownership is, in fact, a privilege that not everyone has access to.

  • Making the most of that privilege to make the changes that help you grow, while recognising the impact these changes may have on others.

  • Accountability for your role in the world that we live in and how you contribute to it.


Michael Bungay Stanier uses Block’s concept to inform his Foundation Question within his book The Coaching Habit (Top tip: if you’re at all interested in Coaching; read this. In fact, even if you’re not, but you’re a Manager of people; read this. It has really big bold text and it’s quite a small book. This, among others, is the reason why I love this book). The Foundation Question being:


What Do You Want?

Duh, right? And yet I’m in the midst of an epiphany on the power of really probing the people I coach on this question.


What Do You Want?

How Will You Know That You Have Reached / Achieved This?

What Matters So Much To You About This?


And this gorgeous phrase, Taking Responsibility For Your Own Freedom, cuts across all the beliefs that limit the person’s ability to reach what they want: ‘If only…’, ‘I can’t do that because…’, ‘well that’ll never happen…’. There are very real limitations put on us all, whether economic, structural or societal; but reclaiming your power where you can is where real transformation happens.


To be able to give someone the gift of time and space to think about what they really, really want is core to the joy I’m finding in Coaching.


Side note: In the midst of my favourite bit of every yoga class, Savasana (My translation: lying down for a rest at the end) recently, I was asked, what does freedom mean to you?


I realized that, for myself, right now, it means exploration, or: freedom to explore. 

It’s not always comfortable or restful or immediately rewarding, but I feel incredibly privileged and grateful to myself and those around me in being able to find this space, a space where I can explore: ideas, places, people, messes, havens, treasures, endings, beginnings and middle-bits.


What am I dancing to? The Spice Girls of course! Tell me what you want, what you really really want… (other than Zig-a-zig-ah). Definitely using this in my next Coaching session 💃


This blog post came from my newsletter, Dancing in the moment, you can subscribe to these bi-weekly updates via LinkedIn.

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