"The Four Fold Way 1. Show up 2. Pay attention to the meaningful 3. Say your truth without judgement 4. Be open to, but not attached to the outcome"
~ Angeles Arrien

“The Four Fold Way
1. Show up
2. Pay attention to the meaningful
3. Say your truth without judgement
4. Be open to, but not attached to the outcome.”

~ Angeles Arrien

4 Ways of Going Into a Conversation To Maximize Success

As I looked for material to share with those of you who have asked to be a part of this service, I recognized that there was a quote (actually, a mini model) that I have been admiring for years, but for some reason had not made it to these pages. The quote/model comes from a book by Angeles Arrien entitled, “The Four-Fold Way.”

The first “way” or concept speaks to the value of showing up. While at first glance this can seem very basic, isn’t it truly a necessary step in any endeavor? Isn’t it true that if we never “show up” or decide to participate fully in life’s arenas, we will by definition never be a creative force in our experience of life? Don’t you know people who, through fear of failure, rejection, or even fear of success, choose never to “show up” in their work and/or their relationships, and thus are left to define themselves as the victim of these experiences? I suggest that if becoming influential in our lives is one of our goals, choosing to “show up” or be fully present in everything we do would be a great beginning.

Of course, just showing up doesn’t guarantee success, and so let’s move on to the next component of the model, “Paying attention to the meaningful.” I love this concept because it reminds us not to become distracted by the meaningless, or the minutiae in life. If we look back at the times in our lives where anger, frustration, and/or anxiety were the dominant emotions, isn’t it true that much of this experience could be traced to our focus on the petty and meaningless (traffic, the behavior of someone who we would not define as “important” to us, etc.)? Now, of course, this doesn’t mean that every negative experience is meaningless. Often our frustration and anger can be good information, or a signal that something needs to change. I am just suggesting that as we begin to make these changes, we focus on the aspects of our life that are truly meaningful and define ourselves as a person who looks for the meaningful in everything we do. A question we might want to keep in mind: “Is what I am focusing on at this moment truly meaningful”?

The third “way” or component in the model is to “say your truth, without judgment.” For many of us, this will be quite a challenge because so much of what we hold on to as “truth” has a judgmental nature to it. Again, this isn’t necessarily wrong or bad, but it may not be the way we want to define ourselves (i.e., as someone who is judgmental by nature). The beauty of this aspect of the quote as I see it is that it can free us to honor our “truths” without needing to convince others that we are right and they are wrong. If we have decided that something is true for us (meaning that it feels free to believe), then we can celebrate our freedom by following our truths without the need for agreement or approval. Not a bad way to live, don’t you think?

The fourth and final component in the model may be the most important and thus, for many of us, is likely to be the most difficult: “Be open to, but not attached to the outcome.” What I love about the fact that this comes at the end of the model is that if we are willing to do the first three… show up (or be fully present), pay attention to the meaningful, and say what is true for us without judgment, then the outcome, or what happens as a result of these choices will take care of itself. We don’t have to worry about “making something happen” because our willingness to be a certain kind of person (who is present, focused on the meaningful, and truthful, but nonjudgmental) will create a certain experience of life. Further, given that trying to “make people and/or life do/be the way we want” is often a frustrating experience, we can skip this exercise in futility and allow what comes into our lives to be an opportunity to practice self-definition.

Now, this doesn’t mean that we should never make plans or have a vision for our future. It’s just a gentle reminder that “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray” or, put another way, we can never fully predict or have control over what happens to us, so why not build this attitude of acceptance into our philosophy of life and use the “outcome” or what happens as an opportunity to “show up, pay attention to what’s meaningful, and say our truth without judgment?

Of course, many of you know that all of these purposeful choices come from the “purposeful” part of the brain, or the “Top of the Mind.” Therefore, if you like any of my material on how to access this clear, confident, creative part of who we are, just know that the “Four Fold Way” is yet another method of accomplishing this.

~ All the best, Dr. Bill