As a new cycle begins, we feel the urge to create a fresh Myth or story to help us to turn the page on the past. In doing so we can take advantage of what Katie Milkman, professor at The Wharton School of Business and creator of the Choiceology podcast, calls the “fresh start effect.”
Her research suggests that the best time to break the status quo and create new habits is during key temporal moments, such as the start of the new year, a holiday, birthday, job or month. Tapping into times associated with change increases our ability to create a new story.
In Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC™), myth does not mean an untruth. It is used in the same way that Joseph Campbell uses this word in The Hero’s Journey, indicating the deep meaning within relationships. Alternative words can shape our story, narrative or perception of how things have been.
As systems undergo an identity crisis during a myth change, they will need help to stabilize. An entirely new myth, story or narrative may be required. When an existing story is no longer working, we can reshape it collectively through relationships - envisioning who we are together. Tools like myth change can enable these conversations and help formulate the new creation of what is possible for the relationship we want now.
The ORSC Original Myth tool offers a powerful way to support a couple or team in reconnecting with the essence and dream of their origin story. An original myth is our shared story about our earliest experiences together. Every important relationship has a shared story about how the partnership came to be. Reflecting on these early experiences is a powerful way to increase positivity and remind us what is important about this connection.
Myths have arcs. As we grow, major life transitions occur, roles we occupy in the relationship change, or we have a reduced sense of fulfillment. Any of these can trigger a myth change. It is normal, as an old story is outgrown and a new myth prepares to emerge. For instance, empty nesters share an original myth about how they first became a couple, then shifted to become parents. As their children leave home, they find themselves in a myth change about who they were together and who they now want to be.
Not only does the ORSC Myth Change tool provide a way to honor or grieve the old myth, it also helps to form the new story that the relationship and team wants to generate. This conscious focus on creating the new story of how we want to be together can be leveraged in all of our important relationships.
Events impacting our political and social systems in the United States mean that we are currently in an arc that will create a myth change for many. One of the principles of Relationship Systems Intelligence (RSI) is that systems are in a constant stage of emergence.
As systems navigate certain types of emergence, they undergo an inevitable identity crisis while navigating the myth change. When this happens, systems need help to stabilize. An entirely new myth, story or narrative may be required.
Only through relationships - in weaving the “we-ness” of who we are collectively - can we be successful in creating something new together. Myth Change and similar ORSC tools can enable these conversations, helping to formulate what is possible for the relationship we desire now.
With each fresh start, we each have an opportunity to consciously create a new chapter in our relationships and life. The canvas is blank, and empty pages are just waiting to be filled with what is possible going forward.
What will your new myth be?
To hear more about Myth Change, please listen and subscribe to CRR Global’s podcast Relationship Matters, hosted by Katie Churchman. In Episode 10, Floyd discusses Myth Change with Katie.
ORSC Path: Vision and Potential™ incorporates the Myth Change tool in exploring how to create and achieve a shared vision. Learn more about ORSC Path.
Floyd Carlson, a faculty member with CRR Global USA who uses ORSC and RSI principles, tools and skills to support clients in tackling the most common ailments plaguing personal and professional relationships.
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