Generous Questions

Generous Questions
Photo by Ana Municio / Unsplash

This week, I was speaking with a brilliant client and friend and as we were talking through an issue she's navigating, she asked these three questions of herself:

  1. What does good leadership from me look like here?
  2. What's the most generous interpretation I can make of the people in this situation?
  3. How would I want someone to approach me if the roles were reversed?

Her generous questions reminded me of Alan Seale's DSCO model (introduced to me by Stephanie Marisca - my coach and mentor) which talks about the 4 Levels of Awareness & Engagement. It is as useful in personal relationships and situations as it is in professional ones.

Here's a quick explanation:

We all tend to see situations through 4 lenses: Drama, Situation, Choice, Opportunity (DSCO). The first two is how most of us - and our culture - operate. The second two, requiring awareness and practice, are where transformation lives. Understanding which level you're in allows you to shift from stuck to movement.

D - Drama is the emotional reaction to what is happening. The "he said, she said" cycle. The focus is blame and fault - someone or something is causing our pain, anger or fear. Drama can be fun when venting, but easy to get stuck in a downward spiral. There's no learning, no movement forward. Over time, staying here is exhausting and disempowering.

S - Situation lens arises when emotions are less heightened. This is the "fix it" level. The focus is on damage control - how quickly can we fix the problem and get back to normal. This level is useful during crisis or emergency situations. But it can lead to "sweeping things under the rug" because it's short term thinking - there's no focus on learning and addressing underlying issues. Not surprisingly, staying here results in repeated patterns.

C - Choice is a shift in consciousness, awareness. Here, we ask ourselves, without blame or guilt, who we are and want to be within this situation. "What's my role in what's happening? What's my role in how this situation came to be? How do I choose to engage going forward?" We recognize we may not be able to change the circumstances right away, but we choose how we show up to them. Here is where we break patterns and create possibility for something new.

O - Opportunity is where we choose to find purpose in what is or has happened. Instead of looking to solve the problem, we ask ourselves what message is this problem/situation/circumstance telling us? There is an opportunity waiting to be seen, a potential trying to unfold. As we recognize potential and move toward it, pain eases, perspective expands and transformation occurs.

Ready for a brain twist? Sometimes, the bigger the drama, the greater the opportunity. 🤯 Drama may be the wake up call that something needs to change.

Only by acknowledging where we are can we choose to move towards where - and who - we truly want to be.

Here's a downloadable pdf with a fuller description 👇.