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For this issue of Transformation Magazine, I asked several brilliant and accomplished people, “Is Identity Expansion possible? Based on your actual experience, the question is, “if it was your job to “expand identity” what would be the principles from which you would operate?” This could be examples and stories when you have personally experienced or observed “identity expansion” in your own work, political, social or family lives. The questions are “what happened, what stimulated it and what principles might be derived from the experience.”
Often, in coaching others and groups, the ultimate obstacle proved to be their own identity, either the coach or the person(s) being coached. At it’s core, identity seemed made of concrete and unmovable. In his remarkable new book, “Negotiating the Non Negotiable,” my colleague, Daniel Shapiro, Founder and Director of the Harvard International Negotiation Project, refers to “relational identity” as the greatest barrier in conflict resolution and meaningful progress in many personal and collective efforts to resolve conflict or change. Identity is who a person or a group believes they really are, who they consider themselves to be, and what they consider themselves not to be. Identity is a state or fact of remaining the same under varying conditions: It’s the character of who a person group is; the qualities and beliefs. In coaching, organizational development, personal development, politics, mediation, conflict resolution, International disputes, relationships and sustainable change, the inability to expand identity seems to be a major cork in the human bottle, or a path to ineffectiveness and possibly extinction.
In this issue, we explore what is, what’s been possible and are there reasons for hope.
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