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Coaching to a Las Vegas State of Mind

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Thus, when visiting or living in Las Vegas, one needs not just temporary states of mind that shift when visiting (or working in) in each of the city’s simulacra. Effective engagement in Las Vegas (and sanity in this community of multiplicity) requires a broader integrating sense of self and a broad system-based appreciation of the contributions being made by each part (each simulacrum) to the whole (the full Las Vegas experience). We would suggest that a similar cognitive and affective challenge awaits all men and women who seek to lead the complex organizations of the 21st Century and who seek out (or should seek out) professional coaching assistance.  As Kegan notes, we are often “in over our heads” and could use some coaching.

Alone Together: Social Media and Identity

Las Vegas is not the only center of simulacra in the United States. We can also point to both Orange County (California) and Orlando (Florida) which are the sites of not only the Disney kingdoms, but also a variety of other “theme parks). One of the theme parks that most poignantly exemplifies the mixing of reality and fantasy is located near Disneyworld in Florida. It is the Animal Kingdom. When the Animal Kingdom opened in Orlando it drew patrons to behold the wonders of nature.  They presented real live animals, and much to their amazement people were dissatisfied with the real.  They did not get to experience all the stereotyped motions and sounds that they expected.  It turns out that reality was not quite that exciting as they wanted it to be.  With the genuine article not meeting their expectations, they clamored for artificial animals that would be more “life like.”

Fleeing to fantasy is nothing new; books have provided this sort of escape for ages.  However, something is different today—especially for young people who are part of the “digital native” generation (rather than those of us who are “digital immigrants” or even “digital recalcitrants”).  As a young person develops, identity is always in competition with the imaginary: the me I wish I were.  In recent decades a cascade of digitally-based social media has created new challenges that the world has never known, challenges that form a lot of questions about how identity development will be affected as a result.  It appears that psychosocial development and social media are impacting on each other to create new concerns for identity development today.

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