Problems or Patterns?

I recently had the opportunity to curl up on the couch for a morning and read  The Seer by David Robinson; it was an enlightening, thought-provoking book. The subtitle alone gives you a sense of the scope of the content.

My first surprise was how recently this book was published (2014) and the second was that the forward was written by Alan Seale from The Center for Transformational Presence. (How have I missed this gem before now and why didn’t I recognize that familiar voice in the introduction?) 🙂 It was a comfortable read; familiar concepts presented in a way I had never considered.

The nugget of the book for me (spoiler alert!) was the idea of recognizing and mastering the ability to see patterns. As an entrepreneur and an artist, I am constantly scanning my surroundings for inspiration and musing on possibilities. Robinson suggests that by intentionally observing and breaking patterns we create opportunities to reflect on new potential, rather than ruminating on existing issues. (Wow – that statement woke me up!)  So often, my coaching clients open a session with a “So, I have this problem…” and I have to admit, even in my own life, my default is to jump into brainstorming and strategize a solution. This book made me stop and take notice.

What if there were patterns to observe, rather than problems to solve?

THAT shifts my perspective in a big way! All of a sudden the judging, critiquing and bullying falls away when I am simply looking for a familiar format. Putting my own actions and intentions in the limelight to simply observe them – to see the commonalities, the synchronicities, the threads that link them together – is novel. When I take the time to reflect in this way, I  notice that rather than launching myself into brainstorming a grocery-list of ways to “fix” something I thought was broken, I am able to simply change direction and move towards something that can serve me better.

In David Robinson’s own words:

To recap: the path to an entrepreneurial mindset is through the mastery of pattern recognition and metaphor. Mastery is made possible through two simple actions: intentional pattern breaking and a reflective practice. It’s a feedback loop.

(I will leave you pondering his comment on metaphor. It’s worth seeking out the book to find out first-hand!)

And, I invite you to notice how often the word “problem” pops up in conversation this week. Is there a pattern emerging?


What might I see if I stopped doing what I’m doing and just looked for patterns? Where are the patterns in my life? What could I do to alter the pattern or create a new pattern? 


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