The Sensitivity Cycle Part 2: Insight
Editor’s Note: This is the second of a five-part series examining the Sensitivity Cycle, and how to use the cycle to overcome resistance and the dreaded feeling of being stuck. To read the first part, click here.
One of the most powerful aspects of the Sensitivity Cycle, developed by Ron Kurtz as an aspect of the Hakomi Method, is that once a person recognizes barriers in one of the four areas, this awareness brings new clarity in moving through life.
While the Sensitivity Cycle equally acknowledges four areas – Insight, Action, Nourishment and Rest + Reflection – Insight is one where I find myself often starting with clients.
Insight is about making space for clarity, and serves as the necessary information-gathering phase in the cycle. Rather than give a formal explanation of Insight, how it manifests and what problems arise when there is a barrier, I’ll share a personal story.
Working as an investment banker in my 20s, I was by many measurements really successful. But I was quickly burning out, exhausted, and not having fun. I did not enjoy my career.
A go-to phrase of mine back then when someone asked me what my long-term plans were was, “I don’t plan anything beyond the next 6 months.” This was true, as my life was so random-feeling and fast-paced that I just couldn’t see beyond that time frame. What I didn’t understand though was that I had no vision - no deep sense of insight - for what I wanted out of my career, relationships, and my life.
I was pretty much driving with my hands off the wheel. Reacting, responding, nose-to-the-grindstone….with no idea what I was aiming at. My life was so focused on busily (and sometimes frantically) working away that my internal Sensitivity Cycle was completely broken down. And as a result I had no guiding vision for where I was heading.
Guess what happened as a result of that?
Well, when the time came to step up my career game and get promoted, I suspect the people tasked with determining if I was the right person for the higher set of responsibilities and compensation could pretty easily see my lack of vision and commitment to a future path within the company. I did not get that promotion. It was devastating.
When someone is struggling to find their life’s purpose, or the mission behind their work, oftentimes it’s Insight that’s blocked within their internal Sensitivity Cycle. They haven’t taken the time to see the bigger purpose because they’ve been so focused on the grind. I see this happen, especially, among corporate executives; they work so hard, for so many years, only to question later why they’re doing it in the first place. The imbalances within the Sensitivity Cycle break the system down and disallow that vision of “Why?” and deep sense of purpose to arise.
The story I told about myself above fits this profile perfectly. I was a problem solver. I was a hard worker. These qualities, as you may guess, are ones that can lead a person to become successful in a corporate environment. However, in order to feel like my work was meaningful back then, I needed to understand how to break down barriers to create more insight.
Another simple way to think about Insight is to think about a time when you were hungry. Instead of eating whatever is available, Insight is taking a moment to understand specifically what you’re hungry for. You listen to your body. You think about the last time you felt this way. Your mind can run through different food ideas until one sounds satisfying.
Then, using this Insight, you take action. Without Insight, you might mindlessly eat or make a decision based on impulse. In an extreme version, you might just choose not to eat at all.
The trick about building Insight, or any of the four areas in the Sensitivity Cycle, is to practice. Once you have an awareness of your growth edges, take time to practice the areas you may skip over, especially during times of stress. As it relates to Insight, be aware of times where you jump from rest immediately into action.
If you are a person who knows Insight is your personal growth edge in the Sensitivity Cycle, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, share a little bit about yourself, and I will send you one personalized tip you can apply to your life right now.