Hope and Change

filed under Behavior Change, Diversity Leadership.

“What are the parts of yourself you are willing to give up in order to be who you wish you were?”

Think about this question. Maybe jot down an answer.

yoga illustration sm copyYoga instructor Hope Allred posed this question to her class in Ogden, Utah last January. Each class participant answered differently, and not just because they would or would not change different things. It was as if each person heard a different question.

In fact, they might as well have. Each of us perceives the world through filters of our predispositions (what we come with) and our experiences (what we learn). An internal model of our personal world builds over time. We form ideas, associations, identities and cultures that influence our perceptions.

To get a quick sense of what happened in Hope’s class, read her question several times and emphasize a different word or phrase each time. For examples:

  • What ARE the parts of yourself you are willing to give up in order to be who you wish you were?
  • What are the PARTS of yourself you are willing to give up in order to be who you wish you were?
  • What are the parts of YOURSELF you are willing to give up in order to be who you wish you were?

Keep going. Take time to emphasize other important words like YOU, WILLING, GIVE UP and WISH. How do your answers to the question change each time?

To add to the complexity, people had unique associations with different aspects of this question. Some thought of physical parts of themselves. Others went elsewhere. One person was looking forward to an impending change. Another was dreading one. Someone had to adapt to a challenge presented by a loved one. Someone else heard the question through the filter of having been pressed to change to suit a parent’s purpose. In Hope’s class, a few of us heard words that weren’t even part of the question – and we answered in ways that were completely surprising.

Hope asked the class to assume more and more difficult yoga positions. She carefully drew attention back to the question: what parts of ourselves were we willing to give up in order to be who we wished we were? Caution? Habit? Belief? Disbelief? Fear? More? People in the class began to do things they had not done before, and had not thought they could do.

Making a Change

Before this experience, I had been hoping to make a change. I was examining my approach to the work of diversity, inclusion and equity. I wanted to step outside the boundaries of familiar ways of thinking – and of my own culture. Sometimes, though, it seems the more we need creative time, the harder it is to take it. I also had both excitement and trepidation in facing the unknown, alone.  So many habits and patterns of thinking kick in when considering change.

After the class, I bought an airplane ticket to Ecuador.IMG_0054 - Customs Figure SM

Change is hard. Even if it is eagerly anticipated, it is uncomfortable to take a risk; to let go, do things differently and form new habits. Organizational change may seem different than personal change. Yet both require awareness, careful questioning, preparation and commitment. Both involve human behavior and the workings of the human heart.


Jody Alyn works with organizations that want to bridge gaps, solve complex problems effectively and improve results. Contact

6 Responses to “Hope and Change”

  1. Hope


    This is beautiful. We were blessed to have you in our warm and loving class on that cold winter day. I am delighted that you challenged yourself to hear and feel so many things that your highest self wanted to show you. Knowing that every person in the room has such a unique experience demonstrates to me that our lives are dynamic and dynamically influenced by each other. We can choose to make changes that bring us into greater harmony, choose to hold patterns of integrity as well as everything in between. Each path is unique, and yet they all run together. How can that be?

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Jody Alyn

    Thank you for writing, Hope, and for your kind words. And do you love the pose held by the Ecuadorian customs logo?

  3. Ann

    I’ve been looking for a place to leave this comment for you…and I don’t see an introductory post, so thought this might be the best spot, since I love your message of ‘Hope and Change’. I’ve enjoyed exploring your website, and I can see that it is indeed a delicate balance to write a personal experience blog on a professional content website, but with that said, I think you’ve done a wonderful job! It’s clear to me that your business success comes from your ability to assess a client situation with a partnership between thoughtful consideration and skill. Being a good listener is a critical component of your tool set, and in my mind, that’s what has given you the ability to be open-minded, to explore new horizons and consider perspectives that may not have been in your comfort zone before. Experience is what shapes our opinions and forms our values. Although you and I are not always perfectly aligned in our perspectives, we are thinking very similarly on some very important and sometimes timely topics. I feel like I’m with a good friend here as I read your blog posts. Thank you for taking the time to reach out. I hope we can stay connected going forward!

  4. Jody Alyn

    Ann – Thank you for taking time to read my blog, explore my website and share your valuable insights. The key to the work I do is, indeed, in listening – and sometimes in finding similarities of thought. From there, different perspectives may enrich one another, and may lead to solutions or ideas that haven’t previously been considered. Thank you again for this wonderful comment.

  5. Harlan Didrickson

    Hi Jody!

    Firstly, GREAT name; yours that is. Two monosyllabic words;easy to say and easy to recall; you might develop a brand around your name.

    Secondly, mixing personal and business is a bit like vinegar and oil: it’ll blend for a moment or two, but then each takes itself out of the forced blend. Some people WANT to mix personal and business (which you want to do, right? If you don’t, or you think it’s a profitable business idea, your readers will sense it quickly). A lot of folks want/hope/need to keep business and personal apart. For them the edges of each ALWAYS blend together, with personal being trumped by business.

    I have found the greatest success in my writing when I use personal stories and subtly infuse parallel business experience (or any point your trying to make) and trust the readership’s intellect to connect the dots. Because it’s really about YOU giving THEM tools, or stopping just short of the trailhead and inviting them to go alone.

    I’m certainly no expert in business, but I am independent and my most beloved mentors were those that “Let me in.”

    Good Luck!

  6. Jody Alyn

    Thanks for your comment, Harlan. Vinegar and oil is a good analogy for blending the personal and the professional in writing. It’s not easy, you have to keep stirring – but then the salad dressing, when made well, tastes so much better than either vinegar or oil alone!

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