Bill Fox helps people and organizations see their situation from a higher perspective, so they can become more aware of possibilities that help them get unstuck. He brings an authentic and energetic presence that triggers people and organizations to collaborate and co-create more fully in an emergent field. The result is the dawning of an ever spiraling upward cycle of more truth, love and innovation. He is the founder and co-creator of Higher Perspective Tools, Fox High Perspective and 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success. Bill may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and twitter name @billfoxstrategy For more information on Bill visit www.higherperspectivetools.com
My question for him today is: Bill, how do you know when you can trust yourself?
That’s a profound question, Ann. For me, it’s a feeling inside. It’s a feeling in the heart. It’s a place where I’ve learned to go to trust myself. It’s a place where we can all feel from inside, but we often don’t pay attention to it.
The best way that I can possibly explain it is by giving some examples. The first time I remember trusting myself in a big way I was in third grade. This goes way back a way, so you know it was a big thing.
My elementary school had too many students. They were looking for volunteers go to a school in another town. Can you imagine asking a third grader to make a decision like that?
Anyway, I still remember an intense feeling inside of me that wanted to say yes even though I was probably the shyest and least likely person to do so. But I went with it, I said YES! Even though I was scared and the first few weeks were difficult, the result was an opportunity to undergo enormous personal change and growth. There’s no question in my mind that it fully impacts who I am being today.
Ann: You said, “I learned to go inside. I learned to go into my heart.” How did you learn?
Bill: I think it is something we all know how to do, Ann. We do it naturally when we are young, but our culture teaches us to use more of our brain instead of our heart. You can choose to tune into it more closely or ignore it.
I think there have been many times certainly when I have not paid attention to it. But, over and over again, I’ve learned that when I trust that feeling inside and decide to act upon it and trust that there is nothing to fear, magic always shows up. It always helps me expand and takes me to a place I never could have imagined.
Ann: Have you many examples like that Bill?
Bill: Probably one of the most significant examples occurred on September 11, 2001. I was overwhelmed with an intense desire to fulfil my dream to learn how to fly. This might seem like an odd thing to feel in relation to those circumstances, but that is what I truly felt. Something inside was telling me that if this is the type of world we live in, I am going to live my life more fully and ignore any fears that were stopping me.
Before 9/11, learning how to fly a small plane seemed very risky. I remember approaching it several times, but each time an accident would show up in the news. My passion was sidelined once again. But now I was feeling that my world was suddenly a much riskier place than I had imagined. I knew immediately that I needed to go flying. Within days I contacted the flight school and signed up. A couple of months later I was in ground school and started taking flight lessons.
Now I can look back on that decision and see that it has had a profound impact on my life. When I got up in the air, I immediately felt I was in a place that felt like home. I fell in love with the higher perspective view of the world visible from the cockpit. It’s a much more expansive view than you can see from the small window flying as a passenger in an airliner. So I started photographing what I was seeing and feeling, so I could share it with others. It started to impact how I approached my work, which then impacted others.
Now it’s tightly integrated into everything I do in so many different ways.
Ann: You had always been interested in flying, isn’t that true?
Bill: Yes, I believe I was born with a passion to fly and observe the world from above. Whenever I hear or see a plane, I look up; always. It’s pure joy for me to go to the airport simply to watch planes take off and land. I receive energy and excitement there. It’s a place where I feel fully alive.
Ann: So the events of 9/11 triggered you to do something you were passionate about, is that right?
Bill: Yes it did. I realized it was a significant trigger, but I didn’t appreciate how events like this might be in triggering personal change and transformation. Recently while reading Synchronicity by Joseph Jaworski, I learned how the Watergate scandal triggered big changes in his life.
Ann: Say more about the fact that it’s a triggering event.
Bill: It has been my experience and observation that we need an event to trigger us. Something to cause us to look inside; something to cause us to trust our own inner knowing. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves more often, “How can we be the trigger for ourselves and others to serve the highest and best interests of all?”
Ann: Is there something you’re feeling as we speak that’s inspiring you now?
Bill: I’m feeling I should show up in a bigger, more visible way with the changes that are ongoing for me. I don’t know precisely how to do that, but I have a feeling and I know things are unfolding for that to happen. I’m also feeling it’s something I need to co-create with others and the universe guiding me. I feel like I’m being led to that decision point.
Ann: Is there a trigger or event that’s bringing you to that decision point or is it something else?
Bill: I’m wondering that, too. I do have a sense that there’s going to be a triggering event.
Ann: I know you have been making changes and living differently. On a practical level, what difference does it make to your work with organizations that you are trusting yourself more now?
Bill: That’s a great question, Ann. The difference it makes in my life is that I speak amore authentically when I meet people in the workplace or anywhere. Many people are frustrated and not feeling good about themselves or their situation. They don’t trust what they are feeling inside to make a change. They are bottling it up and suffering as a result. They have the answer. They are hiding it from themselves and everyone else.
I try to have an authentic conversation with people. I help them see what they are denying themselves and help them get in touch with what they are feeling inside. I share my story of how I allowed myself to say what I was feeling inside. It changed everything.
The result wasn’t rejection and mediocrity, but a new life of amazing synchronicity, magic and flow. They’re suffering because they’re not fully contributing all they have to offer. They fear speaking out about the change that’s needed because they feel they might be singled out. They fear speaking their truth because they could be fired or marginalized. The difference it makes for me now is I have no fear about speaking that truth as I see it and feel it.
Ann: Do you impact people in organizations differently from the way you did before?
Ann: In what way?
Bill: This is still evolving, but I see it occurring in a couple ways. One way is that I’m sharing more of my authentic self with people. That helps other people do that too. It allows them to speak their truth more fully.
Another way is that most improvement initiatives are a packaged solution of practices or methods that people are expected to use and follow. Now I talk a lot more about expanding their awareness to consider other solutions and to trust their own ideas and knowledge.
It’s not about doing something everyone else is doing. That frequently doesn’t work out and if it does, it doesn’t last. Many organizations keep repeating one failed transformation initiative after another. This repeating pattern of failure was what triggered my intention to impact it.
Ann: That’s interesting. So basically you’re saying that when you show up and are more authentic, people in organizations tell you that they want to change but feel stuck. So how does Bill Fox trigger their authenticity or their own self trust? What is your approach?
Bill: My experience so far is that being present with people in an authentic way, speaking my truth allows the other person to go to the same place. I’ve met and talked with many people where I’ve had that type of interaction. I’m continually surprised at what comes up and equally they’re surprised and shocked with what they’re sharing with me as well. I believe that being this type of presence starts to bring about this type of change.
Ann: The question is though, do they trust themselves just with you, or do you think that they can actually go back in to their organizations and trust themselves to act differently?
Bill: It’s my hope that it’s having an impact and will allow them to change, and I’ve seen it to some degree, but I don’t have enough data points to track it that closely to know for sure. My sense is it is having an impact.
One thing that has happened repeatedly since I started the Five Minutes to Process Improvement Success Interview series has been the number of people that reach out and connect with me because something about the interviews resonates. This usually leads to a conversation that they’re frustrated, they want to make a difference, and they feel like they’re stuck.
Oftentimes they’re looking for a position somewhere else where their talents will be recognized and they can make a bigger contribution. I share my story in the hope that they’ll look right where they are to begin the change. The situation exists almost everywhere. They won’t find the answer somewhere else. They need to find it inside themselves.
Ann: What do you mean by being authentic?
Bill: Authentic, for me, means being genuine, speaking truth, and speaking from the heart. It means there are no hidden agendas. It means allowing whatever is there to come up to come out, even though I may be fearful.
When you speak from that place of trust, it truly does create connection and allow miracles to occur.
Ann: Is this more about, self-trust, knowing when to trust yourself?
Bill: Yes, yes; absolutely.
Ann: Is it any different from the trigger events you’ve had, such as having an honest conversation with somebody or deciding I’m going to fly?
Bill: I think that’s a fascinating insight, Ann. In fact, I think it’s a profound insight because what I’m feeling is, it’s the same. Yes. I’m really feeling that.
Ann: It’s like a moment by moment thing, isn’t it?
Bill: Yes, it is; like right now.
Ann: Is it possible then that with every step you take, there’s a question. Can I trust myself here or not perhaps without you being conscious of it?
Bill: There is definitely a question. I saw it really take form when I made the decision to start the interview series. It started with a frustration about a project I was helping to manage and lead. When the project came to sudden end after so many of us had worked so hard and put our hearts and souls into it. I just asked a simple question, “How can I have an impact?” I had no idea how. It just became a question and an intention, “How can I have an impact?”
That question led me to making a presentation at a conference followed by asking another question, “What’s next?” That led to the interview series at 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success where I ask experts the question, “What is your best strategy?” The surprising answers that came back led to asking another question, “What does this mean?” Now it’s an ever evolving spiral where the conversation continues to grow and spiral upward. It attracts new and different people with each evolution.
I ask each new group of people attracted to the conversation new questions, I receive a new understanding and share that, which attracts another group of new people.
Ann: So trusting yourself is coming from a place of not knowing?
Bill: Yes. Yes, constantly.
Ann: Not from knowing, but from not knowing.
Ann: That’s where it starts?
Bill: Yes, absolutely. That’s a great insight, too.
Ann: So there’s a not knowing, but there’s a knowing of self. That’s a paradox isn’t it?
Bill: It’s been my fascinating experience that these interviews are a co-creation. I’m getting a message, different from everyone, because it’s co-creation. This is what’s happening here too in this interview. It’s not just you or me, we are influencing each other and new distinctions are discovered.
My experience has shown me that by collaborating and co-creating, we create something even better than we can imagine.
The guide or model I’m using with Five Minutes to Process Improvement Success is speaking out openly against using any methodology or best practice. Use them to inform yourself by all means, but if you really want improvement or change that lasts, the change needs to start with the individual. When it starts there, when they collaborate and co-create with others, they’ll create something even better and better.
Ann: Bill, how do we know we can trust ourselves? What is it all about, really? For you it was a big event like 9/11 or the school but when you get right down to it, trusting or not trusting ourselves is something that challenges us every day.
Bill: Yes, yes.
Ann: Every moment, depending on the moment, depending on how aware we are at a particular time?
Bill: Yes, the big thing that happens, almost daily now, is the people who connect with me out of nowhere.They have different levels of connection and resonance but some of them are profound.
I don’t know how to describe some of the connections. They immediately catalyze an ongoing connection to the heart and then they go beyond that. There’s a magical element where there’s connection and communication going on beyond the words. Sometimes you come up with words or receive words that don’t really make sense in the 3D world, but they are profound.
Ann: So Bill, when you are triggered in some way, you go inside to check out what’s true for you and if it’s ok to take action. This has become almost a daily occurrence for you?
Ann: So, you are living in a question, aren’t you?
Ann: Basically it’s like sitting in a question mark all the time?
Bill: Yes, absolutely!