The act of declaring is a powerful one that empowers us to say what we want. It also sets into motion actions and mindsets to get there. The Declaration of Independence was the first formal statement by the founders of the United States in asserting their right to choose their own government.
A declaration is impactful. When you choose to declare something you are stating to yourself and to the world that you aim to achieve something new that is important to you. A declaration can get your mind and your intent clarified and focused on the changes needed in your life right now to manifest whatever you desire.
In mid-June 1776, a five-person committee including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin was tasked with drafting a formal statement of the colonies’ intentions. The Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence—written largely by Jefferson—in Philadelphia on July 4, a date now celebrated as the birth of American independence.
Over the years, this singular pronouncement has paved the way for increasingly progressive declarations. Since 1865, Juneteenth has been commemorating the declaration of African American freedom and is now an official holiday, celebrating education and achievement in the community. Beginning in 1970, Pride Month declares the rights of the LGBT+ to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of persecution.
Declarations can be helpful to remind you of what you want to achieve, give you energy as you work toward your goals and empower you to be resilient as you work through challenges. Following are examples of declarations clients have made:
• I will have dinner with my family every night as the rule and not the exception
• My voice matters and I will share it in our management meetings
• I will stand up for inclusion and make sure all the voices are heard in our staff meetings
• I will stop checking emails after 7 p.m. and will set this tone with my team
As coaches, we can ask questions that enable clients to declare something they want. In reference to the ICF Core Competencies, this would contribute to Evokes Awareness, which is defined as “facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy.” When you challenge the client as a way to evoke awareness or insight, you can ask questions about the client, such as their way of thinking, values, needs, wants and beliefs.
When the client feels strongly about something, exploring declarations can be a way to help the client explore beyond current thinking.
If a client has a lot of energy around a new action or way of thinking, you can invite the client to generate ideas about how they can move forward and what they are willing or able to do and a declaration may be a part of that.
In the months ahead, think about which areas of your life deservedeclarations. Would you like to be more resilient (I will stay centered in the midst of our usual chaos),have more self-care (I will become a great tennis player and will prioritize it in my life), family time (I will walk with my spouse every other day) or health conscious (I will have dessert once a week).
May you all be in good health and may you make and realize the declarations that are of utmost importance to you!
Shahrzad Sherry Nooravi, PsyD, MCC
President, ICF San Diego