[from book part 7 – APPRECIATE YOUR SELF]

When we designed and developed our AI100 learning journey, we wanted to pay equal attention to our three main threads; AI as an organizational change method, AI as high quality relational practice and AI as a basic belief system. After providing the basic picture of all this, we would proceed with the course on four advanced modules, focussing on ‘mastery’ of the ‘I’, the ‘You’, the ‘We’ and the ‘They’.

You just entered the chapter around mastering the self; ‘your self’ that is. The ancient Greeks already told us that we should get to know ‘our self’. This is not always so obvious, according to the following example.

The founders of a Dutch initiative called CRKL.nl, aiming to provide a ‘safe intervision haven’ for professionals in the public sector, invited me to facilitate one of the CRKL-series. The general subject was Talent Management. My suggestion to follow the steps of AI was embraced and during the first group meeting, we co-created a suitable ‘affirmative topic’. In the second Discovery session, a few weeks later, I asked the participants to share a specific talent, or personal strength. At some point, one of the participants asked me why we were presenting our own talents. Referring to the subject Talent Management, she expected to discuss the ‘how to’ regarding the talents in her own organization. I understood that I failed to explain the why behind our exercise and I told her that it was my assumption that if we are to ‘manage talents’, it would be a good idea to experience how it feels when your own talents are being ‘assessed’. She fully agreed. Everyone agreed to proceed with the meeting accordingly.

In the process of learning, especially in social skills development, we often encounter a paradox; we want to develop social skills to ‘apply’ to others, but we have to make sure we ‘apply’ them first to ourselves to experience the possible effects. (But practising a skill on yourself is not the same as practising it on another.) Within the category of learning objectives, practising Appreciative Inquiry is of a special nature. According to the above, we have to ‘apply’ AI to ‘our selves’. And if we do – for AI is a strength developing approach – we will develop.

The rhetorical question sounds like this: “Can we study, can we inquire our self? Because, by all means, when we inquire our self, this inquiry is performed by our self.”

Furthermore, considering the fact that we change all the time – and therefore develop constantly –  we must conclude that we are already in the process of becoming. The question could be: “How do we master this?” Another question could be: “Why bother?” In his book The Craftsman, Richard Sennett describes craftsmanship as ‘doing things well, just for the sake of it’. Would that be a satisfying answer?


Are you interested in investigating your inner belief system, your ground state?

What do you know already about yourself and what would you like to develop, if possible?

Would you be so kind to rely on your positive core?


You’ve just read one of the 100 chapters of my book Appreciative Inquiries of the 3.0 Kind. Find out more (and a special pre-ordering offer) on www.appreciativeinquiries.eu