Interruptions that require a reorientation to the future are a natural part of life. The universe and life are so huge and beyond us that we can never control life, nature, and the flow of the universe. But, what we do with these interruptions determines our power to create our future.

We’ve used the name of “breakdown” for these interruptions. Our use of the term “breakdown” has a different meaning than the mainstream understanding – a breakdown for us is not just a problem or negative event to fix. Rather, it is a moment of an interruption of our “transparent flow” in life that must be coped with and where we see we must choose our response. It is where the previously expected future “breaks down” and reveals a new future. It’s like a curtain that has been opened to a new view, and we may like the view or not.

There is a skill in dealing with breakdowns and producing positive results with them. This skill of addressing a breakdown and creating a new future – rather than contracting into resignation, fear, or tolerating it – is an act that creates a commitment to take care of the breakdown with further action. It is initiated with the act of “declaring the breakdown.” Some people see broken situations and never speak up. Others say “let’s do something about this.”

When we’re no longer satisfied with the future that we’re moving into, either individually or with a group, we can change our actions in order to create a new path to the future. We do so by creating an interruption in the current flow, or drift, by “declaring a breakdown,” and creating the assessment that the current actions must be changed for a new future.

Here’s the basic structure of the breakdown and actions that we can take to cope and respond:

  • Old Flow – we are in our automatic, transparent, embodied practice in life Interruption that requires coping arises
  • Breakdown – the assessment of positive or negative consequences and the need to respond
  • Standard response – automatic responses and practices – from paralysis to standard actions


  • Declare the Breakdown – make a generative declaration to pay attention and act

Pay attention to your network of help and asking for help, looking for equipment, and managing your prior commitments

  • Manage the Breakdown – organize and design coping actions for new possibilities both individually, or in teams, organizations, or communities; you may design, invent, or innovate for new value
  • Resolve the Breakdown – from our conversations in managing the breakdown we achieve the state of clear commitment to actions for going forward
  • New Flow – we are in new commitments and a new flow to the future, no longer in a breakdown

We’ll complete the conversation for “Creating Breakdowns” in a following post.

If you’re committed to making a difference, and what you’re learning here is relevant to the skills that you want to develop for your leadership or coaching, you can learn these skills and much more in the Foundations of Generative Leadership workshop.