During the European Summer of 2022, I spent some time in the Netherlands where I was invited by Joep de Jong to be interviewed for a short film that focuses on the discovery of self. A filmmaker well-known for his work and expertise in Appreciative Leadership, Joep suggested a free-flowing conversation, one that would develop organically. The result was a welcomed exploration into how each person is a story interconnecting with the stories of others, and how Appreciative Inquiry (AI) encourages my personal understanding of these connections. Ultimately, I felt reassured that the more we understand our own story and the things that stir our curiosity, the more likely we will be to recognise all that emerges to liberate who we truly are.
Keith Storace | Australia
Keith Storace manages a private practice at Kiku Imagination where he applies the Appreciative Dialogue (ApDi) therapy program to assist individuals move toward, strengthen, and enjoy what is meaningful while dealing with the challenges they encounter along the way.
Many AI practitioners I have spoken with over the years describe their introduction to AI as a kind of homecoming, where they feel a deep sense of connection. I am always intrigued to learn more about their story and how their sense of connection is often a re-connection to something that has remained meaningful to them. I refer to this re-connection as “appreciative beginnings”, those moments in our early history where we experience a feeling of bliss usually connected to something that we find deeply meaningful.
I use the term “appreciative” in three ways: as acknowledgement of what has brought us joy and what inspired curiosity at such an early time in our lives; how this combination of joy and curiosity continues to hold meaning for us to the present day; and as recognition of how our embrace of Appreciative Inquiry has been influenced by appreciative beginnings.
Since commencing as editor of Voices from the Field in 2016 for the AI Practitioner journal, certain aspects of every article written for the column by AI practitioners across the globe can be traced back to each author’s appreciative beginnings. For them, AI has been a bridge between what matters most and bringing it to life in the world. It’s the depth of meaning their work holds for them that is a manifestation of the ripple effect set in motion by those early days of joy and curiosity, a pivotal aspect of self-discovery that eventually leads to good work.
Appreciative Inquiry is a promise, a process and way of life that continues to move each of us along the good side of human history. It embraces, ponders, and elevates us to the reality that we are connected – we are each other – and together we have what it takes to co-create a future that is best for all life on this planet.
Joep C. de Jong has filmed over 70 conversations elaborating on the power, validity, strength, and truth of Appreciative Inquiry. Reflections on the Discovery of Self is available on vimeo, along with a list of other conversations, each one a unique and inspiring story revealing what is possible.
Intro by Keith Storace
The final article is one I was invited to write following a short film created by Joep C. de Jong where he interviewed me while I was in the Netherlands in 2022. In Reflections on the Discovery of Self, I was encouraged to explore questions on the emerging self, Appreciative Inquiry, and the Inner Child.