• Kelly Christopher

The Appreciation Inquiry: When human systems work at there best.

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

After a difficult 2020 that brought uncertainty, upheaval, change, stress, anxiety, fatigue and expansive transitions - many of the conversations I have had with clients, family, friends & even myself have been around focusing on positive purpose, intention, commitment and action. With the Chinese New Year being the year of the Metal Ox, and the upcoming full moon in Virgo – on the 27th February, which presents us with an opportunity to set & establish our goals & visions. I have become particularly drawn to the Appreciative Inquiry: “In essence AI is the study and exploration of what gives life to human systems when they function at their best”.

Appreciation: To appreciate – to recognize the best in people, or the world around us.

Inquiry: To inquire is to ask questions, a hunger for discovery.

Wholeness: Knowing the best ideas come from unexpected places.

The Appreciative Inquiry draws our attention to exploring strengths that already exist, both internally and externally. Adopting this approach can lead to extraordinary performance as it reinforces the relationship with the self and others, and helps to create a common vision and direction, putting energy into action.

The AI process follows four distinct phases:

• Discovery: You explore the best of what is, exploring your strengths. (Reflective practice)

• Dream: You envision the future you really want (What could be)

• Design: Continuing from your vision you design your future (Design a plan to solve your challenges)

• Destiny: Putting your visions into action (A Creative power/Process)

The benefits of clarity:

A clear goal energies us, supports us in persevering when things get difficult, a clear goal serves as a motivator and helps hold us accountable for what we have deemed important.

How can we apply these lessons to our lives right now? Here are some suggestions:

1) Cultivate a possibility mindset

2) Be positive

3) Visualise

4) Make your goals SMART.

1) Cultivate a Possibility Mindset:

Learn how to cultivate a mindset that focuses on positive thinking. Try asking yourself these questions:

  • - What is possible if…?

  • - I wonder if I could…?

  • What could be possible if I?

Let yourself be open to all possibilities.

2) Be Positive!

Always focus on the energy you want to bring into your life! Rather than focusing on the energy you don’t want.

3) Create a powerful vision

Visualise the future you want by visualising each step. Vision boards are a great way to remind ourselves of our goals and where we want to be!

4) Use SMART goals:

· Specific (simple, significant)

· Measurable (motivating)

· Achievable (attainable)

· Relevant (resourced)

· Time-bound (timely)

“ You were born with potential you were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideas and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You were not meant for crawling. So don’t. You have wings. Learn how to use them & fly”.


Let yourself be curious dare to dream! What future can you imagine for yourself this year?

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