Using It or Reframing
After the initial shock and stress of the pandemic, it is time for us leaders to start engaging fully with the post-pandemic world—for there are tougher and hitherto unprecedented challenges on the near horizon. They cannot be ignored. The planet, and her people, cannot wait.
This is a very powerful tool that allows us to instantly enjoy more empowering and inspirational experiences everyday. When we reframe something we take what we might have felt was a ‘negative’ experience and turn it into a positive one by using it for our development, growth and long-term fulfilment.
This coaching tool is particularly good when we have exhausted all the means at our disposal to solve an issue in our life (by asking Breakthrough Questions) but it is still bothering us.
Rather than solve the challenge and making the issue disappear as we do so, we see the situation through a different frame. In other words, we reframe it like we would a picture or photo, changing how we feel about it in the process. The moment we change the frame, our experience of the issue changes too.
Reframing works because of one essential truth about human beings – we interpret everything that happens in the world through our own perspective, the sum history of our unique upbringing, life events, education and work experiences, as well as the mood we happen to be in that day. And if we choose to change that perspective – learning how to see things in more useful and positive ways – we start to enjoy a very different life.
We are always making up our own version of events. When we see this, when we understand this insight, we are immediately liberated to make up as many different versions of the same event that we want, and choose to believe in the one that works best for us and the people and things we care about.
In other words, we make all our experience of life up anyway – like the movie script of our lives, the movie that we are always starring in – so we might as well make up stuff that helps us enjoy, succeed, learn and grow!
Here’s an example. We miss out on a promotion after a formal review. Yes it hurts. It feels horrible for a bit. We might get a bit upset. But after the initial pain, sadness or surprise we don’t – if we don’t want to – need to get angry and hate the people we work with. We can choose the frame through which to see it. We might choose to see it as a sign to prove that we are determined; or as proof that we are somehow ‘not good enough’. Here are some more examples of what we could choose to see it as:
- My manager is a bad human being – in fact; he/she is evil to the core.
- It is entirely his/her fault – I did everything I could and am blameless for not getting my promotion.
- All managers are idiots – what do they know?
- They didn’t promote me because there is something wrong with me and there always has been.
- I messed it up again – I can never make things work.
- I missed my chance this time, probably but I’m going to see what I could have done differently to succeed next time.
- I know because of this review I have learnt loads about myself and what I need to do to move forward… therefore at some point in the future, I will enjoy successes that I could never have experienced if it wasn’t for the learning hidden within this one setback. At that point I will look back on this experience and be glad that it happened.
Which of these frames is ‘right’? Well, how could we ever know? But which will help us have a more positive, inspirational, or simply more peaceful life? Which would you choose? Which would a creative leader choose?
Now we are all welcome to any frame for any experience. But the smartest people choose the frames that help them to grow, to be free, to be more empowered and ultimately to be happier.
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