Reframing: how can this technique help you?
What is reframing? Reframing is a technique to help you to see things in a different light, which will either support you in feeling more positive, taking action or rising to the challenges that you face.
Just as a picture might look very different if you put it in a different frame, reframing what you are facing can bring about a big shift in how you think, feel and behave.
I was reminded of this the other day when coaching a client who kept on referring to ‘this really daunting list of things to do'. Yes, the reality was that it was a big list of things to do. And having discussed prioritising it, putting it on her computer to make it easier to manage, she still referred to it as ‘really daunting'. I shared with her my experience of a daunting, ‘Really Big List Of Things To Do' which I had before I went to New Zealand to launch my book and have an extended holiday. I was running a course where managers were practising their questioning and coaching skills on me when I had a ‘Eureka moment'. I reframed the list as a ‘really organised and manageable list' and it suddenly seemed very achievable. My client was able to reframe her list and suddenly felt very differently towards it. As, like all of us, her feelings impact on her behaviour and actions, and she instantly felt in a centred place and able to get to work on her ‘really organised and manageable list'.
Is there something that you feel very negative about which would benefit from reframing?
Is reframing just playing around with words? – In a manner of speaking, yes, it is, but it is more than just semantics. What we think and say to ourselves and others has a powerful effect on how we feel, how we behave and ultimately how effective and successful we are in a situation.
In July I mentioned a tender that I am doing this autumn to continue working for a current client. The old frame I had was that it would be ‘labourious, time consuming and almost impossible to win', which of course just made me want to give up. When I reframed it in terms of ‘I am going all out to win this and see what happens', I started to collect information to go in the tender during the summer months, I got organised, and I got going.
The words and language we use have a powerful impact on how we feel and behave. Therefore watch out for what you are saying to yourself about the challenges that you face.
Are you being positive or negative about challenges you face? What is the impact on your behaviour and actions?
If you believe it will work out, you'll see opportunities. If you believe it won't, you'll see obstacles.' Dr Wayne W Dyer
What kinds of things can you reframe? – Here are some examples of my own and from clients:
- Seeing people in a different light - Seeing that the people who are always angry and difficult are probably fearful and hurting.
- Reframing problems - Viewing issues and problems as challenges that we can rise to, that will help us grow and develop, as Richard Bach says below.
- Seeing people's weaknesses as strengths – The person who drives you mad with their perfectionism is going to be a good person to ask to do some proof reading for you.
- Reframing your inner criticisms – I talk about this in my book (page 58 – 61). For example: ‘I'm hopeless at relationships', becomes ‘I really need to learn from my experiences so that I can attract the right person into my life'. Or your inner critic says: ‘You are pathetic, you never see anything through' reframed to ‘Actually that is not true, in the last year I have completed an IT course, taken up running and raised £360 for charity'.
- Constructively handling criticism from others – Again, this is in my book on page 183. If you are either unfairly criticised or let criticism get to you, try reframing what they say. For example: ‘You're so clumsy' reframed to ‘Like everyone, I am only human' or ‘You'll never be able to achieve X', becomes ‘Yes, it certainly will be a challenge to rise to'.
‘There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.' Richard Bach
How can you help others to reframe? – It might be that you have a team member, a friend or family member who is stuck in a pattern of thinking where reframing would assist them. You might want to consider the following:
- Match and pace them – leaping straight in with a reframe probably will wrong foot them, so match where they are at (angry, frustrated, down, etc.) and pace them until they feel comfortable with you and ready to change.
- Ask questions and listen - really understand where they are coming from, what are the real challenges for them, don't just present the problem.
- Model what you mean – if those around you see you reframing issues on a regular basis, they are more likely to follow your lead. Share the benefits of reframing with them.
- Reframe conversationally – do it as a natural part of your conversation.
- Suggest they use the reframe technique – do it explicitly by sharing the technique with them, and helping them to do it.
- Show them this newsletter – Inspire is free, so do pass it onto others, and they can sign up for free on my website (www.grovelands.org.uk).
‘When there's a disappointment, I don't know if it's the end of the story. But it may be just the beginning of a great adventure.' Pema Chodron
For more information about Grovelands visit our website: www.grovelands.org.uk or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or click here to email.