Reframing is a powerful technique in the toolbox of a successful coach but it's also a great tool to help make small changes in our own lives. In this article, we share 5 everyday challenging situations where reframing will help set your mind at ease and align your behaviour with your intention.
Essentially, reframing helps us make a distinction between behaviour and intention. What you do and what you are trying to achieve by doing it might be out of alignment. Many times our behaviour doesn’t help achieve our dreams and desires.
Why does this happen?
We talked about this before but our brain frequently tries to protect us from pain and suffering, no matter how small. It might sense something familiar about the situation, something gets triggered and we go into an automatic behaviour mode. We might emerge from this daze thinking ‘Why did I even do that? It was never my intention to behave like that’.
Sometimes we simply don’t recognise how our behaviour might affect others because we do have the best intentions. For example, a parent might work late to provide more for their family and demonstrate their love for them. On the other side, their family might wish to spend more time with them even if it meant less money spent.
Other times, it can be other’s behaviour that impacts us. An unsupportive boss, seemingly lazy co-workers or crowded public spaces can cause us anxiety or reveal angry feelings and no matter how we ‘try to stay positive’ just doesn’t cut it.
In all these situations, reframing can help set your mind at ease and align your behaviour with your intention.
Reframing is often used by professionals such as coaches and therapists to help their clients achieve the outcomes they desire or get over past trauma. It can be used in conjunction with other tools and techniques but it can also be used as an everyday tool to deal with daily challenges.
Articles about reframing emphasise that it can be one of the best skills to learn and develop as resilient individuals. In fact, stoics built a whole philosophy around it.
When we change our point of view on any given situation, the facts remain the same, but a deliberate shift is made in how we see it.
So how can this be used in everyday situations?
1. Aim for an empathetic work environment
One of the challenges with working in a team is that often our work depends on other people’s work, feedback or approval. And sometimes it might take longer to get it which can lead to stress and anxiety.
“Why does it take so long for them to do the work?”
---> “They are spending time to get this done right, from the start.”
Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that we are all human. Your co-worker might be involved in other projects that the boss asked them to finish or they simply might be overwhelmed with all the work they are currently handling. They might want to give this task their best and that’s why it’s taking longer than you expected. Your boss might have different priorities than you and your approval is further down the task list.
Assumptions can make our lives more difficult than needed, potentially leading down paths of anger and anxiety. Keep in mind that most people start with positive intentions and give your co-workers a break from time to time.
2. Make your business goals happen
Whether you are a graduate of The Coaching Academy working towards setting up your business or an entrepreneur building a dream, you have to start getting paying clients at one point.
Some people, especially more empathetic natures, might have difficulties in closing the sale. This might be because they want to please everyone or they simply don’t believe that someone will pay for their service. In today’s digital environment they’re sitting ducks because they seldom share the steps someone needs to take start working with them.
“Why would anyone spend money on my service?”
---> “My service can help so many people so it is my duty to speak loud and proud about it!”
If you start asking for feedback from a group of trusted peers then you can also gather your evidence to support this theory. The more you can step away from your ego’s impulse to focus on your fears, the more you can focus on the results the work has on others.
3. Take control of anxiety
Anxiety has become one of the biggest topics in mental health awareness over the years. Many talk about it and many have it. The truth is that a bit of anxiousness can be healthy, it makes us more vigilant but for those struggling with severe levels of anxiety, it is best to turn to professional help. Thankfully they are easily accessible these days if needed but for mild forms, we’re going to share one of the most impactful reframing ideas.
“I’m scared…” ---> “ I’m excited!”
As far as your body is concerned, anxiety looks very similar to excitement. We can get sweaty palms, our breathing can speed up and we can feel ‘on-edge’. The moment these things get triggered in your body, your mind will try to figure out why these changes are happening. Rather than working against your body, telling yourself to calm down, you can reframe the situation and work together with it. Tell yourself ‘I’m excited’ enough times and it is likely that it will become your reality.
4. Learn to speak up
Public speaking is one of the most feared situations, so much so that it is considered a phobia in severe cases. If that’s your case then professional help will be most helpful, but in most circumstances, a bit of reframing can help you tremendously.
“I don’t have anything useful to say!”
---> “I have a unique perspective that might be useful for these people and I’m excited to share it!”
As we mentioned above, anxiety looks exactly like excitement to your body, so you might as well take advantage of it. If you’re in a meeting, smile and push yourself to say ‘I have an idea’. If you’re preparing to speak in front of an audience, start jumping around and tell yourself how excited you are to share your knowledge with people who need it. You’d be surprised how many renowned public speakers use this technique to prepare behind the curtain.
5. Bring harmony into your partnership
Many of us tend to start giving advice as soon as a loved one presents us with a problem. This might be even more intense with our life partner, our husband or wife, someone we love and we’d do anything to avoid their suffering. The reality is that we don’t always have the answers and more importantly, our partner doesn’t always need us to gallop in on the white horse and rescue them. They are simply looking to share their challenges or fears.
“Here’s what you should do.” ---> “I’m here to listen.”
This part takes tremendous self-awareness at first but if you have been to our two-day event, you know how difficult it is to listen to someone share their problem and actively stop yourself from giving advice. When it comes to your relationship, this can have so many benefits. The fact that you are holding the space for your partner to share all that they want without interrupting, without judgement, will help them feel understood, loved and appreciated for who they are, warts and all.
As a coach, this is a skill you have developed through your training so why not work on bringing harmony in your home?
If you are working with a client to help them reframe their challenges your most important job is to help them question the intention behind others behaviour so that they can adjust their behaviour how they see fit.
These are just a few of the most common situations that we can encounter every day. If these don’t apply to you, use them as an inspiration to put to good use in other scenarios.
Have you ever used reframing in a challenging situation? What did you find challenging about it?
Share your experience with the TCA community in the comments below!
If you wish to learn more about reframing and other life-changing coaching tools and techniques,start by joining us in our interactive live webinar. Choose from available dates here.
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