I would like to introduce you to a long-time friend of mine named Howard. Howard is a self-described pessimist who spent many years of his life drinking half-empty glasses of water all the while expecting any bright spots in his life to be dimmed by circumstances beyond his control.
Howard’s life had been a journey marked by one disappointment after another. His stress levels were immeasurably high as he struggled to find his niche in a challenging, competitive world.
His health had suffered greatly through constantly exposing himself to stomach churning stress and he confided in me that on more than one occasion strong feelings of hopelessness had led him to the brink of suicide.
Each new disaster would drive him into a sense of panic that was paralyzing in its intensity and, in his own words, all he wanted to do was find a way to “run away without having to take myself with me.”
One day, during one of his bouts of despair, a friend introduced him to a new word. That word was “Reframing” and his friend explained that it means “choosing to see the world and all of our experiences from a different angle.
Howard had just been laid off from his job and every waking moment was spent worrying about how he was going to make his rent and car payments.
His friend asked him to focus on his present situation but rather than viewing it through a lens of impending doom, to instead pretend for a moment that within his present situation lay the greatest opportunity of a lifetime.
He was asked to answer this question: “If only great and wonderful things can come from your present situation, what would they be?”
He handed Howard a pen and notepad and instructed him to start writing.
For some five minutes Howard stared blankly at the wall constantly shaking his head. Then, as if a light had magically come on in his head, he began to write.
- This is a great opportunity for me to examine what I really want to do with my life and what kind of company or industry I want to work for.
- This is a great opportunity for me to upgrade my resume.
- This is a great opportunity for me to work on my self-confidence so that I can show all prospective employers my true genius when they interview me.
- This is a great opportunity to find a company that is worthy of having an incredible employee like me.
- This is a great opportunity for me to hone my negotiation skills by convincing my landlord to give me an extension.
- This is a great opportunity for me to prove my own greatness to myself by turning great adversity into great adventure.
Howard was on a roll. He didn’t stop writing until he had filled three pages and it was only at that point that the true miracle of what had just happened occurred to him.
He realized that in the 20 minutes that had passed since he began writing, nothing had changed in his physical life. He was still unemployed and couldn’t make either his rent or car payments.
For some strange reason he was feeling inspired and energized because he was seeing his situation through a completely different lens – from an entirely different perspective.
And in that moment Howard’s life was forever changed. He had discovered the Habit of Reframing and his life would never be the same again.
Since then Howard has incorporated the Habit of Reframing into his everyday life. He examines every situation he finds himself in, reviews it through different lenses, selects the perspective that he finds most compelling and sets off in pursuit of the possibilities connected to that frame.
Howard’s life has miraculously shifted from hopelessness to heavenly since he adopted this new practice. He still has hurdles to jump and barriers to climb, but he is progressing at a rapid rate. While many of his challenges remain, he no longer views them through the lens of panic. The Habit of Reframing has taught him that when you change your perspective, you change your world.
Try it, you just might like it.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
P.S. My company, Strategic Pathways, this week introduced our newest Personal Coaching experience called Boot Camp for Your Brain. Please click here and take a peek at our Ebrochure
– I had the privilege of doing my first ever radio interview a few weeks ago. The topic of the interview was my book, Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours. Here is a link to my interview.
I did a second radio interview shortly thereafter. Here is the link.
Last Friday I did my third radio interview.
I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas or suggestions once you have listened to the interviews. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts
– My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.