If I’m having a tough time or going through a challenge, I often reframe it. As soon as I notice self-pity or a sense of hopelessness creeping in, as soon as I see a tiny bit of disempowerment, I tell myself a different story.
This helps me manage my experience, process my emotions and ultimately helps build emotional and social intelligence.
I remind myself that I can learn from the experience and that it will help me become a better coach.
I remind myself that my clients might have or will have a similar experience at some point.
This makes the experience valuable. There’s a bigger reason to investigate what I am feeling and thinking fully.
The challenge becomes something that is both connecting – it helps me remember I’m not the only one having this experience, and it helps my brain to start to think in a more curious and creative mode. This makes my situation more solvable. If it’s not solvable, exploring it will bring greater clarity and help me be a better coach for others too.
This makes it “safer” to fully allow myself to feel the emotions associated with a specific situation. It all becomes more manageable and often than not helps whatever I’m experiencing seem a little bit smaller.
This approach also helps me accept where I am at. Too often I meet people (clients or otherwise) who are burying their heads in the sand, intellectualizing their emotions, devaluing their emotional experience. I’ve done this too – it’s very easy to, particularly in corporate London.
Yet the more we use these other ways of processing (or rather not processing) a situation, the less able we are to connect with others, the less likely we are to problem-solve (because we’re ignoring half of the information coming from an experience), and the more likely we are to feel stuck.
You don’t need to be a coach. You can apply this to your situation. Your current situation and the emotional experience you’re having will help make you a better, more curious approach to managing and processing a challenge or experience. There is always someone that you know, or you might know in the future, who might be able to benefit from you becoming curious about your experience.
Maybe you’re stressed about finances; it will help you more empathetically see your spouse’s fears about her job. Maybe having a micromanaging line-manager will help you empower and motivate your staff when you become a leader. Maybe the uncertainty you feel around making a decision will help you learn more about different sides of yourself and help you connect and communicate with others also facing a dilemma.
I often encourage clients to see if they can see a challenging situation as an opportunity to grow and learn new things. When this isn’t enough, I encourage them to think about how it will enrich their ability to communicate, connect, and contribute too.
If you're feeling like you could do with a safe space to discuss alternative perspectives or to work on something in your life drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org