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Reframing

Many people are reconfiguring or reinventing themselves and their business in the wake of Coronavirus.  Deciding how you can re-conceive yourself, your business and your assets to make the most of the new normal requires creative thinking and often a new perspective.  This is where NLP’s (Neurolinguistic Programming’s) reframing technique can help.

In life, from a NLP perspective, things just happen. There is no inherent meaning linked to events or behaviors.  Any meaning linked to those situations and experiences arises from  what we ourselves assign to them,  and is usually determined by our unconscious mind and our beliefs.   This explains how we can all experience the same thing yet assign different meanings to the event. A focus on reframing allows us to understand how we unconsciously hold limiting beliefs that may prevent us from thinking or acting in ways that benefits us.

For example, if a worker makes a mistake and his/her manager calls them on it, the worker may feel as though everyone is out to get them.  However, the facts were that a mistake was made, and the company’s policy around infringements was followed.  That’s it.  Any additional meaning around those events has been imparted by the worker themselves.   The worker could choose to accept that mistakes and learning are how we become really good at things, and that this event means s/he will become a more valuable, competent employee because of it.  By looking at the situation from a different lens, they will think and feel totally differently.

Sometimes the meanings we assign to events help us, and sometimes they inhibit or paralyze us.   If you are trying to think of how to reinvent your business but find yourself stuck, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t creative or smart or innovative or able to think outside the box…. those are all meanings that could be assigned to not coming up with a good idea. But that’s all they are, interpretations of what being stuck means.   

We could equally interpret being stuck as a signal to find some strategies to unlock that creative potential that is in all of us: a signal to do things differently in order to be able to think differently.   It might be you are tired, need to be kind to yourself and try again later.  It is important to understand that when we are tired, stressed, burnt out etc, it’s a lot easier to assign negative meaning to situations and these can spiral us down into anxiety and depression among other things.  

In these current times, we can see this is in the varying responses to this pandemic. Some are responding with enthusiasm, curiosity and optimism for the future, yet others are paralyzed by uncertainty and anxiety.    If you find yourself in the latter group understand that it’s okay, it might just be time to take a new perspective.  

By reframing we look at a situation or experience with a different focus and/or assign it a different meaning.  We change the way we think, feel and behave.  It becomes a conscious choice of how to interpret a situation in a way that helps and empowers us, and we are no longer captives to our unconscious limiting beliefs about our opportunities and possibilities.  

How to do it? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Begin by asking yourself these questions to uncover the limiting belief that is preventing you from realizing your goals, and then change it.

  • What do you want?
  • What is stopping you?
  • How?
  • How do you know?
  • What if …?

 Other ways to reframe include,

  1. Explain your problem to a friend. This will encourage you to be more objective as you ‘hear’ yourself talking. When we are stuck, we can often be stuck ‘talking inside’ our heads, so explaining things out loud can help you get clarity by seeing things more objectively
  2. Move. We’ve been stuck inside our homes or gardens for a while now, perhaps walking the same footpaths or trails. If possible, go somewhere different. A different park, take a different trail, climb a hill or mountain. Literally looking at things from a different place helps us see things differently. It often puts things in perspective and unleashes different possibilities. Remember the saying that “It’s hard to work on a business if you are working in it”.
  3. Find someone in a different industry or position to share your situation with. We’ve been having numerous zoom get-togethers with people from different countries, industries and positions on a regular basis and the diversity of thought and perspective gained through these has helped so many people see their situation in a completely different, and beneficial light.
  4. Write down the issue as though you are a scientist explaining the facts. No interpretations allowed, just the facts. Then brainstorm different meanings that could be assigned to those facts. You don’t have to believe them all at this stage, it just helps you recognize that other ‘truths’ are out there.
  5. Ask an expert. NLP practitioners and psychologists can help you if you are having trouble freeing yourself from your limiting beliefs.
  6. There are many free online resources. Click here for some.

So whether you are looking to find opportunity in challenging times, handle disappointment, reinvent yourself or your business, or change the way you think, feel and behave, consider reframing as a new way to empower yourself.

Cathy Taylor

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