As a life coach I find that my most used strategy in helping a client create a better and happier situation for themselves (whether relationships, career, or their emotional health) is to guide them to see a problem from a different perspective. We tend to approach all problems from the same angle with the same emotional perspective that is our “go to view” based upon our baggage and inherent personality traits. Quite often, that approach results in a failure to change the situation for the better.
Although it’s difficult to see a situation through foreign eyes, it is essential to breaking patterns that are detrimental to your life. I call the strategy “neutral perspective.” In a sense it’s about seeing the FACTS (factual evidence is generally indisputable) from an unemotional viewpoint. Once you look at the issues that are tangible and real and remove your own issues from the equation, a clear solution always presents itself.
A long time ago I heard a psychologist on the radio share a wonderful modern-day fable that perfectly demonstrates neutral perspective. It is the story of Three Men and a Naked Lady (bet you didn’t see that coming)! It goes like this:
Three men are sitting in a car at a stop light. Suddenly a completely naked woman walks in front of their car through the cross walk.
The driver views her with contempt for so brazenly taunting him and deems her a sinner and whore.
The front passenger views her with lust and admiration, knowing with certainty that she would welcome his advances and that perhaps he should follow her.
The back passenger though at first quite shocked, realizes that something is amiss and this poor woman needs help. He jumps out of the car, drapes his coat around her, and offers her a ride. She is beyond grateful. Turns out she was a kind and very wealthy woman who after being kidnaped and robbed, managed a daring escape albeit without her clothes. After accompanying her to the police and seeing to her safe return home, a week later the woman repays the man’s kindness with a lovely dinner and within a year they are married and live happily ever after.
This is a perfect example of emotional vs. neutral perspective. The first man felt inadequate in his relationships and had a negative view on women in general. The second man had learned to cover up his insecurities with arrogance and false bravado. The last man was emotionally balanced enough to look at the tangible facts in a situation and act accordingly. He saw a naked woman with bruises on her arms, crying and looking quite scared. He knew this had nothing to do with him.
So whatever it is in your life that is bringing you strife, stress, and/or heartache, perhaps it’s time you viewed the situation with neutral perspective. Once you can see clearly what the problem truly is (through factual evidence), a solution will clearly present itself. Then you just have to face implementing that solution – which is very often not easy but if the stakes are high enough to you, anything can be made better!
If you are interested in some life coaching help, http://www.danelifefitness.com.
Sooner or later all of us find that one aspect or another of our lives has been dulled by routine and habit and that stagnation nags at us in the form of discontent and/or depression. If enough areas of your life are squeezed into that self-orchestrated “box” you may find that you feel stuck, bored, and frustrated yet helpless to make a change. This is when you need to not only think outside the box, but blast the walls of the box apart!
My personal forte and mode of operating for myself and as a personal trainer, life coach, and sounding board to friends and family is to always think outside the box. I say walls, rules, and “the norm” are meant to be broken if it helps you get from point A to B and beyond without hurting anyone.
So whether it’s a dead-end job, a dysfunctional relationship, or discontent with the condition/shape of your body, you CAN make a change if you’re willing to look past the four walls you’ve decided are mandatory, and become creative with your options and your abilities.
Start with the “kitchen sink” method: contemplate all options and ideas, no matter how big, small or crazy you might think they are. Write them down, stare at these ideas without casting out “yeah buts” or “there’s no way.” It’s like art, sometimes you have to simply start doodling for the creative juices to flow. Suddenly you’ll see the light, you’ll feel the inspiration where your brain actually says hey that might be possible.
Then map out a plan that takes you out of the box and onto a path of exploration and change. Focus on one step at a time so that you don’t feel overwhelmed – as change can be unsettling and overwhelming for many of us. Continue to remind yourself of how good it feels to be moving again and pat yourself on the back for being creative and making even a small change. That self-love and encouragement will go along way to silencing the fears that automatically rear up when we shake things up in our world.
Lastly, remember that there’s no time-clock here. There’s also nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. You deserve to be happier and if that means busting the box to do so, that’s not only okay, but awesome! However long it takes, slow movement is better than stagnation.
Need ideas or help finding getting out of any of life’s boxes, write to me – I can always be found somewhere outside the box.
2013 is almost half over! Are you ready to stop complaining about what’s not right in your life, and change the things that are under your control? Or will you watch the months speed away until another December is here and you’re making the same resolutions all over again? You know my tag line: wake up, what are you waiting for? So what’s not working in your life? For most, it is usually one of these top three issues:
- Dissatisfaction with your body;
- Dissatisfaction with your job or career; and
- Dissatisfaction with your spouse or mate.
REALITY CHECK! These issues will not go away until YOU make a change.
“I just don’t what to do or how to do it!” you say? That’s where someone like me comes in. The strategies and plans I employ with my clients vary depending on the individual and their circumstances, and are too detailed for me to state herein. But I can give you some general guidelines that will put you on the path to successful achievement of change.
1. Dissatisfaction with your body.
Fuel in vs. fuel out. Eat fewer calories than you burn and you will lose weight. So if you goal is weight loss, change your nutrition to be balanced and healthy (lots of fruits, veggies, and water; and avoid sodas, sugary and processed, high-fat or fried foods). Eat six small meals a day (and I mean small) and stick to a commitment of at least three one-hour workouts each week (minimum). Nothing too difficult here, right?
There is no dieting (that implies temporary)! You will not no join a gym for three months, then fizzle out. There IS only a permanent decision to eat small quantities of healthier foods at frequent intervals (still allowing yourself to enjoy the “sinfuls” like ice cream and alcohol, just in very moderate amounts), and a strict realization that you are important enough to commit to at least three gym visits every week – period.
2. Dissatisfaction with your job or career.
I know that now is a scary time in the work force: layoffs, budget cuts, etc. But you still owe yourself this bottom line: Life is too short to work at a job that brings you no joy and no reward (including financially). At the very least, a job that you have no passion for must be a short term stepping stone, or means to an end to get you to your primary career goal. Have a plan so that this soul-sucking job has an end in sight!
As you ponder what it is you really want to be when you grow up, consider your strengths and weaknesses. Create an honest list of what you have to offer, what you are good at, as well as what kind of work does not suit your skills and temperament. Remember: there is no success without an attempt. So make those attempts, try to do something new, network with people, scour the internet, or simply create a way to offer your services where they are needed. If you focus on what it is you WANT to do rather than fretting about what you ARE doing, you’ll be surprised what fortunes come your way.
3. Dissatisfaction with your spouse or mate.
Ah, the biggie. Raise your hand if you are in a relationship that has gone stagnant, or never quite fit to begin with. Are you in a relationship because you hate being alone? Have you ever noticed that you can feel far lonelier in a dysfunctional, unsatisfying relationship than when you are single?
Below is a compatibility quiz. Note, that these items are listed in no order of priority. They are simply the eight items that help relationships have little discord/strife. Discord is what tears us down, ruins intimacy, and builds resentment.
1. Similar family backgrounds (upbringing, family size, involvement)
2. Similar views on children (how many, how to raise them, etc.)
3. Similar views on religion (or spirituality)
4. Similar views on money (save it, spend it, hoard it, waste it)
5. Similar views on sex & affection (frequency, style, comfort zones)
6. Similar styles of communication (big talkers or pretend nothing’s wrong)
7. Similar likes on activities (movie tastes, sports, hobbies, vacations)
The more of these items you have in common the more successful the union. (This is not to say that you cannot have a satisfying relationship with few of these commonalities, but it will require more work and energy). So if you ware in a relationship that has run its course or is simply too incompatible for longevity, think about moving on. What are you waiting for?
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My final comments to guide you to a New You epiphany is this: the only thing that holds us back from anything in life, is fear.
Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of pain. Fear of the unknown.
Figure out which fear (or fears) is holding you back, and face that fear. You are not alone. You are stronger than you think. Push though the obstacle and have a better life. Now is the time!