Shift Your Life With Well-Placed Questions
Could you shift your life with a few well-placed questions? Let’s take a quick look from stress to freedom story.
Let’s assume something “bad” happened to you.
- A company rejected your business proposal.
- A friend canceled your dinner plans at the last minute.
- You are too busy and completely stressed out.
The list of possible mishaps is endless.
Yet, are we “victims” of these situations? Indeed, we can’t control everything that happens. Yes, maybe you can improve our proposal. Yet, it is also likely that the prospect rejected your proposal for reasons unrelated to you. You could seek feedback and learn something valuable from this experience.
There is always more than one way to look at any situation. Psychologists call that “cognitive reframing.” First, you identify how you look at the situation, experience, event, idea, or emotion. Then you challenge yourself (or someone else does) to see how else you could look at it.
Reframing Is Much More Than Seeing A “Silver Lining”
One could say the technique is to see the proverbial “silver lining.” Yet, it goes beyond that. A different “frame” can massively shift the way you see it.
A Story: From Stressed Out To Enjoying Freedom Now
- Years ago, I worked with a very successful realtor. She was super busy during the “high season” and made a lot of money.
- One of her goals was to have enough money invested to retire by the time she was 40. For her, that meant she had four years to get there.
- During the winter months, her business was slow. She was restless and concerned about not having more business. The situation caused her considerable stress.
I asked her some questions:
- “How normal are these cycles in your business?” – She said, “Very normal. It is like that pretty much every year. It stresses me out every year.”
- “Is the lower-income during the winter a problem for you?” – It turned out: Emotionally speaking, it was a problem. Yet, she recognized that, in reality, she had enough money for those months.
- “Why do you want to retire at age 40?” – She said she wanted to have more time to spend with her kids (who were still pretty young and living at home with her). She also wanted to have time to travel.
- “How do you feel about ENJOYING your slower time and doing some of the things you said you wanted to do when you are retired?”
These questions led to a new recognition: The seasonality was normal and expected. She could set aside some money during the busy months and then ENJOY the less busy time during the winter months. She could spend more time with her kids and travel during the winter school breaks.
Her “aha” moment was profound: She can enjoy the rewards of her work now, rather than in four years from now. All she had to do was permit herself to
- ENJOY the time when her business was slower during the winter!
- Stop stressing over something that happens in her business every year.
Now, that is a powerful reframe!
You can shift your life with a few well-placed questions. You can get good at doing this yourself. When you are too close to the situation or experience, get some help to come up with those “well-placed questions.”
Which situation, experience, an event can you reframe?
P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this with others. Thank you!