You get dumped by your girlfriend and it feels like the end of the world. You lose out on what seems to be the perfect career opportunity and you worry that you’ll never have a chance like that again. Despite your hard work, that end of year bonus doesn’t materialise and you can’t help but feel resentful.
They all feel terrible in the moment don’t they? It’s difficult to look beyond what you’ve lost out on, what hasn’t worked or what’s missing in your life. But how often in life have you looked back at an event, that at the time felt like the end of the world, only to realise that it was key to getting you to a better place later on?
That job you missed out on ended up being for a company that went under a few months later. Losing out left you available to take advantage of an exciting new opportunity.
Remember that broken heart forced you to embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth. You ended up meeting the girl who would become the great love of your life.
After missing out on that bonus, you swore you’d never leave yourself at the mercy of anyone again. That disappointment spurred you on to set up your own business and you now have autonomy over your life and livelihood.
Now those terrible events don’t seem so bad do they? At least not in the grand scheme of things.
That’s all well and good, you think. It’s easy to see that looking back, much harder to connect the dots when it’s all happening here and now. But there is a way to find the positive in the middle of a not so good set of circumstances. There is a tool that will help you look at any situation with a little more optimism. It’s called Reframing.
The power of reframing
Simply put, reframing is the act of taking any situation and changing the way you look at it. With a different perspective you can completely change the way you feel about what is happening. The key is of course to reframe it into something that is more empowering and you can do that by asking yourself a few simple questions.
‘How is this the best thing that could have happened to me?’
If you’re hurting, disappointed or angry answering that question can feel impossible so ask yourself this question instead:
‘What is the lesson that this situation is trying to teach me?’
Being persistent with these questions has always brought me an answer, even though it may seem insignificant at the time.
When you use reframing you aim to:
- Challenge your assumptions.
- Take your inadequacies as opportunities to get stronger.
- See the impossible as a call to learn more.
- See a lost opportunity as making space for new opportunities.
- See defeat as a call to get better.
So you lost out on that job.
How could you have done better? What skills do you need to develop? What have you learned through the process that you could use when the next opportunity comes? How can you use all that you have gained from the experience to improve and grow? Reframing takes you out of a victim mindset and immediately puts the power back in your hands. It’s the realisation that sometimes you can’t change a situation but you can approach it from a much healthier perspective.
If you practise this long enough, more and more you start to see the things that happen in your life as simply neutral, rather than good or bad. You start to understand that an event is an event until you give it meaning and you can choose to interpret it in any way you want. You start to feel the positive, emotional impact of the new stories you create when you choose to look at your circumstances from a different, more empowering perspective.
I remember six months ago, at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, dreading having to work from home as well as manage home-schooling for my daughter. Initially, my mind was filled with all the challenges of working remotely and all of the things that I could no longer do. It was only when I reframed it as an opportunity to learn that the positives started to flow.
- How could I create a schedule that best suited me and optimised my efficiency and effectiveness?
- How could I use the time I saved by not having to commute?
- What new skills could I learn?
Same facts, but a totally different perspective.
Is your glass half-full or half-empty?
It comes down to how you choose to see it. Here and now you can choose a perspective that empowers you to learn and grow, a perspective that moves you forward and doesn’t hold you back. Take advantage of the incredible power of reframing and watch how it transforms your thinking and your life.
Now over to you.
Do you tend to see your glass as half-empty? Can you use the power of reframing to find the positive in challenging circumstances? Let me know in the comments.