This coaching technique doesn’t work for dealing with all my problems, yet I’ve found it useful in reaching a more resourceful state when conflicts threaten my peace of mind. Many of my clients also experience a big wave of relief this way, breaking the hold a challenging situation has on them. Let’s call it “What if…”
How ‘what if’ can work for you
First, imagine an activity where you feel joyful. Why a joyful one? While experiencing this activity in your mind, you effectively fracture a current state of frustration to reconnect with feeling fully alive.
During this interlude, recall all the vivid details of the joyful situation: the sights, sounds, smells and feelings. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were smiling by then. In your imaginary playground, you’ve invited the troublesome other to take a minor role in the scenario, shrinking the conflict down to size: a troublesome boss becomes a perky 2-year-old disrupting a board game, an unproductive teammate is now a tipsy contestant at a dance competition, and an intimidating co-worker is morphed into Pepé Le Pew spraying the love around.
The next step is to ask “what can I do next?” Most of us already have the answer: Consulting the individual in question much more selectively (a.k.a removing the 2 year old from the middle of the game); getting re-enforcement to tackle the disruptive force (i.e. the spraying skunk); circulating the document to other people for a second opinion (i.e. handling the tipsy contestant).
Now you’ve come up with creative, uncomplicated solutions where none seemed forthcoming. You’re in charge again, having increased your resources, agility, and reflexes by reducing the insurmountable into something tidy and tiny.
Next time you have an obstacle that’s driving you to distraction, why not give “What if…”a try. Let me know about your experience in the comments section below.