Where do you want to HAVE your “problem?”

Tale of the Day:
Our problems are solutions

After having spent a lot of his time focusing on his family, a client of mine from Alaska wanted to get back into focusing on his business and bringing in an income again. He said he wanted to get back into that laser-like focus and flow with his business that he used to have before the family trouble pulled him away from it. He also said he wanted that experience of flow he got when he was skiing.

Many people at this point would simply try to transfer his resource state of flow from skiing over into his business, assuming that would be an appropriate solution. Instead I said, “Now, I know your family is very important to you, that’s the reason you dropped everything business-wise, so you could focus on solving your family trouble. At the same time, it’s important to keep food on the table, so it’s important to also have a business or some way of bringing in an income.”

“Yes,” he said, “I used to get so absorbed in my business that nothing else mattered. That’s why I had to stop so I could actually pay attention to my family.”

“So is it possible to have both of these together? Maybe you make half as much money, but you still have time to be with your family.”

“I don’t know…”

I let that sit for a while as I found out more about his business. He had already been successful as a salesman in the past, so he knew his business well. He already had the necessary skill, it was just a matter of how to put that skill into action. “So what stops you from already working on your business in the way that you want?” I asked him.

“Well, I get started and then I get this part of me that’s like, “Wait, stop, slow down, think this through.”

“OK, great. Step into that experience now, feeling what it’s like to get started and have this part pop up that says ‘wait, stop, slow down and think this through.”

He nodded, “It’s like I feel it right here.” He gestured to his torso, so I knew he had a good access of the state, not just a mental idea of it.

I said, “Now thank this part of you for being here, the part of you that says ‘wait, stop, slow down and think this through.’ You can thank this part because this is one of your resources, this ability to be able to wait, slow down and think it through. Now, ask on the inside, ‘where in my life do I want to make sure I keep this resource of being able to wait, stop, slow down, and think it through?’ ”

When I asked him this his face and neck flushed and he leaned back as if rocked by the force of the idea. “Wow,” he said, “I want this with my three daughters.” [From what he had already told me about their rocky relationship, I could see how this resource of being able to slow down, wait, and think things through could be a big benefit both to himself and his three daughters.]

“Great, I said, go ahead and play through three scenarios in the past, one with each of your daughters, discovering how this resource of being able to wait, stop, and think things through just spreads through the whole experience, and you can just discover how things are different, now, with this resource present.” When he was finished with this, I invited him to choose one future situation with each of his daughters and do the same thing. After a while he opened his eyes and said, “I just want to keep going, it’s like experience after experience with my daughters keeps popping up and I want to do more.”

“Great, go ahead and do more now, do as many as you like, experiencing how your resource of being able to stop, wait, and think things through, supports your values and outcomes with your three daughters.”

He took a while longer to process, and finally nodded his head.

We found other areas where the resource of “being able to stop and think it through” would be helpful to him, such as certain specific areas in his business that he needed to learn more about. Then I told him to invite the resource “being able to stop, slow down, and think things through” to flow out of any area in his business life where it wasn’t needed, and into all the areas of his life where it would be really appropriate for him.

After discovering how his “problem” was actually a resource, now we returned to his desire for more focus and flow in his work. I asked him to step into what it’s like to be skiing, to be just acting and reacting and being in the flow of riding the moguls down those black diamonds. When he was in this experience, I invited him to allow this to flow into all the areas of his business that were no longer at the “wait and think about it” stage, but were ready for him to take action and get in the flow of moving forward.

If we had tried to bring his state of “skier flow” into the context of his work right away, without first identifying where it is useful for him to “stop, slow down, and think things through,” it wouldn’t have worked so well. Either he would have gotten flow in his work at a cost to his daughters and family, and certain areas of his work where he didn’t have all the information he needed. Or more likely it just wouldn’t have worked, because his unconscious would have rejected the incomplete solution of “I just want to be in my skier flow at work.”

Tool of the Day:
Discovering where your problems are solutions

1)   Think of a behavior, feeling, or thought you’d like to change.

2)   First, where are all the places in life where you want to be sure to keep this behavior, feeling, or thought? Make sure you find several contexts in life where you genuinely would want this behavior, feeling, or thought to happen.

3)   Close your eyes and ask on the inside, “Now that I’ve identified the specific places where I want to be sure to keep this behavior, feeling, or thought, is there any part of me that objects to me not having this behavior, feeling, or thought in all the other places in my life. [If we’ve done the previous step thoroughly, the answer will be “no.” If you get any objections here, search for additional places in your life where you want to be sure to have the behavior, feeling, or thought.]

4)   Once you have no objections, ask on the inside, “What new response do I want to have in the places where I will no longer have the old behavior, feeling, or thought? Whatever the answer is, try it out in your imagination first and make sure it works for you. Feel free to modify it until you get it the way you want it.

5) Now imagine yourself in at least three different future situations with the new response.

Sign up for a session with Mark at www.markandreas.com or call 303-810-9611 for a free 15-minute consult.

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