Sometimes we just get stuck – in our jobs, in our relationships, in our lives! We see no way forward to tackle the challenges we are facing. In such moments, it can be helpful to explore new perspectives by adding more choices – saying YES to some things and NO to others.
In this blog post I share some insights from my Co-Active Coaching training which might help you to get unstuck. You can use the following process for your own reflection, or with a coach who can support you to think outside the box.
The first step is to identify the issue that is causing the challenge. Write it down in a neutral form, such as time instead of time management. Observe the topic from your current perspective and assess the impact of holding it.
Be aware that your current perspective is only one way of perceiving life and creating reality. The next step is to discover how the relationship to the topic can change from additional perspectives. Questions for finding new perspectives might be:
- How would a five-year-old see the situation?
- What is the good news perspective?
- What if you see this as a great adventure?
- What do you see if you look at the situation from the perspective of an ocean?
For every new perspective, change your location in space. Explore the topic from a different physical space, give it a name, and observe how it feels different.
Once you have explored all the possibilities and gotten a feel for them, the next step is to choose the most powerful perspective. It may be a combination of perspectives, or even an entirely new one that emerges during the process. Use your inner leader to make a choice based on your values and guiding principles:
- What are your guiding principles?
- What inner wisdom do you turn to when you face challenges?
- How do you define success?
To turn your choice into action, it is important to bring together the essential human qualities of doing and being – to balance what you want to do with how you want to be.
- Creating an inner space from which an action can emerge
- When you connect with your chosen perspective, what are your qualities?
- Identify what action is needed to move you closer to your chosen perspective
- What do you do when you connect with your chosen perspective?
Write down everything that comes up without judgment. Going through this stage with someone else can help to broaden your perspective and get suggestions outside of your comfort zone.
Once you have brainstormed your ideas, cross out irrelevant items and circle the most important ones:
- Looking at your list, is there anything you don’t want?
- What are your most important attributes?
- What are your most important actions?
- From your new perspective, what are you saying YES to?
- When you say YES to X, what do you say NO to?
Make sure you are truly committed to the actions you have developed:
- On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to this plan?
- What would take your commitment to a 10?
A commitment can be much stronger if it feels like breaking new ground. You might say your YES out loud and use a doorstep to step over it when you are ready to commit to your plan.
To really make a difference, formulate actions as a translation of your YES and NO:
- What will you do?
- By when will you do it?
You can also think of a support system that will push you to take action. This can be through other people or by adding the action to your existing habits.
- What do you need to follow through on your commitment?
- How do you remember things that are important to you?
“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.”
― Paulo Coelho