How is it that some people are attached to their struggle? Well, struggling has its merits: you get sympathy and you don’t need to stretch yourself to change.
When someone says: “it won’t work, because it never does”, it seems like they have already made a decision. Indeed, they have chosen a way to see the situation. This perspective might not serve them to move forward, but it serves to avoid change and take risks.
Some clients express a desire for clarity, answers, and direction and feel incapacitated to get the results they want.
So, what do you do when your client is stuck in negative expectations of life and relationships while he’s trying his hardest to develop a positive outlook on his future goals?
What is needed here is not a different action but rather the commitment to a new point of view from which new choices can unfold. More often than not people simply forget to select the experiences they want most, to envision the things they do have control over and to open themselves up to greater achievements.
First of all, clients need to become aware that they are in a “perspective”, a set of expectations they have created for themselves as a reaction to past experiences.
One way of becoming aware of one’s perspective is to give a name to the mood and the feelings attached to it, to visualize it and “inhabit” it. It’s very important that Client takes time to savor each perspective as if it were the only reality. Only after exploring a perspective in all its depth do I ask a client to move on and suggest a new one.
I love working with sticky notes and arrange all ideas on the floor while Client feels free to leave the realm of logical reasoning and taps into more right-brain, intuitive, creative and associative thinking
After developing and exploring a certain number of perspectives (I try to go for five if times allows it so that we have a certain range) it’s time for Client to make a conscious choice: How do you want to be? Which emotions do you want to inhabit? How do you choose to react when things show up?
This moment is very powerful because Client gets to experience first-hand that we are not slaves to expectations but that expectations are a matter of choice. This insight paves the way for new actions and new results.
What benefits have I notices so far working with perspectives?
- It yields surprising results: I always advise my clients that the best perspectives (the ones that will inspire action) are often totally unrelated to the topic. Freely associating a perspective with emotions gives clients permission to delve deep, to voice repressed feelings and forgotten desires and to get in touch with themselves in a way they usually wouldn’t.
- It slows down the chattering of the mind and speeds up the process: Once you get in resonance things change for good. It can be tempting to fall back on the negative (it’s so familiar!) but once clients free themselves from the burden of negative expectation they are not only able to pivot from stagnation to action, but also to be galvanized about their future steps.
- It suspends judgment: Developing new perspectives is like a gym where you can train new habits. There is no judgment: you can try on a new perspective and see how it fits. You can struggle, fail, take your time and gain confidence.
- It’s real: While we move around, it feels like change is already happening. Reconnecting to the perspective we’ve visited gives Client a real taste of each point of view so that he can make a conscious choice on what perspective most serves him.
- It’s efficient: Big changes in mood, motivation, and drive happen in a relatively short time. (In the case pictured above it only took 70 minutes to pivot from destructive self-pity to inspired excitement).
- It’s self-generated: While Coach might provide a prompt, all the details are the authentic self-expression of the client’s needs and desires. This depth and level of detail enables Client to experience their decision-making process with all senses and empowers them to make resonant choices.
The value of developing and inhabiting a certain range of perspectives is to take your clients places they don’t spend much time in, in order for them to overcome self-limiting scripts and take control over their reactions, choices, and actions.
Interested in changing perspective? Get in touch!