“If you’re feeling stuck, just talk to someone else.”
This is a motto I’ve built into my life, and one I use weekly.
Over time and through experience, I’ve realized that my ‘stuckness’ lingers for hours, days, or even weeks when I try to solve a dilemma myself. I think through it over and over. I think really hard. Then I think even harder.
And as soon as I go talk to another person about it, I’m unstuck in a matter of minutes.
Why is this? I mean, I know more about the problem than the other person! What makes the conversation yield such a different outcome?
The answer, I believe, is reframing.
The act of looking at a situation from a new perspective.
See, when I’m stuck and talk to someone else, they don’t even know it, but they’re offering me a new perspective. They don’t have all the context and involvement in the stuck place that I do, so by default, they are viewing it in a different light.
Noticing different elements of it. Seeing different angles. Bringing a different background. Maybe even misunderstanding you at first, but it sparks a new idea for you!…
What interests me about reframing is threefold:
Reframing can sometimes take a situation that is difficult, and instantly make it easy
Reframing can sometimes take hate, and instantly turn it to love
Reframing can enable breakthrough and even new ideas
When a situation feels difficult to work through or hard to solve, there are often other ways of looking at it that offer paths of less resistance. And since those paths are already there waiting to be traveled, we only need to see them and choose to take one. Reframing can do this in an instant.
When we are frustrated with someone or in conflict, we are often just misunderstanding the other person’s intentions or projecting our own personality on them. This miss causes feelings of anger or resentment even though we don’t desire to be in conflict. And looking at things from the other person’s perspective helps us turn our face back toward them in love. Reframing can also do this in an instant.
In leadership, reframing can also be a powerful tool for breakthrough and growth. For example, a friend and professional coach, John Ramstead, has often said to me that on the other side of a limiting belief, there is a liberating truth. And by asking, “What might be a liberating truth?”, you can put the stuck place into a new frame, and therefore break free to move forward again.
Long story short, if you’re stuck, reframe. It’s free, so why not?
And if you’re not sure how, just talk to someone else.