Conversations at the Crossroads.

The Reframe Game

When we look back on events and situations of the past, we have a tendency to categorize our experiences as positive or negative. There are experiences we long for and love to replay in our minds, and there are experiences we would never wish to revisit or repeat. This is a common and reasonable approach to making sense of our path into the present. At the same time, it is an approach that offers a limiting or skewed view of our life histories, as the casting of events in a positive or negative light generally leads us to dismiss “negative” events as counterproductive to our “positive” steps.

Either we move forward, or else we move backwards. Right?

Now consider this alternative:

What would be different if we chose to believe that there are no “negative” events and no steps that lead us “backwards”?

How would your story sound if you narrated it as a sequence of powerful events that have shaped your unique perspectives, aspirations, and way of being?

Every major event and situation in our lives—no matter how challenging, no matter how painful—could be described as meaningful and essential if we make a choice to experience life that way. In such a mindset, we could ask ourselves:

How will I grow from this experience?
What lessons and insights are there for me?
How might these circumstances create unexpected opportunities?

As with all mindset shifts, this one takes practice. It’s hard to look back on the experiences we’ve labeled failures and reframe them as stories of self-discovery and evolution. Yet, each time we try and then successfully reframe an experience, we free up energy to pursue with greater enthusiasm all that we dream of having, doing, or being.

There’s no question that when it comes to achieving our goals, every bit of energy helps.

This week, think about a story you’ve been telling yourself—a failure story that you’re finally ready to let go. Reframe it as an experience that was meaningful and essential in creating the person you are today. I would love to hear what ensues.

With support and encouragement for your journey,

Founder, The Crossroads Coach

Published September 29, 2013