Reframing is a powerful coaching tool I use frequently with my clients. It’s also something I’ve become hyper-aware of when it comes to my own communication.
In this week’s episode of Stand Out Get Noticed, I explore what reframing means, how it impacts our experience of the world (and others’ perceptions of us), and my 4 steps for reframing your language and thoughts.
What is reframing?
Think about a photograph you literally place into a new picture frame. The frame could be old and rustic. Or it could be new and shiny.
Whichever frame you put the picture in is going to impact the way the picture is viewed.
You’re not changing the picture, yet the FRAME you place it in makes it appear different.
In much the same way, a mental frame is a structure we use to give meaning to situations.
So, the way you perceive the world, the way you see yourself, how you view others, how you interpret life’s events, how you communicate and express yourself are all determined by your mental frame.
Now, a frame can be positive or negative, or, as I prefer to say: constructive or unhelpful.
For example, your manager asks: “When will you be done with that report?”
You could say: “Unfortunately I can’t get it to you until tomorrow morning”.
How does this come across? It’s quite a negative and unhelpful frame, right?
Or you could say: “I will have this ready for you first thing tomorrow morning!”
See the difference? It’s a much more positive, or constructive way, of framing the situation.
The actual idea or situation doesn’t change – the report is still being delivered tomorrow – but it is perceived differently because of the reframe.
Why is reframing important?
However, you frame a situation (or your communication) is going to determine your experience of it.
To quote Hamlet: There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
For example, a new podcaster might get 100 downloads in their first week. One way to frame it is: “Only 100 downloads? That’s terrible, I thought my podcast would have more success than that”.
What type of experience does this create for you? Not a very enjoyable one! (And I know, I’ve been there).
Another way to frame it is: “Oh wow, 100 downloads – that’s 100 people who are listening to me! That’s a brilliant outcome!”
This reframe creates a much more enjoyable experience of the same situation.
Imagine if you could reframe everything in your life so that it helps you and other people, expands your opportunities, gets you thinking bigger, and feeling good about yourself!
How do you do it?
This is not about simply positive thinking. It’s about taking the situation and thinking: how can I express this to myself or to others in a way that will help and be beneficial to all?
Here are my 4 Steps for Powerful Reframing:
- What is the problem I am experiencing?
- What am I assuming about this situation?
- How can I see this in a more constructive light? (Another q: What if I believed the opposite to be true?)
- Use new language to express yourself with this reframe.
For example: when I first started my business The C Method, I didn’t have any coaching experience, I didn’t have a strong network or personal brand.
I came from the Architecture industry, and I thought my technical design background was a disadvantage. How could I compete with all those other executive coaches who had “decades of experience” in corporate?
This was the problem I was experiencing (Step 1).
I was assuming (Step 2) that 1. My architecture background was irrelevant, and 2. I needed lots of experience to be taken seriously as a coach and business owner.
But I eventually realised that I could reframe my “disadvantages” as advantages. I chose to believe the opposite to be true (Step 3).
I chose to believe that 1. My architecture background makes me 100% relevant to other technical and design professionals, and 2. I didn’t NEED “decades of experience” to learn communication and speaking skills – younger people could relate better to me.
Once I had this constructive reframe, I was able to communicate this to my podcast listeners, my email subscribers, and when talking about my business to others (Step 4).
I challenge you to give this reframing technique a try. Here are some examples:
- How can you reframe a “No” to a “Yes”?
- How can you reframe your unique skills, abilities and experience in a constructive way?
- How can you reframe your current home isolation / COVID-19 situation?
- How can you reframe your feedback to a colleague?
- How you can reframe a limiting thought that holds you back?
The more you can practice this the better!
If you are looking for more support in shifting your mindset and achieving more personal and professional success, I invite you to join our members-only community and accountability program, The C Method Academy.
You’ll get access to 200+ podcast episodes, monthly Masterclasses and live Q&A / coaching sessions with me. Plus, you’ll be learning alongside other passionate and like-minded people who will support you in your journey.