Thursday, July 23, 2009

None of The Above

Have you ever had a problem you’ve had to solve and found yourself with a list of possible answers that did not satisfy you? This is the place we find ourselves when we think and think ourselves into circles around the problem. It can be exhausting and worse yet, it can bring about a sense of defeat. I hear my clients saying, “I give up” or “I am stuck”, or “it’s just the way it is”. They feel hopeless and defeated. I believe that this type of resignation comes after we have mentally exhausted all of our resources. The left hemisphere of our brain has done a heck of a job overworking and over-analyzing the situation with no satisfying answer. In other words, none of the choices: (a) through (d) is acceptable. The answer is (e), or none of the above.

This is the perfect opportunity to invite our right brain or our creative side to take over. When we do this, we actually step outside the tight circle that we had drawn around our self and the problem with our left brain thinking. The creative solution comes unexpectedly and might be so “out there” that at first we might not even recognize it. For example, I worked with a client who was stuck on something and couldn’t see anything beyond the limitations her brain was telling her were real and formidable. Once she got out of her own way, or out of her head, she realized that she was much bigger than this problem and in fact, at one point she realized that the problem wasn’t hers at all. In other words, the problem had changed or she could see it in a different light. At that point she realized that what she thought was her problem, was not it at all. She now could see the real problem and had an array of solutions at her feet. All of this was possible by unplugging her analytical, rational brain so she could come up with more creative solutions.

What happens at this point, is that the client goes home all excited, energized, and empowered to solve their problem and the “real world” comes crashing in. The next session is the tough one for the coach, because the client is now angry and disappointed that it did not work. Now, the client is questioning the method and its validity. What has happened is that the client has trusted their own creative solution, but the 3-D world around them is still operating under the old constraints of left brain thinking. The people around them are still analyzing and rationalizing everything to death. The client is questioning his/her own experience. He/she starts falling back in his/her own ways and pretty soon that glimmer of hope has died. Frustrated the client is mad at the world and at the coach!

So what is the alternative? Do we want to give up and force one of the answers (a) through (d) even though we know in our hearts that they are not the right answers for us. Do we want to pretend that our world is limited to four options or do we want to live in a bigger place where the potentials are limitless? Yes, it takes courage to take a chance on a new way of thinking and living, but the alternative is not a viable option for me. No, it is not easy and we all fall off the wagon from time to time. It takes practice, discipline, and trust to live the big life. And if you’ve had even moments of living creatively, outside the box, broken all the rules, and free to experience all of life’s potentials, you can’t go back. So, I invite you to choose option (e) or none of the above when you think that your options are limited. And then find the right coach to help you explore all of your other potential creative solutions.

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