Challenged to change
In this series, personal coach / trainer & owner of in2motivation Peter Koijen talks about how internationals in the Netherlands can make their time at work more enjoyable: from leadership and motivation tips to increasing work pleasure and altering your mindset in an ever-changing work environment.
Picture an ex-bus driver sitting at the back of a bus on his way home. What irony: after many years of service, the company he worked for has fired him and now he has to take the very same bus home and tell his family.
He stares out the window, thinking about his life, when suddenly he screams: "Yahoo! I’ve lost my job!"
Kind of crazy, right? Well, not exactly…
This short metaphor illustrates a possible scenario that can happen to anyone. Nowadays with the current economy, it has become more and more common - some might even say accepted - to be fired.
Of course, "accepted" seems like an odd word in this context, but the point is that the sociological pressure someone feels when he/she gets fired has changed over the last few years.
Nonetheless, at a personal or emotional level, losing your job brings out many negative emotions. And everyone deals with them differently.
Here comes the important question: who is likely to just get out in the street, dancing and singing "Yahoo! I’ve lost my job!"?
Those who use the concept of reframing. Reframing is about giving positive meaning to negative events. In other words, how to put something that happens to you in a positive frame or, at least, in a frame that makes it look more positive than it does now.
So, back to our example. How could you reframe this situation? You could say:
› I can focus on things that I like or all the new things in my life!
› I have more free time to relax and rest after all my hard work!
› I am not afraid and I don’t have to work for that terrible boss!
› I can start my own business or a new career!
Cause & Effect
Clearly, this is just an example. We all know that in real life decision-making is complicated, due to the numerous obligations we all have. But what if we could?
If you really want to improve your life, you have to start seeing the patterns of cause and effect! Sitting at the back of the bus won’t do any good in the long run, simply because someone else is driving, someone else is calling the shots. Life is just happening to you - you don’t really control it.
Now, imagine what it is like to be the driver. To be in control, to decide where to steer and when to stop. Feels better, doesn’t it?
Of course, there is a catch. Driving (the bus, your life, etc.) means that you have to overcome numerous obstacles, which is sometimes - as you well know - quite difficult to do. So, what should you do?
The easiest thing is to complain. In fact, some people prefer just to stand still and complain even if it means that they won’t be able to overcome their obstacle(s).
Clearly, this is not the way to go. Even when facing the most rigid obstacles, even when you think it’s (physically) impossible to deal with them, you have to go back to where you started.
Just like the bus driver, you have to understand that "a problem is never a problem," but a state in which you approach a context.
Whenever you find yourself in difficult situations, remember Viktor E. Frankl’s quote from his book Man’s Search for Meaning: "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
Well, sometimes, we just have to sit back, re-evaluate and move on, even if that sounds impossible.
Peter Koijen, owner of in2motivation is a life coach, motivational speaker and trainer for private individuals and companies. He aims to get the best out of you every day.