If comfort is your goal, growth as a human being is not for you. However, as a mindful leader, you already know this and are probably a pro at being uncomfortable by now. If not, then this article might help. Your ability to go with the flow while directing it is what will allow you to be your most successful, and reframing is a great way to make sure that you as well as everyone on your team is able to accept and embrace the changes that occur inevitably. Read on to learn how to reframe change that seems negative at first, for yourself as well as for your team.
First, what is reframing, exactly? According to Wikipedia, “Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then disputing irrational or maladaptive thoughts. Reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives.”
Have you ever met someone who always sees the silver lining no matter how heavy and black the cloud might be? This person probably taught themselves internally from an early age to see the good in all things rather than dwell on the negative, whether they realized they were doing so or not. On the flipside, have you ever met someone who is dreary and heavy like the cloud itself, and even if it had a silver lining millions of miles long, they still wouldn’t see it? These are types of people who either never learned to reframe or just never applied the idea to their thoughts.
Having said that, what type of person do you lean toward being: an optimist or a pessimist? If you’re somewhere in the middle, you may already know how to and be able to reframe, but you may not give it the credit it deserves. After all, it’s all woo-woo, new agey stuff, right? Well… not really. Though the science behind it is still relatively new, we do know that emotions carry positive and negative frequencies with them, and these frequencies can negatively impact the human body. That’s why depression is linked to heart disease and stress is linked to cancer; your inner work is very important for your outer self.
Likewise, shining a positive light on problems or changes that are perceived as negative can increase your team’s productivity almost instantly. So, what are some basic techniques for reframing so that everyone can get back to full functionality and productivity?
#1. Shift from negative to positive. If your team is worried or scared about the problem that needs solving, you might ask them to think about what kinds of positive outcomes would be ideal to them and ideas on how to get there.
#2. Shift from victim mentality to empowerment. For those who seem to think they’re “cursed” or have “bad luck,” this is a great technique. If there are people wandering habitually through this mentality on your team, you might consider asking them to explore whether there’s anything they could have done to prevent the same things from happening over and over. If so, it is in their power to help change these events, and realizing that will not only empower them but give them the motivation to keep going even through the challenges.
#3. Shift from unknown future to the previously conquered past. If there are people on your team doubting themselves in the endeavors they will need to undertake to do their part, a good way to reframe is to ask them if there’s something they achieved or overcame in the past that made them feel powerful. If they can overcome or achieve that, there’s no reason they can’t overcome or achieve this as well.
#4. Shift from past failures to future potential. There are bound to be members of your team who are nervous simply because they’ve never done a specific task or type of project before. In this case, if they have doubts about themselves, you can ask them to visualize how they would feel after successfully completing that exact task or project. This will build confidence.
#5. Shift from liability to positive asset. There are bound to be team members who feel that their “weaknesses” might get in the way of accomplishing what they would like to, for themselves as well as for the organization or team as a whole. If you find yourself dealing with a situation like this, reframe their “weakness” to be a strength. For example, if someone is worried about their performance because they’ve always been told that they’re too bossy, you might ask them to consider how and where their bossiness might be most beneficial to this particular change or problem. They may even surprise themselves with their answer ;).
No matter what, always keep in mind that change can be scary and every individual is different as far as how they handle things and work through their initial reactions. As a mindful leader, it’s important that you guide them, stay positive as much as possible, help them reframe as needed, and remain as patient as you possibly can.
What are some reframing techniques you’ve used in the past? How effective were they? Please leave a comment or drop us an email to share some of your stories!
For more information on the Mindfulness Movement and mindful leadership, please visit:
Need some help with your mindfulness practice? The Mindful Moments can certainly help!