When I’m coaching executives and entrepreneurs, I love that moment when my client has just realized that the solution they’re looking for is not in the problem, but in a new perspective. Their faces literally light up. They sit back and breathe an audible sigh of relief as if to say, “Ahh, I don’t have to work so hard now.”
In an instant, everything changes. There’s room for possibility, creativity, and openness.
Do you look inside your problem for the answer? Do you get stuck in a pattern of overthinking?
If so, you know what you want, see yourself doing the opposite, and feel stuck in a holding pattern. It makes sense that you get stuck. When you focus on the problem, you get more problem. You just end up feeding your frustration.
You’re not alone. Very bright people are usually highly articulate – especially to themselves. They can easily begin to believe their own brilliance and gravitate back to repetitive thinking – even when it’s clearly not working.
So what does help you get out of the holding pattern?
Allow yourself to receive a radically different perspective. I use the word ‘receive’ deliberately. To ‘receive’ suggests an openness, a lack of judgment about what might be right or best. With receptivity, your new perspective will meet you half way. It will find you.
When you tell yourself to think more, work harder or be smarter, you inadvertently create a contraction – in your body as well as in your thinking. Check if this is true. Notice. What happens when you’re overthinking a problem? Do you sense the endless concentric circles, ever tighter? Is the solution to your problem any closer?
Now try the opposite.
Tell yourself that you can let go and relax with this process. Play with the idea that what you need is already here, waiting for you to create space for it. In this way, you can deliberately shift into a state conducive to flexible thinking. When you calm the angst around the ‘problem’, you can invite a state of being that is open, flexible, playful, and adaptive.
So how do you find your new perspective?
First, create calm by cleaning up any emotional stories.
“What am I believing that’s upsetting me? That I won’t find the answer? That if I don’t find it soon, I’ll fail in some way?”
“Am I willing to forgive myself for believing I’ll be ‘less-than’ for experiencing this stuck feeling?”
“In what way can I ensure my true self is operating in this process?”
Now that you’ve courageously uncovered what’s underneath your indecisiveness, give it what it needs. Draw on your best practices for self-soothing and validating.
Next, take a bird’s eye view.
“What’s the perspective I’m holding now?”
“What makes my current way of seeing the situation so compelling to me?”
“What if I let go of it? What then?”
“What other way could I look at this situation?“
These are big questions. Give them some of your precious time – without distractions.
Ultimately, you’ll be speeding up the process.
And isn’t that what you’re looking for?