If love hurts sometimes, so does life. How we respond in those moments of trial can make or break us – and make or break our relationships.
When I take people through my Living Coaching™ process – part of the journey involves learning how to do a “Reality Reframe™”. The process works most effectively if you use a four-colour pen, or use four separate pens. The idea of using colour is to code your thinking styles to make sure they are well-balanced.
My own ThinkPen® uses the standard colours: black, green, blue, and red.
We’ll use the blank thinking ink first to represent the clarity of black-and-white thinking. When ‘stuff’ happens we need to be honest. Our thinking needs to begin free from the clouding effect of emotions, or bias, or prejudice, or optimism/pessimism. Describe the facts of the situation in black-and-white – and tell the truth. What’s the ‘reality’ that we need to reframe?
Next, we’ll use green-ink-thinking to explore the ecology of the real situation. The situation may seem all bad, but I promise you it isn’t. Life always moves towards some kind of equilibrium. In the body this is called ‘homeostasis’. In Nature we call it ‘the balance of Nature’. Using the green ink, sketch out the yin and the yang of the situation by answering these two questions:
- What’s good about this situation?
- What’s bad about this situation?
Only by finding the value in a situation can we hope to reframe the reality. This is at the heart of becoming more resilient – a key skill shown by creatives and entrepreneurs. The ecology of any situation moves towards a balance. We will need to use our creativity to find a way to keep the benefits of the situation, and transcend the pitfalls. Viktor Frankl wrote a magnificent book entitled, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Viktor highlights that there is something in us that really benefits from finding meaning in setbacks – a reason, a purpose, a value. We can create or even invent this meaning – it is the fact that we’ve found meaning that propels us forwards. Viktor should know – he found meaning even in the deep despair of the Prison Camp.
Blue is the colour of Blue Sky thinking – the kind of thinking associated with positivity, creativity, and the Big Picture. For this application of a ThinkPen® process, the blue is going to represent the distance the sky has from the event. It is the power of overview and hindsight. So if you were to be transported up above the situation so that you could see all the events from beginning to end that led to your current challenge, you could answer these questions:
- What would I have to have done differently to have avoided this situation?
- If this situation was to begin to arise again, what would the warning signs be?
- What would I do differently next time?
- What have I learned?
Red is the colour of command and of action – just think of road signs. Given the benefits you’ve found in the truth of the situation, the meaning you have gleaned, and the lessons you have learned, what action will you take now? There is always some action you can take to get you on a better course. Actions, when they are physical and obvious are much more motivating so ask yourself:
- What is my first physical action step to move me forward?
Just like printing needs the four colours CMYK, so also your mind needs four ways to process matters if it’s to get the picture right. Using this simple four step/four ink process will empower you to Reframe Reality so that it serves your highest good and best purpose. Don’t just think about it, ink aobut it!
If you’re a Mind Mapper, using the four-colour ThinkPen® process works brilliantly. Not only will you get the differentiation of the four colours, you will also be able to use visual-spatial intelligence to map out the four thinking styles. This in and of itself will let you know immediately if you’re giving too much attention to one thinking style!
Thinking Styles Questionnaire – if you’re curious about your dominant thinking style at the moment, you can download a questionnaire here. Remember, I’m happy to support you so feel free to email your results to: firstname.lastname@example.org