Framing is essentially how you see the world. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, it is quite normal to have a constant running commentary in your head. This can serve a useful purpose as you take note of your surroundings and process the myriad possible responses and actions.

However, it is also common to experience unhelpful, interminable internal debate. Rather than leading towards clarity, it may lead to another F—fear. If you live in an internal world that is framed by fear, then you will naturally respond to it. The amygdala will dictate ‘fight or flight’.

In the jungle, a flight response may be life-saving. The ‘urban jungle’, though, is a much more benign environment. Here, in all but the rarest of circumstances, there is time for reflection; you can choose a frame of reference that focuses on the opportunities rather than the threats. Not only can you afford to take risks but quite simply you can’t afford not to. It is only by exploring and experimenting that you are going to reach your full potential.

Cultivating the habit of reframing challenge as opportunity is a key tool for unleashing potential. When you succeed in your objective, savour the moment and be intentional about locking the sensations and emotions in your memory bank. These will serve you well for future challenges. If you don’t succeed, stand firm in your determination to turn stumbling blocks into building blocks. Identify yourself as somebody who is enriched by experience and who is not prepared to inhabit a static comfort zone.

Three steps to framing challenge as opportunity

1. Consider your current frame of reference by reflecting on the following questions:

  • What opportunities have you sought or shrunk from in the past year?
  • Do you tend to focus on the things you can or can’t do?
  • Are you able to laugh at yourself and see that you are a ‘wonderful work in progress’, or is your perfectionism getting in the way of ‘giving it a go’?
  • When did you last encounter failure, and how did you respond?
  • What lessons have you learnt from failure? x Is your fear of embarrassment limiting you?

2. Think of three things you would attempt if you knew nobody was looking or keeping the score.

We can be shackled by self-consciousness and fear of embarrassment. Yet very often nobody is paying attention and, even if they are, we can be our harshest critics.

3. Choose one of these three things and prepare yourself to take the plunge and ‘have a go’.

Set yourself up by envisaging how you will feel on completion. Remind yourself that very few mistakes are life-threatening. Not being prepared to make any mistakes is certainly life-limiting. Internalise that your most embarrassing moments are generally trivial and transitory to onlookers, as indeed are theirs to you.

For more detail, read A to Z: Your Navigator to Success. Click to buy.

Please contact me to find out more about group and individual coaching sessions and to obtain a free companion guide to A to Z: Your Navigator to Success.

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