Mission Impossible or Mission I’m Possible?
This is a reflective blog that is about looking back and questioning ourselves and our behaviour and how we can learn from situations that have been imposed on us.
How good have you been at coping with changes that have been imposed on you? When you look back, many changes have maybe appeared to be a lot bigger and a lot more difficult to adapt to, however ‘time’ does seem to help and the old clichés about ‘time being a great healer’ and ‘one day we will look back and laugh at all this’ can often become a reality.
The trick, if there even is such a thing, is about how we choose to allow ourselves to move on and simply get on with things. I wrote about the power and influence of nostalgia in my blog ‘The Way We Were’ and for some people, nostalgia stops progress, leaving people bitter and yearning for the way things used to be.
As you read this, you may well be in a situation where you have moved on and can take a moment to look back and really think about you behaved, coped and ultimately adapted to the changes. In some situations we can become our own worst enemy, succumbing to our own limiting beliefs and doubts that nag our consciousness. Worse still, we can wallow in our friends and families’ sympathy and negativity, again holding us back preventing us from moving on.
At times the ability to deal with situations can appear to be overwhelming for us, with so much to think about and cope with we can feel very stuck and so choose to opt for something familiar such as the past. It can feel like mission impossible to move forward. A good friend and brilliant coach Chris Farmer from the Corporate Coach group has an excellent way of looking at this, and he breaks it down in four key areas then a fifth transformational one.
When presented with a difficult situation, we can find ourselves ‘living’ in a certain state or time, identifying where we are in this time can help us to move on. So imagine a situation where you have had to cope with something difficult, perhaps redundancy, a relationship issue, or a problem with a friend. Have a look at these four areas and see which one related to your way of thinking.
Past Imperfect – this is when you look back, and try to think about what led up to that event happening and you start to apply ‘blame’. You might think that you could have done something different to prevent the situation so therefore blame yourself or perhaps you choose to blame someone else for the situation, lace this with anger and resentment and it becomes harder to adapt and move on.
Past Perfect – the home of nostalgia. The good old days, the way we were. When you are presented with an imposed change it is easy to slip back in to the halcyon days when things were comfortable and easier to deal with. Of course what many people soon realise as they crave these good old days, is that at the time they did not realise just how good it appeared to be. So they claw on all the more, adding more resistance, which of course is futile.
Future Imperfect – When people make an attempt to accept change, they can adopt an approach where they look at the past and use it to predict the future. This throws up all sorts of thoughts and conversations that can include phrases like ‘that is or could be a good idea, but the only problem is…’ or ‘we tried that before and it won’t work’. This false prediction can hinder even the best attempts to move on. In reality the Future Imperfect is really a mask of the Past Imperfect and Past Perfect mixed together. When voiced in an extreme way, it can come across as stubborn, inflexible and set in ones ways, which ultimately creates and even harder situation.
Future Perfect – A place where we can dream, and create a new future for ourselves. A place of hope and false reality where potentially we bury our heads in the sand in the hope that it will all just simply go away and everything will be just fine. This is mythical place, and can lead us down a path that is far from healthy.
So what is the solution, can we actually move on? Well, yes, we can. How we move on is down to personal choice, and choice plays a big role. People like choice; it offers options, allowing us for feel more assertive, confident and in control. Choice and control when mixed together can be a heady and healthy cocktail and create a fifth place one that sits right in the middle of our four-squared chart.
Welcome to Mission I’m Possible!
Present Perfect – This is where we create a better place for ourselves; it is a healthy place, where change is represented as an opportunity and something to be welcomed. It means having a spring clean of past beliefs and suspending currents ones in order to be more open to possibilities and creating a different, more exciting future. Where instead of questioning with the word ‘why?’ we say ‘why not?’ and bring in phrases like ‘what is the worse thing that can happen?’
In order to get to the Present Perfect we have to have visited at least one of the four other places and at some point made a choice to move on. When you look back at the things you have had to deal with, take a moment, as yourself where did you spend most of your time during the change process and what was it that finally made you move from your own past or future to your ‘present perfect’? With this in mind, create yourself a strong memory, and call on it again and again when you are presented with change again. You could even help someone else move through change this way too as it doesn’t require any advice to be shared or offered or worse an opinion! It simply says ‘where do you see yourself and your thoughts at this time?’ The rest is then up to the individual. Mission impossible, no thanks, Mission I’m Possible!
Thanks for reading this blog, if you need one to one coaching in areas that can help you adapt to change then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org in complete confidence.