Here is another story. A client came in to enhance her business success. Her problem? A feeling of not being “good enough” or “smart enough” — in a nutshell, a lack of confidence. She found herself feeling anxious and unable to speak up during business meetings–even when she had valuable things to say.
I found out what she wanted instead. We began the work. Suddenly, she burst out angrily at me:
“Why are you laughing? You’re trivializing my problem.”
I answered her: “That’s right. I am. And so will you. It IS trivial. Ridiculous, in fact.”
That’s what we want to create! A “problem” so small and trivial that you can’t even see it or experience it. When she feels more confident and “good enough,” in fact, there is no problem. It dissolves.
What she didn’t yet realize is that the work was already unfolding and being successful…we were working on confidence building. The presenting problem: she was unable to speak her mind. Yet, suddenly, here she was speaking her mind, to me. Loud and clear. Yay!
I’m remembering an episode of Star Trek. (I LOVED that show.) In it there was an alien creature which fed on negative emotion. The more angry and violent negative emotions it could generate in the people around it, the stronger it got. When Kirk & Spock et. al. started laughing (with the help of Dr. McCoy and his “laughing gas”) well the monster weakened and decided to leave.
Here’s what clients begin to understand via my work with them: A problem is not REAL. It is conjured in the mind and body. It is merely a frame of mind, a way of thinking. And that is very, very subject to change. A problem can be reframed to the point it is un-conjured. That’s what we do in my office.
When the woman left, she commented that her breathing felt easier. We tested her new responses. She thought the previously “anxious-making” thoughts, and anxiety was a no-show. Her body language had changed, as well. She was speaking louder and sitting taller. Her eye contact was more direct. I notice these things. Confidence seeds sprouting all over. I guess it really was a trivial non-problem after all, wasn’t it?