Most of the time, I think of my business as a journey of personal development, through which I learn and grow up a little bit more every day, while having the privilege of helping others learn and grow as well.
Sometimes I see my business as a laboratory where I can experiment with new strategies and techniques for marketing my own services, then passing along what I learn to creative professionals who are ready to learn too. In this lab, there are no real mistakes; there are only opportunities to do better.
So when the pandemic hit, it was clear to me that both of those frames would be helpful. In the lab, there would be lots of new experiments to try. And the journey was sure to test my flexibility and resilience.
I was asking my clients, "How strong will you be? Will you rise to the challenge?" And indeed many have risen to the challenge by reframing their lives and their businesses.
And you can too...
According to William B. Irvine, author of The Stoic Challenge, when something unexpected happens, we have 5 seconds before reacting negatively to reframe the experience. (You can listen to him describe reframing and other Stoic strategies on this episode of The Happiness Lab).
I actually think we have a bit more time to work with and can even apply this strategy retroactively to setbacks, including the most recent one.
In Chapter 7 of The Stoic Challenge, entitled "Playing the Frame Game," Irvine describes the power of reframing to “prevent setbacks from disrupting your tranquility.” He writes, “While the Stoics knew that while our subconscious mind is inclined to frame events in ways that trigger negative emotions, we can substantially undermine that tendency by consciously reframing events.
“We can, for example, think of our lives as an art gallery, in which the paintings are the events we experience daily. Although we have limited ability to control what paintings hang in this gallery, we have extensive control over how they are framed, and it turns out that framing makes all the difference. A painting that looks hideous in one frame might look sublime in another. In art gallery terms, then, an optimist is someone who customarily places life’s paintings into frames that make them look beautiful, and a pessimist is someone who places them into ugly frames.”
If the recent setback has affected your business, how can you reframe it to set the stage for the changes you need to make, to lay the groundwork to move yourself in a positive direction?
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