Can a New Perspective Help You Solve an Old Problem?

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“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein

Often when we feel stuck it’s because we’re trying to solve a problem with the same approach that got us into trouble in the first place.  It’s like trying to fix a broken plate with the hammer we just used to smash it.

One reason coaching is effective is because it helps us see possibilities we were previously blind to (and let’s admit it: we all have blind spots).  It helps us see that small bottle of glue that is sitting on the shelf above the hammer.

This exercise is designed to help you discover a new perspective, tap into your internal wisdom, and see that bottle of glue (or closer to it, anyway).  All of which can lead to new ideas, alternative actions, and different results.

  1.  Think about a problem you have, the more upsetting, the better.  Rate how big the problem feels to you, on a scale of 1 to 10.
  2. Off the top of your head, what options occur to you for dealing with this problem?  How do you feel when you think about those options?
  3. Now find a photograph or drawing and get a piece of blank paper and a pen.  Set a timer for 10 minutes.  Turn the photograph or drawing upside-down and draw it, in as much detail as you can, on your blank piece of paper.  Don’t worry about finishing; just draw whatever you can get to before the timer goes off.  Also try not to worry about whether it’s “good” or not.  The important thing is that you draw the details, but for the sake of this exercise, it makes no difference whatsoever how good the final product is.
  1. Now set a timer for 3 minutes.  Stand up (if you’re not already) and put your hands on your hips.  Take a few, deep breaths.  Try to let go of any thoughts that arise—you will come back to them later.  Scan your body and take a moment to release any tension you notice.
    •  Now, for a few breaths, feel the weight of gravity on your body.  Let it pull your shoulders down away from your head.  Feel as if every particle of every atom in your body has dropped towards the center of the earth.  Let each exhale move down through your body, out the bottom of your feet, and deep into the earth.
    •  Now, for a few breaths, feel that an invisible string has been attached to the crown of your head and is pulling you upright.  With each inhale, your back becomes longer and your crown moves closer to the sky.
    •  Now continue to breathe with your hands on your hips, noticing what it feels like in your body to be both fully upright and supported by the ground beneath you.
  1.  When the timer is up, ask yourself these questions:
    1. How does your body feel right now?  What sensations do you notice?
    2. Think of the problem you identified earlier.  How big does it feel now, on a scale of 1-10?
    3. Does anything new occur to you about your problem?  How might you approach it differently?  What new options occur to you?

To find out about other ways coaching can help you overcome challenges and move towards your goals, click here.

2 thoughts on “Can a New Perspective Help You Solve an Old Problem?

  1. That’s brilliant, Meredith – thank you!
    I especially like the “turn the photo upside down” bit – that does challenge one’s perspective of, oh, everything!

    1. Thanks, Karen! I know I can use a new perspective quite often. I’m glad to hear this resonated and gave you an idea for how to do it yourself.

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