Julia had been working as a content writer for her company full-time for almost a decade. But under new management, Julia was moved from full-time writing to part-time writing. At first, she was angry about the change. She felt she'd lost a decade of her life to a company that she felt didn't want her.
When we had our call I challenged Julia to look for her silver lining. I simply asked, “What does the change in hours add to your life?”. Julia thought it over and whispered excitedly “I have more time”. Why was she excited? Because there were things she wanted to do, but couldn't due to the lack of time. This includes further education. Her hours left her mentally and creatively exhausted, she couldn't summon the extra energy to study and write. She now had the opportunity to pursue one of her dreams. She moved from being a passenger and driven by someone else, to wresting the steering wheel and slipping into the driver's seat.
Julia spoke to her employer and discover the new company had a program that helped those working toward their degrees so not only was Julia able to continue her education, she did so at a reduced cost. By thinking it through, Julia reframed a negative situation and created something positive from it. She turned from a whiner into a warrior.
What Is Reframing?
Have you ever noticed how putting a favourite photo, picture, or painting in a new frame can bring out certain colours in the piece? The right frame can give it a whole new look, and even change the overall energy or style of the room where it’s displayed.
Here are 3 images, with different frames.
You get to choose the frames for your photos and pictures. The same is true for your outlook in life. You can’t always control what circumstances happen to you or what actions other people take that may impact you. But you can control your attitude and adjust it so that you can go from passenger to driver in every given situation.
Why Does Reframing Matter?
Reframing allows you to take back your power. When you’re not focused on actively reframing situations through a positive attitude, you can become trapped in your own journey. You feel like you're stuck, and doomed to being driven around in circles around an event or circumstance. You've become a passenger because you've forgotten how to drive. With reframing, you shift from the passenger seat to the one in the driver’s seat.
It’s true you don’t always get a choice in what happens to you, but you do get to choose which lens you view your life through. If you want to, you can choose to view it from an active, forward-moving standpoint and look for the good. You can choose to view this from the driver's seat where you are in control, rather than the passenger's seat where you are not. This can open up new opportunities and show you possibilities that you may have only dreamed of before.
What Situations Do You Need to Reframe?
It’s time to take a hard look at your life—both personally and professionally. What’s going on that you’re driving around in circles? Where have you been accepting of a situation as a passenger, rather than the driver of your own destiny?
If you’re struggling to know which situations you need to reframe, think about the ones that you keep bringing up to your friends. Every time you get together for drinks with your girlfriends or when you call your best friend, this is what you complain about. You analyse it repeatedly, pointing out how you were wronged. Maybe you were maligned. Maybe you did deserve better. Maybe they really were out to get you. In airing your grievances you've diminished their power somewhat.
But if they keep returning? They're driving. It's time for you to shift out of reverse, and push the pedal to the metal. It's time for your complaint companion to reading the map, to be a good passenger or get out of the vehicle.
My deeper question to you is this: are you going to let these situations define you or are you going to find a way to reframe and drive in a new direction? Because the simple truth is you can decide if you're the driver or the passenger—it’s all in how you frame it.