A simple step: reframe

Last week my ten-year old son and I watched the replay of the first game of the NBA finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.    We were rooting for the Golden State Warriors, his stand-in team given that his beloved Celtics will sit this one out.  Thanks to his interest, I stumbled onto a terrific example of one of my favorite transition tools  – reframing.

Have you ever found value in expressing something in a different way? Or looking at an issue from a different angle?  Welcome to reframing.


Thanks to my new found love of the Golden State Warriors, I happened to catch, Practice Makes Perfect Silliness (NY Times, 5/31/15, SP1+) , a story about the team’s unconventional practice regime.   The coach allows the team to fool around during warm ups.  The team launches a series of court length (92 ft) shots along with other antics, like “Heaves that graze light fixtures and ricochet off shot clocks, total prayers that occasionally reach the rim…”

Sounds useless, right?  A physics professor at the Naval Academy interviewed for the article disagrees.  “The Warriors are giving themselves a psychological edge.”  He reasoned that the hardest shot in basketball – the 3 point shot – seems a lot closer after trying to make a shot from clear across the court.   The silliness allows the team to reframe their concept of difficulty.  After all – a twenty-foot shot hardly seems difficult after trying ninety-two foot throws.

What if awareness of transition allowed you to reframe something that previously stood in your way?  An expectation.  A barrier.  A fear?

I remember a women, Rebecca, who talked with me at length about her two life transitions.  One occurred after her youngest son was diagnosed with a learning disability, the second when she decided to try entrepreneurship by starting a commercial baking company.   Early in her first transition she was totally unglued.   She and her husband agreed that she would step away from her career to get more engaged in her son’s needs.  She was near forty at the time.    “I didn’t know my identity outside of the cloak of title, paycheck, client.”

Reframing wasn’t easy.  After all, we are all focused on our own 3 point shots.   Rebecca tried a lot of things as ahe explored this new way of being. Nothing was an immediate win…

Of transition she said,”I did not expect to change as much as I did.  I realize now that I was offered a chance to find out who I really was.  The transition process has given me a generosity of spirit that I would never have found…”

Very often when we miss our own 3 point shots, we heap on thoughts of inadequacy and self doubt.   Imagine all the energy you’d have if you thought differently at that very moment.

Learning new ways to reframe a situation is an invaluable tool in transition.  It pivots us toward learning.  In this frame, each step offers us a greater understanding of who we are.

Even if silliness does not prevail in your transition – my guess is that learning something more about yourself undoubtedly will.

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