A Coaching Power Tool Created by Cindy Lima
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
We’re all familiar with being encouraged to “think outside the box.” And when we hear this, it’s likely that our response is try to be more creative or to think harder or ask ourselves what else we can do. However, if we continue to operate from the same point of view –- a paradigm we are likely not even conscious of — can we really think beyond our own self-imposed limits?
Each of us carries a unique perspective that has been influenced by our experiences, values, culture, education, successes, attitudes, personalities, emotions, and everything that contributes to our colorful,one-of-a-kind humanness. We can’t help but to see a challenge or a situation from our particular point of view, from the space we currently occupy in the world and through the lenses of our own life. When faced with a challenge we often believe and act on the first thoughts that come to mind. And our fears about the issue can lock us into narrow thinking, a sort of hunkering down of the thought process.
So, what if instead of launching ahead to solve a problem or face a challenge, we paused to understand our current perspective, its limits and the fears that could be holding us hostage? If we can understand and challenge ourselves to think beyond our “box”we can expand our potential options and that might lead us to richer solutions or understanding. But, we can only do this if we can first identify the box that constrains our thinking, ask ourselves what is leading us to think a certain way and then conceptualize things differently to realize a more diverse view. With this wider view we can allow ourselves to enjoy more creative and potentially freeing outcomes.
This power tool can help you to identify your box – your beliefs and fears – and provides an exercise to help you expand your thinking. A wider view of any situation leads to more diverse understanding, opportunity and learning.
When faced with a problem, challenge or task – and in order to gain a broader perspective – complete the following exercise using the chart provided:
- List the challenge you are facing
- What are your beliefs about this challenge?List three to five. (This is the hardest and most important part – trying to stand back and ask yourself what beliefs you are holding. What thoughts have gone through your head?)
- Now for each belief, describe what leads you to this belief
- Note any fears you have about each belief
- Answer “Yes” or “No” to the question: Is this belief a fact?
- For each belief, list 2-3 alternative beliefs. Some of these might include one that is the opposite of your original belief, the worst or most optimistic or even how someone else might think
- For each alternative belief, write three ideas that could support it
- Identify what you can learn or what opportunities could arise
Complete the exercise by filling in the chart below. Following the blank chart is an example of a completed exercise.