Despite the challenges that this new remote work situation has created for her, and a heap more mistreatment she’s getting, she finds that working from home and reducing her daily commute by 2 hours has given her a brand new perspective on life. She has more positive energy and critical breathing room (and additional control over her own time and how she manages that time) so she can finally engage in the necessary steps to pivot her career to leverage her talents to do more meaningful work with people she respects.
She has reframed her thinking about this difficult time, and embraced the potential positive—the concept that she can finally now take the reins on her career, and commit to doing something proactive to change her situation.
Other examples of positive reframes that can change your perspective and trajectory:
Pervasive negative thought: My teen son had such a great summer trip planned that he was so looking forward to. Now it’s all canceled and he is completely derailed and lost.
Positive Reframe: Even though Dan’s summer plans have had to be cancelled, perhaps there’s a summer internship that he can do online that would move him forward in an exciting way, that might even be better for him. I’m going to help him with the process of exploring that.
Pervasive negative thought: I hate my job but with the pandemic, there’s no way I can look for a new job now. I’m too scared about losing my paycheck.
Positive Reframe: Even though the pandemic has changed the face of employment for many people, others ARE landing great new jobs, and are expanding their networks online and finding great mentors and sponsors that can help them find terrific new roles, now or in the future. I’m going to start doing that today.
Pervasive negative thought: I feel so isolated and alone right now. I hate this! I miss my friends and my days just go on endlessly.
Positive Reframe: While I can’t physically see my friends as I used to, or do the social activities like singing or going to the gym together that made me so happy, there have to be things I can do that would fill my day with more meaning and joy. Where can I help out, connect with others, and offer my talents and abilities to people who are in need? What new ways can I be of help?
Pervasive negative thought: I’ve interviewed for 10 jobs and I don’t move forward to the next round. I’m obviously a loser—I don’t have anything going for me.
Positive Reframe: Do I actually, really, want these jobs? Or am I pursuing them only because I think I have to? Maybe I’m not getting these because in my heart I don’t want to do this kind of work anymore and it would be more wasted time in my life if I got them? If that were true, what type of work do I really want to pursue at this stage in my life? Let me do some work now to figure that out.
The key steps to achieving and acting on the positive reframe are:
1. Gain greater awareness of what exactly is stressing and upsetting you most now and where you feel helpless (the “cost” of this situation.
Understand and recognize what you feel you’ve lost and why you are so upset. What is causing you the most distress? And how is this situation making you feel “less than” or unable to cope? How is it making you feel that you don’t have what it takes to thrive? What have you lost?
2. Be open to seeing the potential “benefits” of the situation
OK, so you’re clear on the negatives of this situation. What are the potential benefits? Perhaps you’ve been longing to write that memoir or start your blog or podcast. Could now be a perfect time? Perhaps your child lost her chance to go away to summer camp— could it be possible that something better is waiting in the wings for her? Perhaps those jobs in marketing that you’ve interviewed for and didn’t get are exactly the jobs you don’t want and wouldn’t thrive in. What roles call to you now to pursue?