I think it’s safe to say that we all know about the concept of the ‘downward spiral’, and just by thinking about the word itself, you’ve probably brought to mind examples from moments in your life or moments in the lives of those around you. You can just imagine one of those days where you hit the snooze button too many times, you’re running late, you don’t get to eat breakfast before going out the door, you’re delayed on your way to work by red lights or issues with trains, and the day just seems to get worse from there. All the while you’re just thinking about getting through the day so you have a bit of a break before doing it all over again tomorrow.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have had quite a few Solution Focused Coaching sessions with people who have used the phrase ‘positive spiral’ to refer to some of the things we’ve been talking about. The people I’ve been talking with have all been at various points of not being happy with their job, feeling that every day is like the one I briefly described above, wanting things to change and not being sure about where to go from here. So when we start talking about what they’d want to get from speaking with me, how they would want things to be and how they’d be if they knew they were heading in the right direction for them, this opens up a wide range of possibilities that has been surprising for them.
They have come with these great questions and dilemmas about their purpose in life, feeling lost and wanting to be on the road to enjoying their life and making a difference, and what is surprising to them is the answers to those questions above that I am asking them. The answers tend to start with little things being different, such as looking forward to an aspect of their day which means that they get ready in the morning with energy and enthusiasm, some even with music playing. Then this might lead them on to talking about taking time to eat some breakfast or take something with them to eat on their commute, leading on to having more energy and an ability to focus while at work.
Others still talk about having a morning like that leading to even bigger things in their day such as being able to confidently manage rush hour on public transportation, confidently interacting with (and sometimes even challenging) their colleagues and superiors, or even getting through their day in a way that allows them to have enough energy to continue that job search after a day at work.
When I ask them, what difference might that make to see yourself getting ready with energy and enthusiasm, they talk about being in a better place to face the day. So when I ask them later in the conversation about what difference it makes for them to be in that better place when they’re going into work, they talk about it as a ‘positive spiral’ as they talk about it then being easier to interact with colleagues or challenge their manager in a confident and constructive way. This then continues to spiral in a direction that is useful and productive for them, as opposed to feeling like life is spiralling out of control.
When our conversations finish, these people have often reflected that things appear more manageable and realistic now that they have spoken about things in this way. From that point, it is no surprise to me that they go off and begin making changes so that they can live their lives with a sense of purpose while enjoying what they are doing!
Thinking about this, if you knew that you were going to be in a place where you were living your life with a clear sense of purpose and enjoying that life, what are some things that you might you notice about yourself as you go through your day?
If you noticed those things happening, what difference might that make to you as you continue your day?
How might this show to others (family, friends, partners, colleagues, etc.)?
Living your life in this way, even if just for a few moments or a few hours, what difference might it make to you when you start thinking about your future?
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All the best,