Archive for November 2013

Feeling stuck? Re-frame your view

Do you feel like you don’t know what to do next—like your life is a frustrating puzzle that you can’t seem to solve?

You’re not alone. I think everyone has felt stuck at some point in their life.

We get too much into the weeds of where we’re headed and can’t see the way out, so we stop and wait. What if, instead, we try a change of perspective to give ourselves clear guidance?

Moving forward

Maybe you’ve been wanting to open a business, but you’re getting bogged down in the details and have stopped progress. Maybe you’re at a cross-roads in your life and can’t figure out what you want or need to do next.

If you’ve been stuck and are thinking “Why can’t I move forward?”, I’ll ask you the same question I ask my life-coaching clients.

If you knew what you needed to know to figure this out—what would you need to know?

I’ll admit, It sounds kind of silly and frustrating. You might think “Well, I wouldn’t need help if I knew that.”, but it’s a surprisingly powerful question.

When my clients answer, it’s usually something like “Well, I need to know that 2 + 2 = 4 and then I can move forward.” Then I’ll ask them the question they’ve been stuck on again and they’ll answer “I don’t know”, even though they just answered it.

Re-framing the question brings out a clear answer. It gets us out of the tall grass to where we can see our surroundings and where we need to move. Shifting perspective just a little bit can be the difference between banging your head against the wall and figuring out you can just walk around the wall.

If you’ve been feeling stuck, write down what you think your road-block is and start attacking it from different angles. Phrase the problem as a question and jumble the words around. You’ll be surprised how often a subtle shift in phrasing can unlock doors in your head that hold the answers you’ve been looking for.

Can’t keep up with life? Force yourself to slow down.

Life moves fast and seems to go faster with each passing day. And as things fly by, it’s easy to get frustrated and stressed out. We stop appreciating what we have and get caught up in just trying to keep up.

Whenever I catch myself moving too fast, I force myself to slow down and listen to the stories going on around me.

The story of a steak

Since I started my farm, I’ve had to learn a lot about patience and slowing down. Nature has its own schedule and trying to force it to go faster usually has unintended consequences.

If I push my chickens to lay more eggs, the eggs don’t taste as good. If I over-work the soil to get more one season, it doesn’t produce as much the next. Everywhere a farmer tries to push, nature pushes back.

Being forced to slow down, I have time to pay attention and it’s made me a happier person.

An example: Most people don’t think much about the food they buy. The story of their dinner steak begins at the grocery store and ends a couple of days later on their plate. They eat the steak, it might make them happy for a brief moment, and then it’s gone.

Since I raise cattle, the story of a steak is much different to me. When I see a slice of beef, I think of the two years it took to raise that beef cow, of all that happened to it and me during that time. I think of how long it took for that steak to reach my dinner table and I slow down.

In slowing down and thinking through the story of the steak, I appreciate it more. I savor it and that makes me happier.

The story of everything else

Learning to appreciate the stories I see on my farm, I’ve tried to apply the lesson elsewhere in my life. In moments of frustration, I force myself to pause and think through what’s going on around me.

Why is this person being rude? Maybe I should find out what happened to them today before I get angry with them.

Why does this new pair of pants cost so much? Maybe I should think through what it took to make them before I get frustrated.

All sorts of things that used to stress me out don’t seem nearly as big a deal when I slow down and try to listen to their story. And overall, things just seem to move slower and seem more manageable.