Day 15: use the frame
Hello hello—can you believe how quickly this month is flying by? It's Day 15 and we’re halfway through Confidence Boot Camp! We hope you’re starting to see the results of your practice. As we’ve been saying all along, the most important thing you can do is practice, because we build confidence and resilience through increasing our awareness and practicing new thinking and feeling patterns.
Today we’re going to learn about a concept to help you build more cognitive or psychological confidence. It’s a tool called, “The Frame”, which we use in our coaching and development programs to help us “see” and interpret situations more clearly.
You might have heard of the idea of “reframing,” where you simply try to look at a situation from another point of view. The Frame is similar to this, but brings in some other important elements. I’ll show you how it works.
We all have a world view—the way we see and interpret the world, and make meaning of the situations that we encounter. Our worldview is shaped by our experiences as we grow up—and influenced by our families, teachers, culture, peers, and environments. But sometimes we forget that we’ve all had very different experiences as we’ve grown up, so sometimes our view and our interpretations of the world are very different. It’s not a bad thing—it’s just different.
The Frame helps us understand the relationships between our thinking/interpretations, our feelings, our actions, and the results we get. Let me show you how it works:
See: Our beliefs, our interpretations, our values—our “story” of why things are the way they are.
Feel: The way we see triggers a feeling response—an emotion. Sometimes the feeling comes first, and we then assign a reason, or a value to it. For example, if I wake up feeling below the line (remember The Line?) then I might start to search my memory and remember the argument I had with my colleague yesterday that left me feeling frustrated and angry. Ah ha! That’s the reason.
Do: Feelings usually prompt an action—something to DO. We either try to address the story or the feeling by doing something in response. Maybe we want to change the feeling or the situation, so we do something.
Get: When I do something, I get a result—an outcome, a product or a new situation. This result then confirms or challenges my original story.
Here’s a simple example. We usually try to think of a situation where we’re not getting the results we want. I’ll use a recent example from my own life.
My neighbor has been doing a remodeling/reconstruction project on his home for most of the past year. When he started, he said it would take 2-3 months, and he apologized in advance for the disruption to the neighborhood. All good.
However, it’s now 11 months later, and it’s still not finished. At times, the construction workers play loud music, use noisy equipment, and work late at night, and it’s very disturbing. Often, my neighbor is traveling, so he is not home to know what is going on. He has provided me with his phone number in case I have any concerns.
Let’s try the frame here:
Think: It would be really easy to think that my neighbor doesn’t care about the impact of his construction on the rest of the neighborhood. That has been (sometimes late at night) my “story”.
Feel: When I believe this, I feel annoyed, misled, frustrated, and sometimes helpless. The loud music playing at 11 pm really grates on my nerves.
Do: Most of the time, not much. Because I want to maintain a good relationship with my neighbor in the long run, and I know it will be temporary. Sometimes, I politely ask the workers to turn it down. Sometimes, I text my neighbor and let him know how bad it is.
Get: Some change, but the pattern usually repeats. This reinforces my belief that my neighbor doesn’t care.
So in the frame, we have what we call “power corners”. These are the places where we could change something—either the way we see the situation, or how we respond. Most of the time, people just try to do something different, without considering that if we look at the situation from a new perspective, it might actually change our feeling response, our action response, and ultimately, the result we get.
In the example, if I consider that my neighbor might be having difficulty finding consistent labor because there is a lot of construction going on in our area right now, I might feel more empathy and compassion for him. Can you imagine how frustrated he might feel with this long delay?
If I feel more empathy or compassion, I might then choose to act a little more patient. If it goes beyond my limit, then I’ll text him to let him know what’s going on, because he might be traveling.
The result I hope I’ll get from this new approach is what I wanted from the beginning—to keep a friendly relationship with my neighbor. Who knows—maybe someday I’ll be doing a remodeling project and need him to be patient with me.
An important aspect of using the frame is understanding that it’s a good way for you to unpack your own point of view, feeling and behavioral responses. But keep in mind, that whenever two or more people are interacting, we have multiple frames going on, with multiple points of view, feelings, and action impulses.
Try the frame with a situation you’re facing where you might be feeling stuck, or not getting what you want. Walk through it with another person. You don’t have to solve it the first time around—just understand your own Frame.
What does the Frame have to do with confidence? Sometimes our confidence suffers because we don’t see things accurately. We may judge ourselves too harshly or allow negative thinking to get in the way of trying new things, or speaking up for what we need, because we have an inaccurate perspective.
The Frame gives us a way to stage a reality check for ourselves. The more accurately we can see a situation, the better our chances of addressing it in a way that enables us to feel empowered, in control, and ultimately, more confident.
Thanks for being with us again today, and we look forward to the next few days together as we head into the home stretch of our 30-day Confidence Boot Camp.
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