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How to befriend winter (when summer is your BFF)

Throughout the past several weeks, most of the Northern Hemisphere was been under a deep freeze. Even the usually mild-weathered Vancouver, had a week-long snow fest (oh, the horror). This caused me to think more and more about how I could befriend my least favorite season – wintertime.  Sorry, winter, but it’s true. I don’t like you nearly as much as the warmer seasons. But if you can’t beat it, then you are well advised to join it. If you are also a fair-weather person, you’ll want to continue reading.

Have you’ve been caught in the recent deep freeze which has spread across the Northern Hemisphere?

Between the scraping, shoveling, slipping and sliding, snow is really only fun when you don’t have to go to work in it. It’s just not fun. Many of the activities which bring me joy, are compromised when it’s so cold outside. Not to mention the effort and frustration of coaxing your little ones into all of their winter gear. And trying to keep them from continually loosing their hats and mittens while at school.

Winter is just so inconvenient, right?

If it’s not snowing, it’s still cold, dark and often rainy. That is almost worse than the snow! Agh. Can you tell I’m not a fan of winter? And yet, since it inevitably comes around every year, does is it really make sense to fight it? Would it not be great to actually embrace it? Dare I say, love it?

Do you want to learn to love winter?

If you are scratching your head about how you could possibly grow to love winter, then you may be intrigued to play with me a bit. And partake in a short self-experiment. But first, a bit of background.

Part of a coaches’ toolkit is a technique to help their clients get un-stuck. To take a negative way of looking at something and change it to one which works. Part of this technique is helping coachees fully understand that they always have a choice about how they see things.  They can come up with a more useful and enjoyable perspective. And also, think of new ways to succeed in less than ideal situations.  

Are you interested in doing a little coaching experiment with me?

By the way, I also teach this skill within The Self Coach Approach, my program in which shows people how to coach themselves. CLICK here to find out more about my program. It teaches you exactly how to lead your self-talk to help you look at a bad situation from a more useful perspective. This is followed by a specific technique to create a powerful action plan, from the vantage point of his new perspective.  Interested in learning more about my next It’s Your Time to Shine Mastermind which teaches this approach? Want to learn how to coach yourself into the life you really want? Then CLICK HERE to put your name on the waitlist for the next.

This coaching tool helps people look at reality in a way which will serve them, not work against them.

I’ve also used this tool many, many times during 1:1 coaching sessions with my wonderful clients. Usually, for more pertinent problems than accepting the weather.  But this example is perfect for our little experiment in this blog. Of course, you can use this technique for more serious topics once you understand how it works.

Want to join me for a self-coaching ride?

Below, I will go through the individual steps, so you can see how the technique. I will also share a sample of what my self coaching inner dialogue would sound like, given the winter example. That way, you can see how the technique lands.

Self-Coaching steps to change the way you look at winter:

1.Identify the topic. Articulate the topic do you want to explore in 5 words or less.

Me: I want to befriend winter and enjoy it.

If you could not fail, what would be the ideal outcome you want to achieve around this goal?

Me: I want to look forward to winter like I do summer.

2.How do you currently feel about this topic?  Write one word or phrase down on a blank piece of paper.

Me: Dread

3.List different ways you could view this topic instead. Try a minimum of 4 additional ways you could look at this topic (perspectives), without worrying about how you would do these. Write each one down wherever you want on the page, for example in a circle.

  1. This may feel hard, because after all, you are doing this exercise because you feel stuck.
  2. It can be helpful to use opposites.

Me: Anticipation, not the end of the world, a change, an opportunity for joy

4.Examine each perspective separately. Be curious what could be possible in each of the choices? Really try to embody each approach and “try each one on”, as though they were different outfits. What does this one feel like? How about the next one?

  1. The idea is to see that there are many different ways you could view the topic, besides the perspective which has you feel stuck.

Me:

Anticipation – I could get as excited about winter time activities, as I do about those in the summer

Not the end of the world – There are worse things in life than rain and snow. Get a grip, get over it and move on.

A change – Winter brings variety and a change in my family’s routine

An opportunity for joy – There are many fun activities and unique experiences I can’t do any other time of the year.

5.Pick your favorite viewpoint. From all of the perspectives, which one is most aligned with your values and likely to create the outcome you want?

Me: I choose the “opportunity for joy” perspective, because it aligns best with my value around living a great, enjoyable life.

6.Brainstorm X number of ways you could tackle your topic, which are aligned with this viewpoint

  1. Brainstorming is about letting your imagination run wild, without judgment, and putting everything down you could think of on a given topic. Some should intentionally be way outside of he box.
  2. Aim for at leas 20 etc. entries

Me (I won’t do 20 examples, but here are a few):  Take my family skiing, go ice skating together in the rec center, snow shoe in the local hills or to a lonely alpine cabin at New Years, toboggan, be gentler on the environment by taking transit (to avoid driving in the snow), enjoy the sun in the snow at the beach, skate outside on a frozen lake, enjoy being less active, do inside sports like yoga, indoor biking, weight training, do arts and crafts with my daughter, learn how to do biathlons, Ski to work, check off home improvement projects, be grateful to be alive regardless of the weather, enjoy snuggling in front of the fire…

7. Pick the one(s) you want to try

Me: go ice skating together in the rec center, snow shoe in the local hills, toboggan, take transit when it snows and save the environment, enjoy the sun in the snow at the beach, do inside sports like yoga, indoor biking, weight training, do arts and crafts inside with my daughter, encourage my partner to check off home improvement projects, , be grateful to be alive regardless of the weather, enjoy snuggling in front of the fire.

8.Make a detailed action plan of how you would start and what you need to do to solve your problem from that chosen viewpoint

  1. Use a leaf diagram, a tree, a mindmap etc.

Me: I made a winter bucket list of the above items (and added some more), which I can read and action whenever I feel blue about winter.

9.Commit to making it happen. Declaring to yourself and/or another person what your intentions are.

Me: I shared my list with the rest of my family and put it on our fridge to help us come up with fun things to do, even though it is winter.

What opened up for you during in this exercise?

Try this technique with something you are resisting and see what happens. What did you notice? How might this technique help you? Don’t just read over this. Go ahead and try it. Seriously.

I want to invite you to try this for yourself, whether on the same topic or another relatively easy one for start.

Then, as you get the hang of it, try it on more challenging topics. See what shifts for you. Notice that you do have a choice how you see things. And also notice, how much better your action plan is, when it is driven by a more beneficial perspective versus the one you had on the onset.

In good health,

Simone

Namaste,
Simone

**********************

I am available for a select group of one-on-one coaching clients. Besides personal coaching, I also teach people how to coach themselves, either one-on-one or within a Mastermind group. Which method would work best for you? Check out the options on my website by CLICKING HERE.

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