Burden or Blessing … It’s Up to You.

Have you ever said “I have to” … or maybe the more appropriate question is, how many times do you find yourself saying I have to?

Take a look at the two options below and decide which one sounds more like you…

Option 1:  I’ve got to go to work, I’ve got to do laundry, I’ve got to clean the house, I’ve got to wash the car, cook, pay bills, go to the grocery, finish that key project, get back to the client, take my kids to football practice, pay my taxes, set an alarm, work this weekend … the key words here are, “I’ve got to.”

Option 2:  I’m going to work, I’m doing the laundry, I’m cleaning the house, I’m taking the kids to the movies…  the key words here are “I’m going to” (with the inference being I’m in charge of me and what I’m doing).

This is what I refer to as “framing.”  Framing, whether done correctly or incorrectly, influences how people (including ourselves) think, process, and ultimately choose. 

The framing in Option 1 sends the message to our subconscious/conscious selves (and to others) that we are a “victim” … that what we are doing is a burden. It suggests that we’re doing something because someone or something is making us do it.

Take another look at both options.  Which one do you think sends the message that you are the decision maker … that you are in charge and control in of your life? Which one is the stronger message?

Which of the two options sounds most like the person you want to be, or like the kind of person you would want on your team?

Option 2’s framing clearly communicates us as being in the driver’s seat, making the choice; the in-charge-of us option.

Do you want to be the driver or a passenger?

Are you up for a challenge?

If so, the next time you are thinking about doing something, I challenge you to hit the pause button.  Then listen, really listen to the words you are hearing in your head. Does what you’re about to do feel like a blessing or a burden?  If the answer comes back as burden, it is really? Or could it be the way you’re framing it?

Invest a few minutes thinking deeply about why you’re doing whatever you’re about to do. We may not believe it, but we always have a choice.

Are you doing something because you love or care about someone?
Is the action a step toward having the life you want for yourself or your family?
Are you building skills you need to achieve your desired goals?
Hmm, sounds like a blessing to me!

If you’re talking with someone else, what words do you hear yourself saying?
Are you sending the message you want to be sending?
Are you showing up like you want to be seen?
Are you coming across as the victim or the victor?

Three steps toward making successful change

  1. Awareness is the first step. I hope this article has begun to heighten your awareness of the importance of framing, personally and professionally.
  2. The second step of successfully navigating change is Acceptance. Acceptance (in this case, relative to framing) is that your words and actions are not reflecting the “you” that you want the world to see.
  3. The third step is identifying and taking Actions to close the gap between how you’re thinking, framing and communicating today to how you want to be framing in the future.

Now that you’re more aware, keep the concept of framing on your radar screen.  As you continue to become more aware of your thoughts; hit the pause button, reflect on the words you are hearing yourself using, and be deliberate as you continue thinking or speaking.

The goal is to ensure your thoughts, words and behaviors are in alignment with the WHO you want to be and HOW you want to show up. 


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  1. Jeanne Schad

    Joan, I love how you’ve articulated the idea of reframing (as a pro coach like you would do). We are always at choice.

  2. Joan

    Thanks Jeanne! Hope all is well with you and yours! Stay healthy! Best – Joan

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