It's often first the problem we know, feel, or hear about. Whether it's our own, a client's, a loved one's, or a friend's--the facts as they present themselves are all from the problem space.
At times, of course, it makes sense to inquire even into what's wrong. You can't change what you don't know is problematic. But even though change does arise from perception of negative patterns, it makes less sense in the beginning to leave what you see and feel wrapped in that negative awareness.
Coaching or therapeutic trainings often talk about something called “the problem space.” Staying lodged in these perceptions of what’s wrong keeps us stumped somehow about how to fix it. As the saying goes, “you can’t fix the problem from within the problem space.” You have to push out of it into a wider, richer, “solution space.”
Step into the Solution
Here’s a simple process that's excellent at doing this. It produces in my experience and that of my client's and student's better positive changes faster.
First ask yourself or the other person to try to reverse the problem statement. Ask something like, “Well, if that’s what’s wrong, what would ‘right’ look like in that area?” So “I’m exhausted and scared all the time and my business is failing,” turns into something like “I’m energized, calm, and my business is booming.” This is a good start. We have at least some brushstrokes in the solution space.
This is the beginning of what I call a “desired positive change,” and my students have dubbed it the situation's “DPC.” But it’s as yet diffuse, and rather global, in one fell swoop, probably impossible. So better, faster change can benefit greatly from three further steps. I call them “focusing,” “instantiating,” and “opening to the universe.”
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