Monday, 14 December 2015

Superman in the North Pole of Inaccessibility

Whilst writing the North Pole of Inaccessibility post I had a coaching session with a client, and decided to try out the process described in the post with them.

With kind permission I share notes from the session here.

The process was:

  • Think of a situation you'd like more clarity on and to feel less stuck about - how satisfied do you feel 0/10
  • Consider whether the description 'the North Pole of Inaccessibility' best describes the current situation, or the desired outcome or goal (no logic - just intuitively what feels the most applicable answer)
  • Put the situation to one side 
  • Explore the metaphor/saying - perhaps answer the questions posed in the other post 
  • Return to the original situation and notice how satisfied you now feel 0-10

Before sharing the journey we went on I'd like to say that as a result of doing this my client felt calmer, and was describing actions to resolve the situation in a more measured and less stressed way. Only time will tell what long term impact this had.

Please note the following may make no sense to you, nor me. The only person a metaphor needs to make sense to is the person using it. Notes here are therefore for illustration purposes only, and just provide a sense of how a session using one of the processes from the Landscaping Your Life toolkit works.

Here's what happened

  • "The North Pole of Inaccessibility is where my dreams are" said my client
  • "I can understand how it might be difficult to make plans of how to achieve your dreams if they're so inaccessible and difficult to achieve" I said 
  • We then discussed why they were there, who put them there etc  
  • "What landscape might best describe where you'd like to put your goals" I asked
  • "An ice structure" they answered, and after a little more discussion "Like Superman has" 
  • This resulted in a discussion about Superman and his ice structure. The location of Kryptonite then arose (for those who don't know it's poison to Superman, and makes him very weak).
  • "The Kryptonite is in my back pocket!" they said
  • "I can see why that would make your dreams inaccessible, and must be terribly hard work and draining" I said. This certainly was a great metaphor for their current health and well being, and also how they were feeling about their goals. 
  • We then discussed ways that Superman would dispose of the Kryptonite - with help from Lois Lane, a lead lined box and deep water.
  • I left my client with his dreams in an ice structure that he could easily access, and were he felt safe and invigorated - able to come and go from them at will.

Metaphors are like that - we find meaning in them that makes sense to us. (As another client found when they found their inner Picard). The true value then comes from using the metaphor to find a solution, and therefore shift our relationship to the original situation.

Shakespeare wrote "there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so". That's what we're doing when we use metaphors in this way - we're changing an unhelpful way of thinking about a situation into a more helpful way of thinking about it. As we do this then the helpful thinking is more likely to support an ability to find solutions - and certainly changes the feelings to more resourceful ones.

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life
Inspiring Change Inside and Out +44(0)7770 538159

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