We work in a fun and creative business and we’re some of the most talented people around. (We’re not just saying that; our clients tell us that all the time.) Creativity, like money, doesn’t grow on trees and even the most creative people need a little fresh thought and a nudge now and then. One resource we’ve used comes from creative coach Mark McGuiness. It’s a creative thinking booster called reframing.
Essentially, reframing moves you from one interpretation of an event, situation, behavior, person or object to a completely different interpretation. Maybe you’ve formed an opinion of someone as being difficult or unpleasant. Then you learn about a challenging personal situation the person is dealing with and your feelings turn from annoyance to sympathy. You’ve reframed your opinion.
Here’s another example: your daughter is failing math. She studies extra hard, does well on a test, and her grade rises. It’s still a failing grade, but her overall performance is on the upswing – failing vs. progress in the right direction. Framing her situation in a positive way does not change the essential nature of it, but your daughter feels better about herself and sees a good outcome from her efforts.
Creative reframing lets you see new possibilities. Where some might see an obstacle, you see an opportunity. With reframing, you are simply reappraising a situation, event, person, etc., which stimulates your thinking and recalibrates the way you feel.
McGuiness suggests you start reframing by asking questions such as these:
What else could this mean?
Where else could this be useful?
What can I learn from this?
What is the funny side of this?
How does this look to other people involved?
What opportunities are lurking inside this problem?
What does the solution to this problem look like and can I start doing that right now?
The best thing about reframing or any type of creative thinking is that it leads to creative doing. And that’s really the fun part!