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When P Follows R

prRemember when Scott Peck wrote “Life is Difficult” in the book The Road Less Traveled? You probably sighed and nodded and forgot about it. But what if we added another piece to that famous statement?

prRemember when Scott Peck wrote “Life is Difficult” in the book The Road Less Traveled? You probably sighed and nodded and forgot about it. But what if we added another piece to that famous statement?

“What if we said, “Yes, life is difficult and it’s supposed to be.”? What if we acknowledged difficulty as a necessary part of life and perhaps even welcomed it?”

What if we said, “Yes, life is difficult and it’s supposed to be.”? What if we acknowledged difficulty as a necessary part of life and perhaps even welcomed it? What if we erased this subtle thought of “It should be easy(or easier) at least some if not all of the time” Sometimes it is better than others and yes at times it does beg the very core of our being stand at attention. But if we notice how we deal with those challenging moments and in the bigger picture shift our reaction to it, the navigation of those rough waters will be a lot easier. I have observed four patterns of thought that arise when people are going through difficultness and if you notice them in yourself, it can open you to shift that unconscious dynamic and give you the spring board to moving through your difficulty much faster. The four patterns of thought I call the 4 Rs:

1. Resistance
2. Resentment
3. Regret
4. Resignation

Resistance typically begins the pattern and acts as a seed for the other ones emerging. It starts with people feeling that things aren’t as they should be. It shows up like denial, lying, shock, or just plain no. It’s a lack of alignment with reality.

“Resistance typically begins the pattern and acts as a seed for the other ones emerging. It starts with people feeling that things aren’t as they should be. It shows up like denial, lying, shock, or just plain no.”

If you use this one right, it can be a positive impetus for change, but you have to recognize that the resistance is there. If you don’t then you may find yourself in resentment. ”I’m mad that things are like this and I’m going to hold back (on you or on life).” Someone may not consciously think this, but it shows up in their behavior. The person at work who gives you the paper you asked for with a smirk on their face, or says yes to something but doesn’t do it (passive aggressive behavior) is acting out of resentment. “I should be getting a promotion” leads to “Maybe I’ll do that later.” People’s willingness to do things diminishes as does their enthusiasm. Often times regret is underneath that. Here people often wish that what they had said, done, thought, or decided was the wrong thing and they live in “if only”. “If only I had not bought that house when the market was up in 2004, then I would not be paying such a high mortgage and not on the verge of bankruptcy.” Or “If only I’d sold my house when the market was at its” height in 2005, then I’d be in better financial standing.” From there it all blossoms into resignation where there’s no possibility for anything else to show up and that easily leads to depression, stagnation, and going through the motions. The one thing these R’s have in common is that they lack any basis in reality. None of them are lining up with what really is happening so that one can effectively navigate through to real solutions, real strategy, and real possibility for the future. They are a place of “stuckness”. So how do we dig out?

Assessing reality opens the door to seeing things as they are and then opens the door to creating how you’d like it to be. From here we move down the alphabetical ladder to the 4 Ps: The four P’s turn the sinking boat from the murky waters of the downward spiral to seeing light above the surface and a potential way out. They bore the hole through which light can emerge as a new reality. They are:

1. Possibilty,
2. Probability,
3. Positioning,
4. Promotion (potentially).

Here we move from the question of “What is happening?” to the question of “What could be?” The idea of possibility is essentially envisioning things as they in their most ideal state. Getting out of the mire of the situation and looking outside the hole, whether you do that within yourself or with a friend not only brings perspective into possibility, but naturally shifts mood. From there you can move into probability or likelihood of the possibility manifesting.

“The idea of possibility is essentially envisioning things as they in their most ideal state. Getting out of the mire of the situation and looking outside the hole, whether you do that within yourself or with a friend not only brings perspective into possibility, but naturally shifts mood.”

Here you can ask questions of “What would it take to implement this possibility?”, or “What conversations would I need to have and with whom”, and ultimately, “With the right tools, how realistic is this?” Assuming you are moving something forward positioning yourself, idea, product, service, or concern not only within your own thinking but with the thinking of others will help widen the gamut of impact. If you are moving an idea through your organization, how can you position yourself to be heard around this? Might you want to start a blog, conversation, hold meetings, or incentives to tap into the collective conscious in those who similarly would be interested? Once you have that base for positioning, now promotion, if that’s relevant, can ensue. This is an option when you need larger support for your concern or campaign, whether it’s a new book, a cause, or simply an idea that serves.

In the mid 2000’s a coaching client of mine lost everything as market prices soared, his newly bought properties fell in value, and he lost his job. His resistance, resentment, regrets, and resignation grew as his bank account plummeted. When we came to see me possibility was a something that existed in a galaxy far far away and no where in his world or vocabulary. As our conversations built, and we asked questions that moved him in that direction he began to make the shift. Opening to something else showed up and future began to be a word he could get excited about instead of dreaded. Out of the possibility of possibility something stirred and one day while he was in Starbucks he inadvertently started a conversation with someone at a table. Two hours raced by. They went out to dinner that night. Possibility moved into probability as a relationship developed. He positioned himself as someone she could trust and rely on and ultimately got the promotion to husband within a year of that meeting. The move from resistance to promotion happened within a year.

By simply being aware of the water you are swimming in, it raises the awareness and possibility levels for something else to show up in your life. You can make the declaration to fire yourself as therapist or coach and hire a better one, or just simply stop doing the things that have gotten you where you are. Awareness + new choices +new behaviors = new outcomes. I look forward to seeing what you can create.