In Life Coaching you come across lots of people have all sorts of problems and as a coach and trainer that sees and teaches over 500 students a year I've heard lots of problems. Some pretty tragic ones too. But no matter how big or small the problem, we all believe our problem is bigger than someone else's. Another thing I come across is that most people are very attached to their problem and don't believe the problem can be fixed, especially in a short amount of time.
"How could you possibly make changes over a few days or over a weekend?"
"Do you know how long I have had this problem for?"
"I have seen lots of people for this problem and no one can help me."
Many people have so much investment in their problem (consciously or subconsciously) that the problem becomes part of them, part of who they are, part of their identity.
In this video I cover this concept live in a training. It's a great example of how people see their problem. I have had people after seeing this realise just how tight a grip they have had on their problem. Many have said how ridiculous they feel once they've seen something as silly as me carrying around my 'problem', instantly realising that the problem is not them and that they can do something about their problem if they choose to.
I hope you enjoy it and that it helps you loosen your grip on your problem.
Here is the trasnscribe
The Chair Metaphor – Brad Greentree. Tad James NLP Practitioner Training Adelaide June 2013
Sometimes what happens is, the client comes to you and they go:
"It's my problem. I'm chairaphobic. See my problem. This is why I can't get the job that I want because everywhere I go I carry the chair on my shoulder. This is why I get benefits from the government, because I can't get employment. I can't get a relationship. Who's going to go out with a guy who is carrying a chair around on his shoulder. I can't go to restaurants. I'm scared of chandeliers. I can't go to the movies. Public transport is a real pain in the neck. I can't drive a car. I did drive a car once. I got the steering wheel caught on the leg. It was terrible. Very embarrassing.
"I'm only one of six people in the world with this problem. We have our own chat room www.ivegotachair.com. And we talk about it. I'm one of six people in the world with this problem. This is a terrible problem. Can you imagine having a life like this, with a problem like this. This is just terrible. You don't think I like this."
And you say: "Just put it down."
"No, you just don't understand. Put it down? I couldn't put it down. Who would I be if I put it down? What excuses would I have for not having a life the way I want it? I couldn't possibly put it down. Who would I be? This is my problem. I'm only known as this person. I've had this problem all my life. The doctor says I have this problem. This is why I am in government housing. This is why I get paid each week. This is why ... oh my god, there is a change of government, they're going to make me go to work. I'll have to go to a chair factory, so I fit in. I've got chairosis.
"And it gets bad for my back. I have to go and see a masseuse. He has to do massaging, it's really quite hard to massage with this problem.
"There is no medication for it. I was researching. I was talking to my mate in the USA, and he's really bad. He's got a sofa. We all feel pretty sorry for him. I've tried all sorts of different medications. I've seen so many therapists about this problem. We heard there is a new medication coming out. I can't wait for it to come out. We are so excited. We made sure we qualified. Unfortunately, we weren't available for the test. It's a very expensive drug. It's lucky that I'm on government benefits. Otherwise I'd never be up to afford the medication."
"So how did your medication go?"
"Oh, it was great. Completely changed the problem. You know, it got it off my shoulder... I still can't be in a relationship. But it's better. At least I don't have my back, my neck and my shoulder out. And the guy in the USA with the sofa, he is doing much better now.
"But it's still a problem, isn't it. I still can't really go off and do anything. I'm just stuck with this chair. I still can't get a job. I still feel really bad about leaving the house. Everybody knows I'm still chairy."
And you'll say "But you could just put it down."
"No, I don't think you understand. I just can't put it down. I have all these government organisations coming in and cleaning my house for me. Yeah, there is a lovely lady who comes over from the local church who does my washing and folds my underwear every week. I get meals on wheels. There's all this support for me. Why would I change?"
However, sooner or later there will be something, someone, who come along, and the change will have to happen because things will be either so bad, or so good that there will be a point where they have to change. You see change happens at extremes, like if there is a change of government. And all of a sudden long-term, unemployed people on sickness benefits a given time frame to get off. All of a sudden something is happening, so their thoughts stand with those people who voted for the other government coming in, how dare they. Then all of a sudden they are at the effect. And things will get bad. They'll start reducing the income that is coming in. It will get harder and harder. And then they will be forced to do something about it.
Or, the other way, maybe they'll meet someone. Maybe they'll meet someone that they really like. Although come along to an introduction, and someone will talk about that they're thinking could change, and that they could create the life that they want. And all of a sudden they get the idea that they could change. And maybe they want to be empowered. And then they will investigate. They will go through the process of ... So all of a sudden through the process of changing their thinking, all of a sudden they start losing the grip on the problem.
Okay, I've still got the problem, but it's not as bad. I could be in a relationship. Eventually they'll get to the situation where they keep the problem nice and close to them, not completely let it go, just have it here. And eventually a situation where either things will be good enough for them, or things will get really good and it will force them to be able to think outside the square, or things will get really, really bad where they will have to let it go.
And when they do they will go "How silly was that? I spent my entire life with this problem. I've wasted 15 years of my life carrying around this problem. What was I thinking? How silly was that?"
And sometimes they will be so embarrassed at how easy it was to let go of the problem, and they go: "My god. Now I can have a life the way I wanted it." It's all about being able to make a change. Who had to do it? They did. It doesn't matter what happens. It all comes back to the client. The client has to make the decision to change. You have to go: "Enough is enough. I'm tired of carrying this problem. It's time for me to move on. I have the rest of my life to have it the way I want it. I'm done with it. I'm finished. I'm moving on."
So that's what happens with the client. They've got to be ready, aren't they. They've got to be ready to do it.