Opportunity or Catastrophe

I asked one Assistant Superintendent if he would postpone his retirement for a few months and he quickly agreed (PS. He’s one of those truly outstanding people). This gave me a bit more time to figure things out and learn as much as I could from him. In the end, we overhauled our senior team with a new model that I think will better support our learners in the district as we move our learning agenda forward. It’s been in place for several months right now, and while there is some tinkering to do in roles and responsibilities, I see us moving in directions that weren’t possible before.

It’s an even more exciting time than it was when I began in the role.

Cognitive Reframing

How we look at an event determines our response to it. If your lens is one of pessimism you will likely respond as defeated. If your lens is one of optimism you are much more likely to find a number of possible solutions going forward. To shift a mindset from pessimism to optimism is done through a process known as REFRAMING.

Reframing is a technique used to help create a different way of looking at a situation by changing its meaning — by finding an alternate perspective.

The essential idea being that a person’s point-of-view depends on how they frame the event — how they see the news in front of them. When you shift your mindset, the meaning changes and your thinking and behavior will often change along with it.

How Cognitive Reframing is Used in Mental Health

Amy Morin, LCSW

Reframing can be used in our entire lives — professional and personal. Let me share a couple of examples of how reframing a situation can radically open up a more positive outcome:

  • A neighbour is yelling at you over a fence ‘issue’. The fixed mindset person (pessimist) sees the neighbour as rude, argumentative and threatening — perhaps even needing intervention by the police. The growth-mindset person (optimist) sees the potential for a deeper understanding of their neighbour’s anger and works to help move the situation from confrontation to empathy and understanding.
  • A young child is showing disruptive behaviours, bothering others and easily distracted. The fixed mindset person might demand that the child be immediately disciplined to learn some self-control, whereas the more-solution focused person might see that the child needs help acquiring some skills in self-regulation.
When a Flower Doesn’t Bloom You Fix the Environment in Which it Grows, Not the Flower – Alex Den Heijer

Kristen Wiens is a BC educator who is an expert in self-regulation and mindfulness and is a believer in the need to reframe our perspectives on those challenging situations in our lives. She is passionate about being able to look beyond the immediate behaviour or situation to ensure that the lens we are using with children is one of being ‘solution focused’.

Find the Rainbow instead of the Storm Cloud

So, the next time that you are confronted with a surprise — a situation where seeing the storm cloud seems easier than seeing the rainbow — take a moment to reframe the situation into that opportunity for positive change and growth.

You might be amazed at the number of possibilities that suddenly reveal themselves.

4 thoughts on “Opportunity or Catastrophe

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