16 March 2020 the gyms in New York City closed and the gravity of social distancing flattened me.
Yes. I’m one of those people. I get up early. I go to the gym. I exercise every morning. It starts my day with a total sweat down to avoid a total melt down.
Let’s be honest. This isn’t a good time for a meltdown. Instead, I chose to make take a little time for my own pause. What to do? How could I maintain my sense of normalcy with no exercise? How was I going to get my sweat on?
I used a little mental muscle.
The pause worked. I realized; I may have no experience with a Pandemic but I do have useful design experience. I knew what to do. When I’m faced with a seemingly impossible challenge at work I reach for the go-to-design-hack — the Reframe.
It was time to work-out a solution.
What gym characteristics needed to be replicate: early opening hours, close proximity, consistent environment … answer — The Emergency Egress Stairs!
I’ve been running (alright, sometimes walking really fast) these stairs since 17 March and my legs and ass feel like steel. My newfound workout fortified the power of applying a solution focused, real life reframes.
Here are a few ways to apply a Reframe for Solution Focus thinking.
What’s a Reframe A is a simple hack that works every time. Just reframe or restate the challenge. When you’re hit with inevitable setback and your inside voice says, “This would have been a snap if I really had talent,” reframe it. Say, “Basketball wasn’t easy for Michael Jordan and science wasn’t easy for Thomas Edison. They had a passion and put in tons of effort.” The Reframe flips blame and victimhood to: “If I don’t take responsibility, I can’t fix it. Let me listen, however painful it is, and learn whatever I can.” Reframing stops overthinking and starts constructive action.
Design in real time Once you’ve defined the reframe don’t over think it — work and refine while working. The process becomes the work, not dwelling on the problem. This puts us on the path toward a solution focus.
Use Collaboration Rethink isolation. You can jump on a call to chat with a friend. Do a quick Google search for solutions — reach out for alternative ideas to expand your thinking. Expansive thinking is about being creative. It’s about finding ways to get where you want to be despite the obstacles you encounter. Once you’ve reached your goal it helps you stay there or move to somewhere better.
Use Open Thinking Avoid Critical Thinking. Critical Thinking picks things apart to find the problem …it doesn’t normally construct a solution. Open Thinking is creative, decisive, actionable and builds upward.
When I focus on Critical Thinking for too long, I wound up accomplishing nothing. This is a time for quick action and decisive solutions. This is a time for Open Thinking.
Current events may have limited my work and relationship challenges but not my living and mental challenges. This go-to-design-hack has lifted my spirits and counteracted the gravitational pull of despair more than once during isolation.
Thank you Reframe.