Do You Believe That a Solution Exists Even if You Can’t See One?
Emily was immersed in her problems and believed that the only possible to solution was to endure her situation (with no end in sight) or take her own life. She was so convinced that this was true that it never even occurred to her to speak to anyone about any of the things that were going on at home or at work.
Her manager had invited me to run an in-house NLP course for his executive and sales team and during one of the exercises her state of mind was revealed. We were talking about finding solutions to problems and the ways in which people respond when they lose hope in the possibility of a solution. I noticed that Emily, who had been engaged throughout the course, was suddenly hyper-attentive as I taught about using linguistic techniques to explore new approaches to familiar problems and as we moved into an exercise I kept a close ear on her group.
The exercise they were doing involved an observer, a practitioner, and a subject who presented a problem. Emily started out as the observer, then went on to display a great deal of skill as the practitioner, before taking her turn as the subject. The problem she shared with the group was clearly a genuine problem, but equally clearly only the teensiest glimpse of the underlying issue.
At the end of the exercise, she asked if we could talk privately.
As she told me, “I suddenly realised when I heard you teach this topic that I was trapped in my own thinking. When I used the technique you taught on Sam and then experienced it myself, I wondered if I was missing something about my situation and I started to believe that there must be a solution to my problem that I hadn’t thought of yet.”
Realising that a constructive and creative solution must exist gave Emily the hope she needed to look at her situation differently.