Archive for September, 2009

Who is to blame if you are drowning?

I got a telephone call last week from, Chris, an old BNI buddy of mine bemoaning the state of the market. “There’s no clients! Business is bad! No one has any money and those that do aren’t biting”. So I asked him “Whose to blame?” a simple question that required a simple answer. Well you should have heard him. He started shouting down the telephone, calling me for everything, “What kind of coach or therapist are you? I call you up for some sympathy and support and all you do is tell me it’s MY FAULT!”

“No.” I said, “I didn’t say it was your fault – You Did. Anyway, sympathy won’t put food on the table or fend off bankruptcy and as for support. Why would I want to climb into your hole? I can’t help you if we are both in the same place, can I?”

“So now, you have established whose fault you think it is then perhaps together we can do something about getting you out.”

My response might appear a little harsh but it involves three Mindskills Approach techniques.

  1. Pattern Interrupt: Adapted from NLP – It involves breaking the emotional state and is an excellent technique for when someone is stuck in self-pity. You do have to be careful and have a strong rapport otherwise they might get physical or break ties. If a client, friend or colleague is in a hole then they cannot see the horizon and if we climb into their hole beside them then we are of little help. Our job is to get them to look up and at least that way they can see the stars.

    As a little side bar: I don’t know if you have ever tried to pull someone up out of a hole or up onto a platform but it is almost impossible if they are looking at their feet.

  2. Psychometaphorics: Here you recreate their environment. You build a subconscious picture of where they are and make a slight alteration pointing towards a solution. Chris was in an emotional hole and by the language structure he was using he wanted company in the hole beside him. In my head I pictured the scenario and then took my scenario into his mindset. I then told him he was in a hole and there was no way I was climbing in beside him. If he wanted out then he had to raise his head.


  3. First Principle Mapping: When someone is overwhelmed by problems then they need to clear their head so they can create a firm foundation upon which to build. In Chris’s case just raising his head unburdened his shoulders.

Now we can start to build.

There is too much effort to even attempt to help someone if they are unwilling to even try and help themselves. However, sometimes people may have become so weak with treading water that they are exhausted and cannot help themselves. On occasions like this it is vital that you get them to stop fighting and drop the weights that are dragging them down.

If fact what tends to happen when those very same anchors that are sinking them, drop to the bottom they become platforms on which to stand.

What was deep stormy water has now become shallows because you have let go. Now you can stand on those old troubles that used to bother you in the past and see a way forward.

It is not about fault. No one is to blame. That is just another burden, so drop it. If you are not making money or you are drowning in your problems then do something about them.

I’ll be frank with you. No one can hear your screams. No matter how loud you shout. Certainly not until you get their attention and at this point in time there are thousands who are shouting themselves hoarse.

Let me tell you a story:

You probably know this one but it could be about you.

During the floods an old minister’s house was being entrenched. The waters were rising and he had to climb onto the roof. He shouted out to his God asking for deliverance. And at that time along came a floating log. The old minister was busy wailing and let it pass. He waters rose higher and he had to climb onto the chimney breast. He called again to his God and at that moment along came a drifting boat. Again he let it pass. Then the waters rose even further and the old minister drowned. When he got to heaven he presented himself to his maker. Angrily he asked “Why didn’t you answer my prayers?” To which his God answered ” I did but you were too busy with your eyes closed, screaming for help, that you let them pass. If only you had stopped wailing for a moment and opened your eyes you would have seen. Then all you needed to do was step onto the log or the boat and the current would have taken you to safety.”

So if like Chris, or the old minister and you are drowning with overwhelming problems then – just stop for a moment and look for your life raft.

“Where do I start?”  I hear you ask. 

To find Out How The Mindskills Approach can help you – For a Trial (No Cost/No Obligation) Coaching Session.

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Wilf Archer   Blog:


September 3, 2009 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment


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