What Would ______ Do?
Write down an outline of what is happening.
Who is the wisest and most compassionate person I know?
“What would _____ (that person) do?”
How would they deal with this issue, problem or concern?
Or “What would they tell me to do?
Now, what’s your next step?
In the past few weeks, I've used this tool with a couple of people. One was working on career issues and the other on relationships. Here's an example of how you can use the tool:
Jim, who was stuck in taking the next step in re-careering, was also going through a difficult divorce. He'd lost so much: his business, home, connection with family. He was making "the right" decisions to ensure that his soon-to-be ex-wife and their children would be taken care of financially, but he hadn't thought about what to say to acquaintances who didn't know what had happened. And I was asking him to start contacting those same people to ask for information and advice as he was researching new-career options!
As we talked about calling these old friends, people who knew him when he was living a golden life (that was also a lie!), he visibly choked on his words and started crying. He just didn't know what to say to these people who knew him in a different part of his life.
I asked him who his hero was. "Who is the wisest person you know -- living or dead, fictional or someone you've read about?"
His answer surprised me, "Thomas Jefferson."
"Yes. He was honest and straightforward. He always did the right thing, too."
"So, if Thomas Jefferson were here now, what would he tell you about how to talk with the acquaintances about your situation?"
"He'd tell me, 'Just be honest. It might be hard at first, but those who understand will be fine with it.' And I can do that!"
We practiced, then, how he would start the phone call and what he might say about his situation. At first he struggled with the words, but after the second try, his voice grew stronger along with his confidence.
Now YOU try it! Who is YOUR hero?
What would they tell you?
What would you do next?