Time for a Reframe
/ Author: Andre van Heerden
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Time for a Reframe

Unique experiences expose us to unique stories and opportunities. Approaching them with curiosity and hope can help us find something to enjoy

By André van Heerden, Communications Director

I heard a story recently that made me laugh. A coworker was sharing how their little dog, Lilly, didn’t like going outside in the snow to pee—especially if the snow was more than a few centimeters deep.

The owner would open the back door to the yard, and Lilly would either just stare and stay put, or if really desperate, take a few tentative steps into the snow to do her business. The dog would go absolutely no further than was necessary.

However, this same dog, with the same weather outside, would get excited and rush outside into the cold and snow if you said, “It’s time for a walk!”

Being let outside into the backyard was a nonstarter. But going out the front door for a walk? Lilly couldn’t wait.

I thought at first how silly the dog was but then realized that people can behave much the same way.

When I coach soccer, I’ll often have a number of footwork and speed drills to improve agility, speed, and endurance. It’s not the players’ favourite part of the practice. It’s tiring and needs a lot of concentration and effort.

However, when we’ve thrown birthday parties for my kids, I’ve often set up the same drills but call them an obstacle course race or something like “fairy run.” The kids love it and often ask to have extra turns trying it!

Suddenly, the same tough drills from the practices become exciting and fun.

One of my favourite quotations is from author and Bishop J. H. B. Masterman: “God often comforts us not by changing the circumstances of our lives, but by changing our attitude toward them.”

As we experience a very different daily routine and Christmas holidays in light of a global pandemic, this type of reframe is definitely needed.

I think for many office workers the thought of working only from home introduced some anxiety. As the director of a team, I know it did for me.

But as everyone adapted, the benefits of working from home also became more apparent. Many companies, like Twitter and The Conference Board of Canada, are now making that change permanent.

Good things can come out of big challenges.

My children the other day were lamenting that we haven’t had a really big snowfall yet this year. They all agreed that they didn’t just want a big snowfall but one that was as tall as me!

At first I thought, that’s crazy! My poor back won’t be able to shovel that much!

But then I remembered wishing for the exact same thing when I was kid. And I was further reminded of it when one of my kids dreamed of digging tunnels through the snow.

Yes, I once had that exact same dream as a kid. How cool would that be?

Unique experiences expose us to unique stories and unique opportunities. Approaching it all with dread and complaints isn’t going to make the situation any better. In some cases, it may actually make it worse.

But approaching new challenges with curiosity and hope—even deep snowfalls—can help us find something to enjoy and, at worse, something to learn from.

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