How To Refocus In A Nightmare Week

If you can “keep your head when all about are losing theirs and blaming it on you”, you’re doing better than me! It takes a lot to hold it all together, all the time.

leopardMore realistic, perhaps, is to have the ability to refocus your mind in a useful way, in the midst of whatever’s happening.

And there’s a question that works very well for this.

“And when <problem>, what would you like to have happen?”

It’s been nicknamed the Power Switch question, because it literally switches your attention away from what you don’t want, and towards what you would like instead. It works really well with coaching clients.

And I’ve been practising it on myself this week, in the midst of a fair bit of drama and excitement.

“And when the broadband is broken, what would you like to have happen?” “I’d like to find some way to get the newsletter written, online, on time. Then I’d like to get the broadband fixed.”

“And when BT Openreach are threatening to bill you £130 because nobody’s available to make the engineer tea, what would you like to have happen?” My first answer would turn the page blue. But after that, I asked myself the question again and refocussed to, “I’d like to find someone who could go over and supervise the ****ing engineer.”

I find the Power Switch a useful question, even when dealing with intractable problems. It doesn’t solve everything, but it forces me to think beyond the problems I can’t solve – of which BT Openreach is one – and focus either on the bigger picture, or the smaller details.

In either case, it can move me from powerlessness to action. And that feels good.

  • The Power Switch question is one of David Grove’s Clean Language questions. Find out more about Clean Language here.
  • What happens when you ask yourself the Power Switch question about your problems/issues/challenges? Please post below.

3 thoughts on “How To Refocus In A Nightmare Week”

  1. I was wondering how this could possibly help with an “intractable” problem, but I just tried it on my son, who is having difficulty with a coworker of his. His answer, which was a complete impossibility but very funny, changed the mood on the spot.

    I’m going to try to apply this all week long and see what happens.

  2. Frances Gollahon

    When someone is “forcefully” talking to me about WHY such and such is so (and it is totally out of my control and they won’t shut up), what I would like to have happen is for their lips to be sealed with Gorilla Glue and their eyes to pop!

    Then I ask myself what I would like to have happen (to take care of myself) and I remember the 2nd great commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself” so I love myself, acknowledge my worth, remain in the present state and let the love move where it likes.

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