In my conversations with clients, metaphors will often just come up – that’s the way it is with metaphors. The thing is – I view the clients’ ones as being hugely relevant, a glimpse of a door that may take them further inside to the core of why they used it as a representation of this or that particular issue. When I get one of my own emerging, although I am always enthralled, I accept that the intuitive unconscious that presented it in the conversational foreground (again), did it for a reason or a purpose.
Now, because this is a multi-level dialogue going on here, I also view it as a glimpse of a door for the client – or perhaps also for me. The bottom line is always that it is a glimpse per se – and is there to be utilised.
A recent client conversation revolved around issues involving their personal situation at both work and in social interactions and could be generalised to “I like to get on with people” – essentially “I’d like them to like me.” This is something I’m sure we’ve all encountered at some point in our lives – and for me it was certainly something that revisited me recently, on an emotional level, when I was attacked in the social media by a ‘friend’.
Of course in my case the issue was theirs and not mine, and, once I’d ‘got over’ my own thinking, life continued as before – plus it’s easy to un-friend someone and, in their universe, you dissolve along with what annoys them about you!
But that doesn’t happen at work, where we are tipped into a melting pot not entirely of our own choosing.
You can do a number of things of course, and there is a spectrum of reaction decisions.
At one end is “Quit the Job” – and at the other is “Be the bastard THEY clearly think you are”. With each of these is the conclusion that there’s always going to be the cutting off of a nose to spite someone’s face. And if we choose to react at these extremes, there is an almost definite probability that these patterns will re-emerge again and again. It’s an enrolment at the School of Quitting or the School for Colleagues from Hell.
Now my client is not the kind of person who would sign up to either of these establishments, and neither did she need sympathy – she was after something practical. She’d already gone down the self help avenue that is lined with trees of ‘positivity’ – but for her the road was still bumpy.
The bicycle ride
We’re going along on a bicycle and we come to a very bumpy track. The best outcome is to probably get off and walk this bit and push the bike – but we don’t. We stay on and try to persevere – to ‘tough it out’. That’s what ‘strong’ people do! We’re getting thrown around all over the place, still pedalling – still trying to bottle it all up – and now it’s getting more uncomfortable and we’re going faster, and getting out of control. And since we now think we are out of control we prove it to ourselves by feeling out of control; and now we really are out of control – and the brakes don’t seem to work – so the bike crashes and we fall off. The wheels may be damaged or buckled, we are cut and bruised; and then we remember we’ve been told to always get back on the bike straight away. So we do – and off we go again…..
If we’re riding the bike of our thinking and the road of life becomes bumpy, then what we do with the bike is directly related to what happens next for us. If life is stressful then we always tend to think it’s the road – whilst in actual fact it’s the way the bike is negotiating the road. We can become better negotiators of that road by having a better understanding our riding style.
So – was this the metaphor that came ‘bubbling up’ for me when talking to this particular client? Well, not exactly! My imagery was of someone trying to stop a bicycle wheel by pushing their hand into the spokes. No-one had told this person about brakes and how they worked.
Mmmm – not the best definition of a Spokesman, is it?