Framing is everything
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What was I thinking? Working for the man sucks. I have no freedom. I have to get permission to take days off… and they can say no! I have to be there the whole day even if there’s no one to see.
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“What an opportunity! I’m getting paid to work with and be mentored by one of the best in the world. People from all over the world offer to come and work for free to get this kind of experience.
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Would you believe that both of those statements were from the same person… about the same job?
Oh yeah, it was me. I’m the one who said those things. Even though I know that this kind of split thinking is unhelpful.
A few weeks ago I landed a new job. In fact, they offered me a full time job 6 weeks ago, which I refused. I told them I didn’t want to be there full time. They said we’ll have to go through the hiring process again, but I was OK with that. Despite getting what I asked for, I spent the first two weeks in my new job spouting out the “woe is me” story on the left. I physically felt weak, despondent, and neither me or my wife were happy with my job, and I was coming home miserable.
The director at my new job is a world leader in the form of therapy I work with. He is internationally sought after for his training. People routinely offer to come and work for free to get the training experience that I am being paid for. I get his invaluable mentor-ship, collaboration in research, and experience training other clinicians. Physically I feel lighter, I come home happier, and I like the job.
Both sides are true, and the thing that occurred to me is that focusing on either of the frames, “the all positive” and “the all negative” comes with a cost. Focusing only on the left hand frame robbed me of being grateful for the fantastic opportunity and experience I have in my hands. Focusing only on the right hand frame has the potential to rob me of recognizing that there may come a point when the position is no longer a good fit for me. So, if I look at it with a more balanced perspective:
I have a fantastic opportunity to gain world class training and experience and the thing I have to be willing to give up is some of my flexibility and optimal location (I love our private practice office). As long as I keep a balanced view in mind I can continue to assess at what point the balance shifts to the point where the costs outweigh the gains.
In order for me to be healthiest my frame needs to include the whole picture. How about you?
Are there areas in your life where your frame is all positive or all negative? Are you missing out because of it?
Check out our previous post that talks about 5 good things about a bad thing, 5 bad things about a good thing
Feel free to comment and share your frames!