I recently had the opportunity to work with Jane, an amazing client, whose situation may resonate with you.
Over the course of the last month, as she juggled family, her consulting practice, and the general summer flow (or lack of), she managed to get sick. While she fought her way through with doctor visits and a couple rounds of antibiotics, her list of to do’s grew longer and her plans for the future further away.
When we got to connect, she simply felt scattered even after a business retreat that she had set aside to do some focused work. I asked her to identify an image that captured her feeling. “I feel like I have a bunch of marbles rolling around. They seems to be hidden under tables and chairs, behind and under whatever furniture is in the room,” Jane exclaimed.
Housework for the Mind
After listening to her description, I asked her what would be the best way to collect all of the marbles, “For example, would you go and pick up each individual one? Would you sweep them with a broom? Would you physically lift the floor so they all roll toward you? What would you do?” She thought for a moment and said definitively, “I would go after them with a vacuum.”
“Great! Let’s continue to play with this imagery; let’s set it up. To vacuum, you need some time to do it, so when would be the best time and how much would you need to vacuum? Do you have an ideal burst of energy period that you like to set aside for work?“
“Well, I am actually with my girlfriend at her cottage before picking up my daughter tomorrow. I would love to do it here if she is ok with it. And, I think an hour of “burst” time would work!” replied Jane.
“Ok. That answers the where, the when, and for how long for your vacuuming. However, your vacuum plug needs an outlet, and I think that finding an outlet may be synonymous with the clearing of this idea with your friend. Is she willing to give up girl time with you for an hour?” I asked.
“You’re right. This time was set aside for being together. That said, it shouldn’t be an issue, but I do want to ask.” Jane responded.
“In addition, you’ll need to put your marbles somewhere once you suck them up. What ideas come to mind?”
Well, perhaps a bucket…” Jane pondered.
“Good. The marbles could find their home in some respective buckets. Perhaps those buckets could then symbolize some type of structure to capture your thoughts around the ideas/plans/activities that are scattered.”
Yes!” Jane exclaimed. “I could just use a Word document or an Excel table to capture the ideas.”
“And,” I suggested, “within your document or table, perhaps you could have some columns that identify what is floating around the ideas.”
“I can see it! Columns for Items/Projects, Issues To Address, and Lingering Questions would be perfect. This would help me to think through my next steps.” Jane stated confidently. “I love my Marbles and Vacuum imagery and how to categorize them once I collect them all.“
How do you feel?” I asked.
“I am excited to get going!” said Jane.
Re-Imagine Your Struggle
So, what is nagging at you?
What is asking for your time but feels “Stuck in the Muck” as you look for a solution?
Give yourself some space to ask yourself what the situation reminds you of or what imagery comes to mind as you think of the situation. Let yourself to play with the image or metaphor.
Free yourself of the problem in its current shape and take on mental imagery—this allows your imagination to move the situation from its current restraints to possibilities that you wouldn’t have otherwise been seen!
If you need help, give me a call and we will play. Either way, just have fun!!