Feb 2 2009

Context is a term one learns early in consciousness coaching. Using it becomes part of your day, however explaining it is hard. Perhaps an example will make it easier. You have a meeting scheduled that you are dreading. Your boss is there and you know he is going to start taking you apart accusing you of not delivering. Based on your previous experience you have created a context for that meeting – one in which everything is wrong and you are being attacked. Even before a single word has been said, this context starts to drive how you respond, feel and behave in that meeting. What happens next becomes a sort of self fulfilling prophecy. You walk into the meeting defensive. Your boss opens his mouth and yes, he is out to get you. You respond as always. It is a disaster of a meeting (just like all the others).

Now, what if you could create a different context for the meeting ? Even if your boss is actually out to get you (sometimes paranoia is reality) the way you interact can fundamentally change how the meeting progresses. But as we all know, changing how we behave is not easy. It becomes automatic. The only way I know how to change this automatic behaviour is by setting your own context. How do I know this works ? Because not only do I use context successfully, I have watched my clients use it successfully. It all starts with one simple statement – what you want to get out of the meeting! Who do you want to be in that meeting ? What do you want to feel when you walk out of it ? Think about it! If you want to be confident, calm, non-aggressive and walk out of there with your self respect then immediately the way you behave when attacked or taken on will change. You simply will not be dragged into a slagging session and when you do not respond the way the meeting expects you to you, the people there have to change they way they behave. In that moment you have changed what happens next. In that moment you have created a space for a different outcome.

Creating a context is based on one very simple fact! If we do not define how we want to experience something it will be defined for us based on every other meeting or similar event. If you take the time to set your own context you override that ‘automatic’ programming and create an opportunity for change to occur. It sounds like simply stating a context would not be enough to change anything. When your life has been run by thoughts and feelings it sounds daft to think that it is at all possible that you can create a new context simply with words that overrides thoughts, feelings and the past. But it can! When you know what it is you want you have a direction. With that direction you can actively choose how you react so that you are fulfilling that intent and in that moment you change what is possible. Try it! After all, you have nothing to lose!