Moving Forward with Confidence
in a Challenging Situation

A Self Development Technique

Moving forward confidently often requires standing still or looking backwards first. It's important to understand that the direction in which you're looking, is the direction in which you're moving. To move forward most appropriately, it's sometimes helpful to step or look backward briefly.

I'm not an advocate of spending a long time stepping or looking backward. The key is to do it just enough, not too much. You have to decide when enough is enough for you so that both the quality and quantity enhance your personal development and growth.

One of the most frequent questions my clients ask me about their relationships with others is what to say to someone in a challenging situation. I can always suggest a multitude of possibilities to help to enhance the relationships -- after all, I'm outside the relationship, read energy, and have a lot of experience doing what I do. More often, though, I use another strategy . . .

Finding the Starting Place

Instead of responding with a myriad of ideas, I usually respond with a question or statement that leads my client back to the last conversation or to the most probable understanding or opinion the other person holds about the subject. Sometimes that last memory is easy to access, sometimes not; guessing may be involved. The more clear the starting place, the better, but truly, an approximation can be adequate when the intention is clear.

As I try to find the words to describe the process of moving forward, it may seem complicated, but when applying this technique, it's always very simple, clarifying, empowering, and confidence-building. In effect, it's "starting where you are" or more precisely, where you are now with respect to the last interaction with the person or situation. When you know where you are, it's easier to know the direction to move in order to get where you eventually want to be.

Moving Forward By Momentarily Looking Backward

I just got off the phone talking with a client, Jim (I'll call him that). He was upset about the recent announcement of bonus decisions in his company. He wanted to speak to his boss, but was concerned about the can of worms he might open. Jim had heard a variety of stories and opinions that are rather typical each year at bonus time. He needed some help in moving forward effectively.

Jim is usually very focused and deliberate. When he gets confused or upset, he tends to collect information that further upsets and confuses him. (Sound familiar?) I found it easy to hone in on what he needed, which led me to the question that helped him to know what to do next.

I simply asked, "when did you last speak to your boss about bonuses and what did he say?" Jim had an ah-ha before he verbalized his answer. In fact, he barely answered my question, and began to formulate his approach for moving forward in his next conversation with his boss.

Obviously, I've left out many details of Jim's story (be grateful for that). Here's the essence of what happened. When Jim stopped looking at all the possibilities, listening to the rumors circling in his head, and worrying about creating a difficult situation with his boss, he focused on his last conversation with his boss and started there in his head.

He found a simple answer, but one he could not easily see when he was in the middle of the muck and mire of the angst and rumor mill. Moving forward became effortless and empowering for both Jim and his boss.

Similar to Putting Your Car in Reverse

Moving backward

An apt analogy is that when your car is parked in your driveway so that you must back it out to drive to the store, you put the car in reverse. If you drove the four miles to the store in reverse, it would be a hard drive. In fact, it's probably illegal. It's not illegal to back into your future, but maybe it would be helpful if it were.

To move forward, move forward. If you must look backward to reposition yourself momentarily, do so, just enough so that you can start moving forward in the direction you want. You create your life in the direction you're moving; you move in the direction you're looking.

Applying this Technique to Your Life

As you think about moving forward in a specific situation in your life, what is your starting place? Are you pointed in the right direction for moving where you want to move confidently?

If so, move!

If not, stand still or turn your head in the direction you need so that you get your bearings or remember what you need, and then move forward.

You may need to do this repeatedly in order to gain more and more confidence in the forward movement. Enjoy the journey.

This Technique is about Moving Forward with Greater Confidence

See Additional Techniques in the Self Development Techniques Section

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