July 18, 2008

Focus On Facilitation: Using "Is the Universe Friendly?" with a Hard-to-Find Story

Einstein purportedly said that there was only one important question to ask: "Is the universe friendly?" I've noticed that the more I do The Work, the more open I am to the possibility that I do live in a friendly universe, even though "bad" things happen. If an issue feels unresolved after inquiry, there is usually an underlying belief that I haven't found or that hasn't yet been examined.

If an issue is particularly sticky for your client, even after turning it around, this exercise can help the client uncover and work with underlying beliefs that haven't come out in the course of inquiry.

Let's say my client is doing The Work on the thought "There's nothing good about my job." I as the facilitator don't dispute this as the client holds his belief up against the four-questions of inquiry, and sees how believing it affects his life and work.

The client turns the thought around: "There's plenty that's good about my job," and provides examples (he gets a paycheck, he gets benefits, he likes to have lunch with some of his co-workers). He examines the turnaround, "There's nothing good about my thinking (about my job)," and he finds where that could be as true or truer He says he can't find any more turnarounds.

I suggest the turnaround, "There's nothing bad about my job." The client still thinks there is something bad about it and doesn't want to go there.

"Okay," I say, "Tell me about that. What specifically is bad about your job?" He makes a list of his "proof," including:

He doesn't have enough to do.
Data entry is boring.'
Our data entry system is cumbersome and outdated.
The commute to and from the office is grueling.
There is no room for advancement.

Next, we get to see if any of these "proofs" truly means there is something bad about the job.

We start at the top: "I don't have enough to do."

I ask the client, "If the universe is friendly, why is this a good thing?"

He discovers three examples:

1. It gives him time and space to find ways to improve upon the task he has been assigned; in doing so, he actually becomes a more efficient employee, more valuable to the company.
2. It gives him time to job-hunt; so many other people who would like to change jobs are so overworked they can't find a way to keep their position while they researching other possibilities.
3. Sometimes he has time during the workday to do The Work on the things he doesn't like about his job! (Not that we're suggesting using work time as Work time; but this was his reality!)

There are stories behind every story. When the client looked for proof that his story was true, he excavated those deeper stories. Investigated, some of what the client thought was terrible about his job could be seen as positive aspects. Some of those "benefits" made the job more tolerable in the meantime, while others showed him a clear path to his next career move.

In a friendly universe—the parallel universe of peace—a boring, dead end job can be a bonus, a teacher, the perfect bend in the path. We need only look more closely in order to find the gifts.


©2008 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

M mom sent me a link to your blog and I have been reading a bit of it. I want to start doing more of "The Work" now! Thanks!