Reframe to Reap the Gain (Bayou otters, old music/classic rock, Lessons from Realtors!)
Putting your best foot forward is always advisable. You wear your best business attire to a job interview, you highlight your best qualities on a first date, and you fight the urge to look down at your phone when you are meeting with someone who’s approval you desperately seek. The goal being to let people see the great qualities before they come face to face with your ‘rough edges’. This isn’t lying, this reframing.
If you have ever been to a farmer’s market for more than 1o minutes, you probably came to realization that all the good looking fruit and vegetables are places in the front. They entice you with the pretty ones so you slowly accept the ones with bruises and soft spots.
While there are many examples of reframing, it is really an exercise in looking at the positive.
Some of the best examples of this come from realtors. They have a phenomenal gift for reframing. A small house becomes quaint and charming. A dilapidated structure suddenly sounds more appealing as a handyman special. A property with a lot of road noise sounds so much more exciting when labeled as easy access to major highways.
The key to a good reframing isn’t to lie, its to help people make it past an initial knee jerk reaction and see the deeper value of a person, place, thing, or situation. It’s this exercise in looking for the positive that can help you adjust your attitude in even dire situations.
My family lives a block away from a bayou, which isn’t all that rare in Houston (otherwise known as bayou city). When we take walks towards the bayou we are always on the lookout for turtles, fish, cranes, and the occasional bayou otter. That’s right, bayou otter. We see them occasionally, scurrying about, swimming or taking refuge in one of the many drainage pipes that feeds the water way. My son loves to see them and point at them. You probably haven’t heard of bayou otters before, maybe you know them by their more prolific name, the nutria rat. Doesn’t bayou otter sound so much more nice and interesting?
You see, reframing can help you approach a situation and make it seem so much better.
In the Tom Hanks movie Castaway he wasn’t stranded on a deserted island, he was taking an impromptu beach vacation. Thomas Edison learned 10,000 ways to not make a lightbulb. Cruela Da Ville wasn’t a sociopath hell bent on stealing someone’s dalmatian puppies, she was a business woman who had supply chain issues when trying to launch a new clothing line… ok that might be a little too far.
Nevertheless, reframing can turn a failure into a lesson and a setback into a an opportunity.
It is all in the eyes of the beholder. Choose to look on the bright side, highlight the positive, and reframe things to put them in a more positive light.