Monday, October 5, 2009

Reframing life: White Coats and A Wheelchair

Today I was sitting in the reception area of a major medical center. While I was waiting, suddenly, right next to me I heard fearful groaning sounds coming from a man who was backing away from three people in white coats walking towards him. It was clear from his behavior that he was developmentally challenged, and everyone in the reception area starting shifting in their seats.

The three "white coats" were trying to calm and coax the man to come with them. It wasn't working. He began groaning louder and saying "No!"

Suddenly, one of the women trying to help him said, "I wonder if a wheelchair would help?" Another of the trio quickly went to get one and they brought it towards the disturbed man saying "Would you like to ride? Do you want to go for a fun ride?" Bingo! He immediately calmed down, started smiling, and hopped right in the chair. I wanted to give a cheer! Everyone immediately relaxed.

I thought about how important the concept of "framing" is. I thought about my own fears and how I could reframe them to not only be less scary, but even fun -- like the wheelchair. I wondered at the lightening speed of emotions and reactions that we all experience in life -- whether it's in business or in our personal worlds.

If we can just remember to reframe, then, in a silvery second, terror can become joyful anticipation, anger can become happiness, despair can become hope, hate can become love.

I know it can happen. I saw it today.