Stay flexible - reframe events to suit you

Sorry, we’ve got to change your appointment

My quarterly appointment with the dental hygienist was at 11:40 AM today. The practice is about 30 minutes away so I was due to leave at about 11 AM.  And I got a phone call from the receptionist at 9:40 AM to say that she was ‘ever so sorry’ but could I rebook for a different date. She was really apologetic and explained that the hygienist had phoned in to say she was unwell.  I said: “that’s fine.  It’s not your fault – let’s look at the diary…” and we sorted out another date in 3 weeks time. Even after this she was still apologetic.  I reassured her and explained that I fully understood what a difficult task she had this morning, having had to cancel my own appointments on occasions over the years. “Oh, I’m so grateful for your understanding – not everyone sees it this way.”

Self-centred people

As my appointment was for 11:40 hours it’s likely that the hygienist runs 20 minute appointments or 3 per hour.  If she runs a five-hour or six-hour day then the receptionist will have had to make 15 or 20 such telephone calls this morning. An unenviable task.  Made more so by the self-centred attitude of many people. This attitude amazes me. Yes, it’s inconvenient to have an appointment changed when you’ve fitted it in with other things.  And if it’s a regular occurrence then maybe you need to look elsewhere for that service.  But if it’s an occasional event, and in this case it’s the first time, why not just accepted and adapt?

An opportunity to be flexible

For me it means I’ve now got about 90 minutes extra time in my day to do other things – including this article. And that’s what, in NLP, we call Reframing i.e. changing the significance of event.  Yes, my plans have been changed by outside circumstances.  But, no. it doesn’t have to be ‘inconvenient’. Instead I can decide it is ‘freedom to do other things’.

Reframing is great tool for being flexible in how you adapt to things.  because people, events, and life in general won’t always fit in with our plans. That is why the art of reframing is explored in the our NLP Practitioner courses in the New Forest.

It’s true that many people don’t accept this approach. They try to rule the world and make it adapt to them.  They push, bully and cajole – and they often get their way.  And they often succeed. But, in my experience, they don’t appear to be very happy people…    

The Pegasus NLP Newsletter

Most articles on this site originally appeared in The Pegasus NLP Newsletter – which has been published continuously since January 2001. You can subscribe to our usually-monthly newsletter here And there will be no spam – I promise.  You have trusted me with your email address and I will use it for the Newsletter and for nothing else – and it will never be shared with anyone else. Ever.  (Reg Connolly, founder of Pegasus NLP)

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