One of the best things I think I can do for someone as their health coach is listen for what they want in their life and then, from time to time, hold it out to them like a mirror so that they don’t lose sight of it. We refer to it structural tension, a concept from Robert Fritz, to know–and better yet, feel–your desired outcome, and at the same time be very clear and honest about your current reality. The tension is the discrepancy between the two states, and our brains want to resolve that tension. Quoting Fritz, “During the creative process, you have an eye on where you want to go, and you also have an eye on where you currently are.”
I’ve heard some beautiful visions from people, and when I get an OK, I will share some of them. In the meantime, another coach just sent around a very powerful example of creating structural tension in these amazing descriptions from a client.
MY CURRENT REALITY:
“Eating is a goal. I want to finish everything I have. Make sure I get every last drop. I am obsessed with getting all that is “mine.” I start, I justify, I overeat, I feel gross. I pick at things and I keep picking. In my mind I know I should stop, but like a desperate vulture I keep going. Every little bit, every piece, all that is “mine.” While I am chewing I have my next piece ready. And I eat my current piece fast because I have to get the next one in! I am desperate.
I am a classy eater. I enjoy what I eat, and only eat what I want. I get full easily. I “can’t finish it all.” Box it up, I will have it later. I am full. I don’t care a lot about my food. It is an experience that I enjoy. I am “hard to get” with food. I am relaxed, I graze, I enjoy, I move on. My fork rests between bites. I get distracted with conversation & thought. “Oh, that’s right, I was eating.”
I leave bits on my plate and rinse them away when I wash my dish. I taste, I sample, I stop. No wonder why I have such a slim figure. I sample. I wait. I love veggies. I am picky with taste and turn up my nose at the cheap & abundant. I seek the best for my mouth.”
This vision is deliciously specific about the author’s experience in both states of being. Can you feel the tension created between the two? It’s important that the vision too is written in the present tense, as if it were already a reality. Tension seeks resolution, and the better the descriptions evokes emotion and sensation the more powerfully the tension pulls current reality towards the vision. In the new state, maintaining a new slimness is not about discipline, or counting calories, or distractions, or negotiations, or for that matter about doing the ‘right’ thing at all! It’s about wanting the best and passing on the rest! It’s about appreciation and discrimination. Knowing when enough is enough. Now that is living lean in a land of plenty.
Has creating a detailed vision ever helped you reach a goal? Share it in a comment! And please subscribe if you are so inclined.