October 1, 2019

41. Reframing Difficult Situations

Framing shapes the way we look at life’s events both past and upcoming. It’s our perspective on what it means for us and others and shapes so much of our experience in life. Most of the time we’re not even aware that it’s the labels that come with framing that limit us or give us freedom.

There’s so many different ways that we can use framing or reframing, as we’ll call it. You know, you go into a meeting, maybe it’s one with someone that works for you and you say, “Right, Bob, we’re going to work on your performance in relation to this project.

Now you’ve created a ‘frame’. You’ve created an energy. You’ve created an emotional response from both yourself and the other person and in fact, in creating a frame like that, you’ve almost put a boundary around what’s going to be discussed and how it would be discussed. Now, if you reframed that in a way that sort of said, “Hey Bob, like we’re here to help you now with this project. Let’s review the project, see what we can do to help you get there faster, more efficiently, and, you know, we’ll have a coffee while we do it.” Totally different scenario.


We mentioned the kind of things that we can put a frame around. Like it could be a relationship, it could be a challenge. Like we’d recently did the pushup challenge, or you’re going to do a marathon and you think, “Well how could I find that in a positive way to be my best version of myself rather than it being a battle.” Well you know, it could be something that could be really enjoyable.

Coming back to the push-up challenge. Pricey initially framed it as a negative thing – more importantly he labelled himself. “Hey I’m just an old, old man, all these young guys are going to be doing this.”

So right from the start, his first response was to label himself and to frame it negatively. But then he said “No, this is an us thing, we’ve got a really good reason for doing it. We want to raise money for men’s mental health”. So Pricey then began making it a positive us event. He reframed it.

Now Pricey is an old man and Greg like to remind him of that. But before we knew it Pricey was posting videos to the young bucks of him doing sets of fifty push-ups.

Mindsets – often unconscious

Now the thing is a lot of our memories, good and bad, are stored and we’ve got a frame them that shapes how we feel about that memory now. We also carry labels for self and others, frames for meetings and conversations coming up. All of these are frames and the mindset around them plays a core role in your outcome.

And what that means is our internal dialogue, our emotional state every day, our own resourcefulness, our own creativity to deal with a situation is heavily impacted by this frame.

So framing, it best affects every part of our life and in fact, it shapes our entire experience of the world. And the problem is really we very, very rarely choose our frame. It’s an unconscious thing that happens mostly out of our control.

Bringing unconscious frames into awareness leads to freedom

Universal Men are not victims of their poor thinking. So what we’re wanting is framing for our own freedom. We want to be free. We don’t want to be a prisoner of our lazy internal thinking. So therefore we need to become aware of what our frames are and how they are impacting ourselves and others.

Change the narrative

As an example our frames will reveal themselves through verbal cues, “that person is only ….!” Or, “I am only this.”

Once we begin to do that, we have labelled, we have limited and the frame we’ve put around them limits the outcome. So what we want to do is we want to become aware of the story we are creating here with our frames.

We actually want to get a narrative which is a positive one. We want to go beyond our thinking patterns, our fairly negative thinking patterns, our particular labels that we have wrapped around this, and get a narrative which will free us.

And that always begins with stopping for a minute and asking yourself, “What’s the outcome?” In this relationship, in this challenge, in this event that I’ve got that’s maybe haunting me a little bit in my history. What’s the outcome I really want? Well how do I want to feel about that? What do I want the consequences to be? So you should have this feeling of where you are now and where you want to get to and the frame that you can put around it again to make it a positive and ennobling experience for you and for everybody else that’s involved. That’s the idea is when you think about the framing thing, how do we get the best out of everybody.

And the whole sense of a win-win. Okay, I’m going to grow from what’s going on here. And the other is too. So it’s a whole breaking open of the frame we had put around it and saying, “What frame are we wanting, the outcome we are wanting, and what’s stopping that?”

Reframing Pricey

Pricey has got a fairly simple process which he uses. He names the belief or the pattern or the thinking which is holding him back. Before we began recording this podcast Pricey was laughing about how Grego has great mates who are fine rugby players. Pricey used to walk up to people like this and say, “I’m just an idiot. I was only the coach of the 7thXV.” Now when Pricey did that, in his thinking he was self-framing his own self in a negative way.

Now Pricey goes up – with a bit of fun and says, “Hi, I was the coach of the 7thXV!” But the intonation and the way he says it is positive – still a bit of fun, but not a self-put down. Now, and again it’s kind of like a positive thing and it’s a bit of fun. So Pricey named what’s the belief, the pattern, the thinking which was holding him back. And then he broke that open a bit. he wanted to understand why is Pricey saying this?

And in that particular case he was thinking, hey, you know, I’m not this elite sportsman. I haven’t played for Australia, yada yada. Now the flip side of that was his own sense of himself as a sportsman! A real sense of his own physical sense. So he became aware of that. Then once he grew in awareness of that – the underlying belief, he said, “What do I want to change?” And he got into a space of saying, “I’m Damien, I’m proud to be me.” I’ve got my particular core strengths, and then I change the way I express stuff. I take the word only out, and I frame it and express it in a positive kind of a story. I’m no longer a victim. I’m not a victim of what’s going on.

Our Challenge

Often when we finish these things, we just finish it up and go on. But today we want to throw out a little bit of a challenge. So there’s two elements here. One is framing and the other is reframing. So what we’d like you to do is think about any new relationship you’ve got, any challenge you want to take on, perhaps an event that’s coming up, and what we want you to do is proactively now at the very beginning, get the right frame for that event challenge relationship in a way that gets you wonderful positive outcomes.

We just want you to think about anything that’s new that’s coming up right now. It might even be a meeting that’s this afternoon, or it might be, you know, going to the gym this evening or your new gym programme or whatever it is or a way you’re going to lose weight. Get the right frame around that right now from the beginning.

So it’s a really positive frame set of in mind.

The other challenge we’d love to say is look back, look into your life and say what is a relationship or what’s some part of my life I want to reframe. I want to become aware of what’s holding me back. What are the labels which are limiting me here. Become aware of them, and then reframe them.

And if you’ve got a couple of minutes, jump on the Universal Men website, and on the topic here, the framing for freedom, put in the comments area what you did to reframe. What was a frame you have used that has been successful in any part of your life.

Greg’s Example

I’ll give you one little example and I’ll put this on the website. When my wife and I had twins, we had a frame that every single morning was a new day, totally new. It doesn’t matter how bad yesterday was.

Every morning seven o’clock came around, our frame was it’s a new day.

And so it almost wiped away the challenge of the last 24 hours no matter how bad it had been. We learnt this from someone else and it helped us immensely. Remember, if you share the frames you take other people will really benefit.

And one of our great and most favourite quotes is, “I’m the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul,” from the Invictus poem. And this is what framing and reframing is all about. This is saying, “Okay, there’s things in my life that I’m just, I could be doing better.” I can lift my game here and reframe this in a positive way and get an entirely different outcome.

It is a deliberate choice and it comes out of the space of self-awareness. So when you are aware of you’re putting yourself down, or you’re putting the other down, you’re aware that you are labelling self, you’re labelling them, and you’re not achieving what you or them could actually be. So you have that self-awareness. You make a deliberate choice. I’m not a victim here, I’m not in a helpless state. I’m going to get a positive, reframed, free approach.

Stay Legendary <——- is a frame 😉

Grego and Pricey