Welcome back courageous ones! I hope this week has offered you some eye opening experiences and that you are keen to know more about what to do when you’re in the box and how to get out.

I have been sharing information from the book Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by the Arbinger Institute. I am so impressed with this little book and the great wisdom it offers. It parallels beautifully the work I do with people in helping them release past experiences that keep triggering them, and dropping them into the box. When people do this releasing it’s like a computer re-boot and allows for so much more room to be open to life, rather than simply reacting to it. This links directly to leadership because when we are open, vulnerable and self-aware we show others that you can be a powerful leader, in the role of an executive, a parent, an employee, and still be very human.

So I promised this week we would look at what not to do when you are in the box, and how to get out of it.

In addressing what not to do, there are a few things that I think will surprise you… they did me.

The reason for not these things is you will only make matters worse. Why? Because when you’re “in the box,” you’re operating with a narrowed perspective, a feeling of pressure, and disconnected from both your own heart and the feelings of others. Any solution you come up with will be less than optimal.

Leadership and Self-Deception offer these guidelines, and I think they’re terrific. What should you not do once you realize you are in the box/stuck/constricted?

  1. Trying to change others
  2. Doing my best to “cope” with others
  3. Leaving
  4. Communicating
  5. Implementing new skills or techniques
  6. Changing my behavior

Are there any surprises here for you?

I was surprised that you shouldn’t communicate… until I thought of those times when I am upset (and clearly in the box) and how it often doesn’t go the way I think it should. In my mind, the other person should be able to see my point and value my input, which doesn’t always happen. When it doesn’t happen, I see the other person in a progressively less positive way, and I find myself sliding further down-hill, and deeper into that box I’ve been talking about.

The other surprises for me were points 5 and 6. Wouldn’t this be the ideal time to try something new or change my behavior? The reason the answer is, “no,” rests on the full appreciation of how the box operates.

When you’re in the box everything is distorted towards self-preservation and protection. Any new skill will be used for protection, and isn’t necessarily going to result in you finding your way out. When you change behavior from inside the box you will often just spin your wheels, creating a deeper and deeper rut. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in the snow or mud, you’ve likely experienced the fruitlessness of stepping on the accelerator and spinning your wheels in an attempt to get yourself unstuck. Just like what happens when your car is stuck in deep mud or heavy snow. In fact, it’s the last thing you want to do.

So what does help? How do we get out of the box?The key to getting out of the box is to shift your perspective.

  • As soon as you recognize that you’re in the box, going nowhere, step back and just admit, you’re in the box, and you’ve been spinning you wheels
  • Now, think about how you want to see the people and the situation you are in? Form a clear picture in your mind, of how you would like things to be
  • Once you have this clear picture, zero in (just like a camera) on how you’re behaving in this positive version of the situation. Don’t let your mind interrupt you and say this is impossible. Just form the picture and look at yourself and how you are being
  • Get a really clear picture of how you are talking, interacting with others, etc., and notice how it would feel
  • Ask yourself this key question: “Are you currently behaving the way you would like to be behaving?” It’s a simple Yes or No question
  • If not, apologize to the person/people, and acknowledge you got in your own way and let them know you don’t want to do things that way, and you are moving forward differently
  • Focus on how you want to show up and go ahead and do that. Be the person you want to be, whether it is kind, friendly, open, curious, appreciative… you get to choose
  • Don’t focus on what others are doing, just focus on yourself. That’s where your power lies. When you are the person you really want to be, with an open heart, curious, creative, and passionate, you’ll be connected to your internal power and that always feels great.

I know this is not a magic bullet answer but it’s a deep, profound practice that will pay off big time. Some would say it’s a spiritual practice because you are calling forth your spirit and committing to live more and more from your spirit. Whenever we do that inspiring, exciting things happen. The joy that is possible is really unlimited.

Have a wonderful week, get ready for wonderful, miraculous things to happen as you live more and more out of the box. Each person that embraces this will bring more light and joy to the world.

Next week I will introduce another great book – The Magician’s Way: 
What It Really Takes to Find Your Treasure by William Whitecloud. This wonderful book offers a different way to understand the concept of “in the box” that I think you will really enjoy. It’s fun creative and really puts the point across.