How many times do you say “It’s impossible”?
Let me tell you a true story about a client of mine who thought that almost everything she tried was impossible. I’ve changed the clients name because she may get embarrassed by the praise I’m about to give her so let’s call her Doreen.
Doreen came to see me over a year ago now, she was in a huge rut, nothing ever went right for her, the job centre were trying to push her into any old job even though she has a degree. Her history was that of a very tough childhood and wayward teenage years. Her favourite word (and my least favourite word) was ‘impossible’. “It’s impossible, I can’t do it.” Seemed to be her favourite expression.
The poor woman was so tense and scared of life that sometimes she couldn’t even breathe properly. She would quite often stay in bed all morning until lunchtime just because she had nothing to do. It’s probably fair to say that she was a mess. Now when people think something is impossible it quite often becomes so. I tried all sorts of techniques, progressive relaxation didn’t work because in her mind it was ‘impossible’ for her to relax. I tried rapid inductions, snap or shock inductions, the lot. It didn’t work because it was ‘impossible’ in her mind.
I don’t like to charge for things that I don’t deliver so she was getting reduced and often free sessions which wasn’t the best move on my part – but that’s for another blog another day.
One day I tried another technique, I explained that we weren’t going to do any hypnosis, any visualisation (because that was impossible too) in fact all we were going to do was use her imagination. “But I don’t have any imagination.” she cried. I was ready for this and explained that if she could imagine things going horribly wrong for her (which she often did) then she did have imagination and plenty of it.
And so the transformation began, we imagined a beach (corny I know, but hey-ho). She imagined going for a swim in the sea, it was as though she could breathe underwater and she followed the sea bed, deeper and deeper, and deeper still. Everything was calm and relaxed, and still …….
As the session progressed we did some convincers to let both her and I know that she was in a state of hypnosis and further sessions went swimmingly (excuse the pun).
A friend of mine needed someone to help out once or twice a week in his office so I suggested that maybe Doreen did this, initially she said it was impossible, she couldn’t do it, but then she began to help out as a volunteer. When the job centre told her she had to take a cleaning job or face having her benefits cut she worked for him twice a week. He is so grateful for Doreen’s help that rarely a week goes by when he doesn’t thank both her and I, she is now not only an integral part of his team but Doreen has another paid role elsewhere, if anything she has got too busy recently.
Doreen still pops along now and again for a top up but guess what? She’s not said the “I” word to me for a long, long time now. Because the truth is that things may be hard but they’re rarely completely impossible.