Mari Craig, LCSW-C, CCDC, CPC

Step One: Defining Your Problem with the Intentional Life Power Program

In Living on July 18, 2010 at 9:30 pm

People often have great difficulty resolving problems in their lives because they are unable identify core issues deep within themselves. People tend to address problems that are symptomatic of their core issues and typically find themselves running into the same problems over and over again.

The Intentional Life Power Program (ILP), which I have honed over my past 20 years as a therapist and life coach, takes a more effective path towards identifying and resolving core problems and enable you to flourish.  Since what is on the surface may only be the tip of the iceberg, the concept of delving below the layers of possible reasons may lead you to discover alternative explanations that may be the true source of the problem.

In my previous post, Achieving Dreams with the Intentional Life Power Program, I gave an overview of the ILP process and used Angie’s experience as an example. Angie, who was transitioning through divorce, initally attributed her problem to her husband and in-laws. Angie found the courage to look deep within herself to discover that it was her perception of herself and her lack of confidence that were at the root of her problems. From there she developed the intention to work on her self-perception, confidence or interpersonal communication to build a new, more positive sense of her life.

One particularly effective way to get to the heart of a problem is by using the Downward Arrow approach.  This approach takes you through a series of “what else“ questions to help strip away the layers until the core issue or problem is revealed.

Consider the case of Rick, a former high-powered stock trader who bottomed out through a few poor choices and could no longer trust himself to make sound decisions.  Using the downward arrow technique to discover “what else” was really causing him enormous anxiety and self-doubt, Rick was able to peel away the layers to uncover subconscious motives and explanations.

After great introspection, Rick found a part of him did not believe he had sufficient knowledge and experience in investing despite having taken high-level investment courses his whole life. That might have held him back, but we continued to pursue why he felt this was the case.  Rick divulged that he trusted brokers more than himself despite the well-known fact that brokers aren’t any more successful at stock pics than the average investor.   As we continued to examine other possible reasons for this problem we found that Rick needed to practice investing by making regular paper trades.  For Rick, it was about building trust and confidence in his own skills and in timing when to enter and exit trades by having a back-tested system in place.  As I coached Rick through the layers in his mind to a clear definition of his problem he was able to gain the confidence he needed to do the work of developing an appropriate intention.  The more clearly defined your problem is the more you open the way for an effective intention.

Another coaching client of mine, Barbara, wanted to transition from her job as an English teacher. Barbara found herself stuck in a job burdened with heavy administrative duties and after school tutoring.  She was stuck because she felt disrespected in her job role yet had “gotten used to putting up with it”.

Using the downward arrow technique, Barbara discovered a few underlying reasons for her behavior.  She felt overwhelmed by the challenges of starting a new job and she let her anxiety dictate where she would put her teaching focus – test taking or writing skills.  She admitted that she was afraid that she would end up doing what she didn’t like because tutoring for test taking was in high demand.

Through further self-inquiry, Barbara realized there were other subconscious issues at play. She was having difficulty accepting the unknown and being able to rely on and trust her ability to take the risk and survive.  She exclaimed, “it’s been a long time since I’ve been out on my own and I need to find the courage to take the leap despite my fear in order to be fulfilled”.  Barbara’s came to acknowledge that a key issue was the lack of courage.

The process of discovering the true reasons for your problems is about continually peeling away the layers of possible explanations until you find the fundamental reason is for the problem you are experiencing. The process requires hard work and brutal honesty.  Once you have done this you will be able to make the shift to a more definitive way of solving your problems from a more practical perspective.

To get comfortable with this new shift on a deeper level may require just relaxing and being with it through regular meditation and/or deep breathing.  When you get to the heart of your problems your intentions will be right and resonate with you on a deep level.   Angie, Barbara, and Rick took huge steps on their journey through their ILP program.

Either by yourself or with the support of a life coach or psychotherapist, you can open the way for a whole new beginning in your life by using the ILP Program.


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