Negative metaphor examples

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Posted by gerryshown00 from the Computers category at 10 Dec 2022 05:08:39 pm.
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Exploring people’s metaphors can be fascinating and fun. For example, you might start by asking: “When you’re working at your best, you are like… what?” and gleefully lead your colleague on a voyage of self-discovery which helps the two of you work together much more effectively than ever before. (I did this with a corporate group last week, and this was one of the metaphors which emerged.)

Negative metaphor examples

It isn’t always like that. Particularly when you’re just starting to notice metaphors, you’ll hear more metaphors for negative states than for positive ones, and the metaphors concerned tend to be vivid and obvious. Ask about these, and you’ll deepen the person’s negative state. So when you’re starting out with metaphor work, I strongly advise you to “go for the good stuff”.

But that’s not to say that in my coaching work I never explore a client’s negative metaphor – by which I mean a metaphor associated with an unpleasant or undesired emotional state. The truth is that I do lots of that! But I do it with awareness, and for specific reasons.

I’m currently refocussing my coaching business to concentrate on working with intelligent people who are miserable in their current work, to help them get back to being brilliant (and decide whether to tweak their current role, or move on). These people tend to book for their first session using metaphors such as:

I’m stuck
I’m overwhelmed
I’m up s*** creek
I’m burned out
I’m trapped
I’m in a hole
I’m going in circles
I’m in a fog
I’m constantly on edge.
That’s what they know – and they’re only two willing to talk about how grim it is. They can talk easily about the detail of their current predicament, in metaphor or in conceptual terms.

What they don’t tend to know is what they actually want. And that’s massively frustrating for many of them.

In these circumstances I will help them to develop their metaphor for the current, undesired state. This seems worthwhile for several reasons:

It indicates that I’m meeting them where they actually are, not trying to pretend everything in the garden is rosy
Deepening their unhappiness somewhat can be expected to increase their motivation for change
When they have a clear metaphor for what they don’t want, it becomes much easier to answer the question: “And what would you like instead?” For example, if they started with a vague: “I’m trapped,” and were then asked what they wanted, the response would probably be, “to not be trapped.” But if they were “trapped in a wild-west style county jail with metal bars and a big old-fashioned lock”, what they want might well become “to be out riding the range, in the sunshine”.
I don’t typically end the session with my client still deep in the dungeon! But spending a few minutes there can be useful on all kinds of levels.

Now, here’s an important point. If you’re self-facilitating using Clean Language, bearing all of this in mind is especially important. It’ll be especially easy for you to get caught up in your own negative metaphors and to forget to ask: “What would I like instead?”

I suggest that you set a timer and make sure you spend no more than a third of your available time thinking about (and/or drawing) the negative metaphor before asking “What would I like instead?” and getting to work on developing that metaphor in glorious technicolour!


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If you play football legends in your free time, you'll get to feel the rush of kicking the ball into the other team's goal, which is typically exciting and makes people happy.
Posted by Fugate at 10 Dec 2022 05:08:39 pm.


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I can't overstate how much I 2048 enjoyed reading this piece and how much it has impacted me.
Posted by zelfftru at 14 Mar 2023 06:26:54 am.


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I'm currently refocusing my coaching business to work with intelligent people who are unhappy in their current jobs to help them return to being brilliant trap the cat.
Posted by gaspheel at 16 Mar 2023 04:13:04 am.


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In jacksmith you play as a blacksmith who makes weapons for all your troops. Making guns is a hands-on process. Choose your metal and your mold, melt it, pour it, build it, and make it look the way you want. Whether you're making swords, bows, arrows, axes, or something else, you'll need skill and planning. After crafting, you and your team of fighters go into battle. As they fight, you collect loot and man the guns, and you keep moving towards the Great Wizard Dudley.
Posted by Camilayost at 17 Mar 2023 04:19:29 am.
June 2023
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