Words, words, words – reframed!

by Aug 20, 2021

I don’t know about you but, there are certain words from the last 18 months or so that when I hear I feel a virtual twitch in my eye. Besides the word for the reason we’re in the situation we have and are in (Covid), those in the top 10 include pivot and iteration.

However, a word that I’ve really come to use a lot recently has been reframe. It’s not a new concept but I was reintroduced to it as one of the five mindsets for Career and Life Design.

Career and Life Design at UTS is a methodology inspired by Stanford University’s Design Your Life program. It uses design thinking to guide us in designing a well-lived and joyful life.

To reframe an issue or question is to ensure that we’re framing it in such a way that it is not an outcome or decision but is creative and not too precise or broad. For example:

  1. What is the total of 2 plus 2?

This option only has one solution

  1. What 2 numbers can total to 4?

This option has many solutions

Old strategies reframed.

Earlier in the year I re-evaluated my well-being strategies because I felt my resilience was taking a hit. This not only helped me regain my control over my well-being but it made realise how much I needed to reframe my strategies due to the prolonged global circumstances we’re all still under. Below are some of my reframes which I’ve found useful.


Being over doing

One of the few things I’m definitely confident about is that I will always strive for more in anything and everything I do. Therefore, I’m always trying to fit in as much as possible in my day and constantly on the search for productivity tools or strategies.

Someone I’m close to recently made me realise that relaxing or resting was also on my to-do list which made it come to feel like a task. I’ll enjoy it but because it’s a task that I enjoyed completing, not actually immersing myself completely to maximise the benefits of relaxing or resting.

I needed to redefine what I meant by “striving for more” in this case. That meant being more balanced with my well-being. This has meant more focus on mindfulness in the activities I undertake to relax and rejuvenate.


Be kind to yourself reframed…

…is another strategy I’ve heard of.

I have tried to use this phrase whenever I try to turn around the “having a go at myself” phase. Sometimes it worked and other times it didn’t. I wasn’t sure whether that had to do with the intensity of what I was going through at the time, or if the phrase was a little too fluffy for my liking.

However, when I was talking about it with someone they had a few suggestions and I was drawn to the word self-compassion. Don’t ask me why, but that word totally worked.

Now when I recognise I’m being too tough on myself, the stopper is self-compassion. It syncs all of my thinking, feeling and behaviour to be compassionate to myself.

Maybe that’s it: compassionate resonates more with my whole being rather than just intellectually, emotionally or behaviourally.


Just do it…

As is the slogan of a famous brand and something I heard recently in a TEDx video.

The speaker was talking about mental health coping strategies and mentioned that just doing something (no matter what) is way better than inaction. Bias towards action is another mindset of Design Thinking to prototype and try things out.

There have been times when I’ve been held back by fear and anxiety, lacking motivation, or just exhaustion. In these times, I’ll tell myself, “just one”… whether that be one more minute of exercise or just try one idea first.

This mindset has been strengthened with the many times we’ve had to adjust our work or our study (or both!) since the pandemic.

We just had to take action (the best at the time) to keep going whether that was personally or professionally.


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Esita Sogotubu

By Esita Sogotubu

Employability Manager

Esita Sogotubu is an experienced career development practitioner with 10 years of service at UTS Careers. She has worked in hospitality and was a newspaper reporter in another life. As an Employability Manager she is a great believer of self-awareness being key to personal and professional development and success. Her work in the Career Programs Team has included the Accomplish Award and Univative. She has a particular interest and passion for international students, as she was one herself.