#311 – The Power of Metaphor With Alison Smith

Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode. Today. We have Alison Smith. Alison, welcome. Thanks for having me. It is very much my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? I’m a life coach, helping you get unstuck when you don’t know what to do. And I love live up in Scotland. And yeah, that’s about me. Really. Thank you for the introduction. Um There is a few things to ask about but uh if in terms of what your passion, what, what do you enjoy talking about? Oh, yeah, mindset, I would say um, yeah, how our brain or how our mind stops us doing things, I suppose. Well, um there is a, a nice segue there cos I think you, you spoke about a mindset exercise. So would you like to share that? But yeah, the mindset exercise would be think of a situation that you feel like you’re going around in circles about. And um uh so it does require people listening to have a pen and paper so they might want to put us on hold, go and get a pen and paper and come back, not forgetting to come back, of course.

Um And it’s about shifting the mindset. The fact that quite often when we’re going around in circles, we’ve been the fact that we’re noticing we’re going around in circles is the fact that we’ve been going around in circles for a while. We may very well have tried more conventional means of shifting our mindset and breaking free of the circling. And so what I’m suggesting is, well, let’s not engage our logical thinking. Let’s not in, you know, engage more in the story of um because quite often it’s a story we’re telling ourselves about the situation that keeps us stuck. So I always say we’re sending logical thinking on a coffee break, we’ll come back to it. We’re not, we’re not ignoring logical thinking, but we are saying logical thinking, if you could help us, you would have done by now. So let’s just give you a bit of a break. You can have a coffee, um put your feet up and let’s, let’s tap into our inner knowing, let’s tap into a part of us that does know how to break free of the circling. We’re just sort of listening too much to the logical thinking.

And so, yeah, think of that situation you’re going around in circles and what I’d like you to do is draw the circling. And so you might be there um noticing how quickly you’re drawing the circling might be the size of the circling. It might be the direction of the circling. So it’s just noticing what you notice about that circling and then it’s a case of saying, OK, well, I wanna break free of this circling. So how do you replicate that on the piece of paper? So it might be about changing the direction of the circling. It might be about speeding it up, it might be about slowing it down. It might be making it a bigger circle. You might need to go and get a bigger piece of paper to do the bigger circling. It might be about smaller circling. But it’s just about making changes and what happens. And it’s hard obviously because it’s me and you chatting and we can’t see all the people doing it at the other end of the podcast. Um But what me, what will happen is at some point and I can’t say what change it will be that will have shifted the your head.

Is that something shifts internally about? Oh It might be the fact you need to go round in triangles or go round in squares. It’s anything that enables you to see on paper in front of you a a breaking free of that circling. So you were doing that circling now you’ve changed, you’ve played around with it metaphorically, I accept and something shifts inside. And so what then happens is somebody will go uh oh I need to do X and it, and it’s as if your inner wisdom has, has spoken whilst logic’s on holiday. And that is one of my go to techniques because it’s very quick. People look at me as if I’ve gone mad because it does shift something shifts. It’s like, how did that happen? I don’t know how that happened. It’s like, but the way I describe it is, we, we, we all have our own inner, inner wisdom.

We all know at a deep level what we need to do to break free of anything. We’re in logics and the story’s just getting in the way. So by sending logic on a, on a coffee break, we’re really tapping into that inner knowing that does know. And therefore, that’s why metaphor helps because metaphor is much deeper than language, much deeper than thought. And therefore, it’s as if it allows the answer to percolate up. Um And therefore we, 00 I see. This is what I’m, you know. Um Yeah, this is what I’m, this is what I’ve been doing previously and this is what I need to do to break free. I would also say having done this as a podcast episode is I realize that sometimes once we break free, we have to keep walking. It’s that don’t go back to the oh don’t go back to anything that might trigger your 00 Right. This is the familiar way of behaving previously, but drawing it and I, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people just look at me as if, but where’s the problem gone?

I’ve left it on the page and, and people listening are gonna go what? And so I would wholeheartedly encourage people to try it out cos until you’ve tried it, it is always going to feel a bit weird. Well, I think the reason why I’m not doing it, not doing that, um, what I don’t really understand what you mean is because uh I’m making a uh sort of a correlation between something else which is um journaling or, you know, writing down your thoughts. Um I’ve heard it said that it creates space between you and your thoughts and allows you to come up with solutions and that sort of thing. Do you think I was gonna initially ask you, why do you think it works or how do you think it works? But do you think those two are somehow linked? Yeah. Yeah. It’s definitely for me the fact that um that when we’re, when we’re in our thoughts, we’re attached to the meaning behind those thoughts. So it’s that person did this to me. I’ve tried that before. Uh The whole reason I got into using metaphor is that I am the world’s worst at accepting advice from others or me because I, I will defend what I’ve been doing up to now.

It’s that I’m right. This is the, you know, I know I’m stuck I know there’s no other way of looking at it this way. That is all everybody else’s fault. And actually my logic or mind will defend my belief about myself and, and will so whatever anybody says, or even if I try and give myself a logical advice, I’ll go back to defending the story because it’s, this is I’ve put lots of effort into this story. You know, I might have told this story to hundreds of people or, you know, family and friends. It’s like I’m stuck, this isn’t working. And so so so long as we stick with logical thinking, trying to get you out of it. So I absolutely accept the putting distance between you and the problem. And I think what I learned really early on is that using metaphor is hard. And therefore, that’s why I use the language, the metaphor, another metaphor of saying, let’s turn logic, you know, logical thinking on a coffee brain because otherwise our logical brain comes and oh, can I play?

Can I play? No, no, I’m better than creative thinking. Let me play. I know the answer. And so it’s a, it absolutely is point in space quiet, turning the logical thinking down to go, you know what? We’re just tapping into a different part of our brain. We’re talking to a different part of our brain that thinks differently. Who thinks in pictures, who thinks metaphorically, that gets the, you know, tides come and go or whatever because I do use nature quite often as a metaphor. Um And the, and then logic, when you, when, when we go back to logic and say you can come back from your coffee break. Now logic goes, oh, those beliefs, I had only 10 minutes ago, a quarter of an hour ago. I’m no longer as rigidly holding on to them and therefore I can take a step back and therefore I can see what I was miss was not seeing. So I would si I, one of the other metaphors I use is a bit like when we’ve, when we’ve got a problem, it’s as if we’re looking into the corner of a room believing all we can see like we’re right in the corner of the room.

And it’s as if the problem and the solutions or the lack of solutions are because we’re looking in the corner of the room and logic quite often keeps us looking in the corner of the room and therefore metaphor and some of the other techniques I suppose I’ve got in my toolkit, enable us to just turn round and go. Oh, I’m looking at this pro I’m only looking at 10 degrees of the situation. If I look at the other 350 degrees around me, I see things I was missing. So um just to summarize uh people are perhaps getting stuck and they’re circling round cos they, they think that they have a problem and the solution isn’t a solution. So they go back to what it was before and they’re doing that circle. Correct me if, uh if you’ve heard of this or not. But I, what I think of it as is the crazy eight. Sometimes people refer to it as the crazy eight where they loop round. Um, and they’re thinking of one solution and then they go back to the other one and they’re not getting anywhere.

Um The circle that you’re referring to sort of suspends that thinking and allows a bit more intuition. I don’t know whether you refer to it as that. Um And it comes up with a solution because it creates space between them and their thoughts. Is that a fair summary? Yeah, I, yeah, II, I sometimes grapple with whether inner wisdom is the same as intuition, but absolutely. Well, you know, that’s far too uh deep in conversation to be having. So, uh my follow up question is around uh how frequently this exercise um will help. So how often is it that people are running through that, that circle or that Crazy eight where they’re just constantly going through the same thing and not coming up with their, their solution? I would say that most clients will only do it the once with, but that doesn’t mean to say that they don’t let me know 12 months down the road. 18 months down the road. Oh, I found another situation where I was going round in a circle and I tried that exercise. So I don’t know that be, be because I would suggest if that circling hasn’t broken you out of the circling, then we’ll more than likely have tried something else because for me, that’s a real quick one.

And therefore, if it shifts somebody out of the um habitual way of working great, if it doesn’t, then let’s, let’s explore. Although I would quite often continue to use metaphor to do that. Um A a and sometimes somebody might come and, and say, I’m going round in circles, but they say something else in their language and we might, you know, I need to turn a corner and so we might go and turn a corner first. Um Because I am really good. Well, yeah, I love listening to people’s language because people’s language tells them where to find the solutions. But we, we, we quickly zoom past them. So if we say, can’t see the wood for the trees, oh, that’s a, that’s a phrase. It, you know, it’s just I’m just explaining how stuck I am. And my premise is hang on a minute. Your brain is relating to those woods and those trees. And so let’s try and find a solution within the wood because again, we don’t want the story. I don’t wanna hear that this person’s an awkward. So and so, and I’ve been, this is how it’s been for the last 10 years.

It’s like, yeah, and it’ll continue to be if we keep revisiting the story. So if it, you can’t see the wood for the trees about your relationship with this person, then let’s go and ex explore either in reality or in our minds, what we would do in a real wood because the metaphor gives us loads and loads of solutions and then we can go and I have had people walk around um woods and do that where we discover new ways of being as a result of exploring the metaphor in, in nature. So they literally went to a wood. Oh Yes, I’ve had many a business uh leadership team out in woods wandering around. Um You know, there was one because we’ve used the circling who, who was going around in a circle. So he’s there in the woods um demonstrating how big all the circle was. And I said, so where do you wanna go? And he went oh, down that path and he was so certain he was like a real, I wanna go down that path.

And I said, so go down that path and once he’s got about 100 yards away. Oh, but I might have made the wrong decision. Oh And that, that bridge over there. And it was a bit like um the shiny mag, the shiny stuff to magpies. It was a bit like I know I wanna go down this path. I know I want to get to the destination at the other end of the path. But the pattern I’m gonna run even in the wood is being distracted by shiny things that I think might be more interesting than the destination. I absolutely know I wanna go to. So there was no doubt about the destination. The pattern he was running was allowing other things to distract him. And I had, I would say that is the number one sort of solution when you can’t see the wood for the trees that quite often people do know where they wanna be and they’re allowing things to be a distraction. And uh and as soon as they get more focused on the end goal that they knew what they wanted.

So it’s not that they changed the goal, but it’s, oh yeah, I’m allowing all these other paths. I’m seeing paths and going. Oh Might that be a more interesting path than the one that I know I wanna be on and it’s just going, no, I’m gonna put me blinkers on. I, I’m gonna wait until I get to the next crossroads. I’m not gonna be, you know, I’m not gonna allow other things to distract me just yet going out in nature and embodying the words you’re saying. So if you can’t see the wood for the trees go out into a wood and notice what you notice. If you wanna turn a corner, go and find a corner to turn because every time I do the corner turning with a client I always think is that, is this time gonna be the time when they don’t get anything and they walk around the corner and go and it always works. I, I don’t know how is that? You know, but it’s just, you know, I’ve read, um, Caroline, I can’t remember her surname’s book move. It’s called and, um, she explains why. It’s just the fact that our body is moving, our mind is, is, is relating to the movement and it’s, and it’s seeing it is moving forward.

And so when we turn a corner, our brain goes. Oh, yeah, I can leave that behind. I might not be able to see what, what’s around the corner, but what people notice when they turn the corner invariably provides them with the inspiration to actually do it in real life. It is interesting and, um, I’ve got many things I want to ask you about, but for whatever reason this comes up first and that is, there are some interesting, I don’t know if this is the right term, but maybe hacks to the human being, meaning there’s these little quirky things that we can do, which sort of brings out, I don’t know the best in them or perhaps their outcome that they want. And have you got any conclusions or, or thoughts about how interesting it is that human beings are like this? Oh, no. Um, I just think it’s strange that these things occur and it’s strange that they work. But I mean, the, the fact that they do work is a great thing. I just uh from that perspective, then I go back to the fact that, you know, our ancestors before there was words, there was, you know, drawings and then, and then they told stories and you still look at how do we teach Children, you know, um And most of them are, you know, allegories and there’s, there’s stories that convey meaning.

And so I think that’s just the fact that we’re connecting to a, a more an older part of our brain that thinks and therefore it does bypass the logic cos if you think about it is our brains are trying to cope with. So, and, and I, this is my belief rather than having a neuroscientist telling me, yes, this is exactly what it is, Alison. But we, you know, we’re using our logical brain more and more, you know, we’re using their phones. And so it’s just got more, it’s just got so busy that just doesn’t really know how to solve problems anymore. You know, cos cos you know, actually our ancestors would go for a walk, you know, and they’d have a chat and they’d notice something in nature and they’d go, oh, yeah, that’s made me feel better and we’ve just forgotten that and seem to think it’s as if we put our logical thinking on a um pedestal and think. Oh, yeah, that, you know, that’s, that’s how we’re gonna solve all our problems and yet, you know what I suspect that’s why we’ve got a lot of the problems we’ve got, you know, we’re not, we’re not listening to that inner human that doesn’t have an overly complex brain.

Yes. It’s as if our brains, you know, if we look at our parents and, you know, I, I wasn’t brought up with, with, you know, I didn’t, when I was at school we didn’t have computers, we didn’t have iphones and life was not as, as complex and it’s just got quicker and quicker and quicker. A, as technology has allowed us to do more and more. And I just think some of the techniques that I use perhaps are just about exactly as you said, putting space in, giving us a bit more time to go. So, how, you know, what are the patterns associated with this problem? Is it distractions? Is it about not being sure where I wanna go or why I wanna go? Um, and, and there is a, it’s really interesting that if we go, if we take a problem on a walk, we will run the patterns on the walk. So if it’s indecision or if it’s distraction or if it’s difficulty, we’ll do it.

You know, it’s like, oh, let’s go for a walk. Where should we go? Oh, I, I think we should go up a mountain and we’re not prepared for the mountain and we haven’t got the time to go up the mountain. It’s like, like, ok, so how is all of what you’ve just done about saying you want us to go and walk up a mountain reflected back in your normal life about how prepared you are for doing things, whether you think about the resources, how um impulsive you are to start. So all of the things, all of the patterns of behavior that are getting in the way of us achieving our objectives will be with us on the walk. But it’s, and, and the, the difficulty is in noticing that. So if you’ve got somebody there with you, then it’s much easier to go, you know what? We’ve been go, we’ve been walking around in circles here because you keep changing your mind, you know, well, you mentioned something in a previous answer as well about that person who might turn around and say nothing is nothing’s happened for me.

I’ve got no solutions. I was just interested to ask um what you would do under that scenario. Um I would, I would hold the space for that being OK because otherwise I run into, oh my God. Oh, this isn’t working. So I think there’s a hole in the space that that’s OK. And because it might not work for everybody, cos some people are so logical that they really struggle hearing sort of the inner wisdom, I suppose. Um but the other thing I would do is listen out for their language because they will give me another metaphor that I can use. So, so it might be that OK, so tell me what, what it feels like to not have any solutions and they’ll come up with something, you know, oh, it’s like to look into a brick wall. And so I’ve had somebody the other week who, who, who didn’t quite get the fact that we were using nature metaphors. But as soon as we started using computer metaphors, which I didn’t know as much about then they were much happier and they were able to understand.

Oh, all right. So I’ve got a, a program that needs reprogramming. I’ve got a habit, you know, and it’s like, oh, OK. So how do I um program it, how do I stop that program running? And so, so sometimes it’s just finding a metaphor that works for them. So football might work. I, I can’t intervene as much if that’s, if it’s about football, you know, I tried to use football the other week and that’s fine. But my understanding of football is somewhat limited. So I have to ask much more questions of the individual for them to get benefit from it. Whereas nature, you know, I’ve used it for over 20 years. So, you know, I, I can always think of a question to ask on that front. So I think so. I think it’s that I can always find a metaphor to help somebody. So long as they abso they want the outcome, they say they want cos sometimes, you know, I have people turning up and they’ve been told they’ve gotta get come for coaching and they come and they don’t really want coaching and they don’t want to change the outcome, but somebody else is telling them they want to change the outcome.

It’s like, well, until such time you want a different outcome, it ain’t gonna work. Hm. And, um, I suppose the, the roles reverse a little bit in, in relation to, um, you not knowing about football and the other person not knowing about nature cos it then, you know, it’s difficult to relate that way. And, uh, you’ve mentioned, um, metaphors a couple of times. Um, have you got any thoughts about the effectiveness or why you decided to do that? Um I think, I think it just goes back to what I said earlier about the whole, um, you know, we were brought up with stories so we already think in metaphors. I mean, there is a, I use the phrase, you know, we’ve all heard the phrase, I think, you know, a picture paints 1000 words. My sense is a metaphor, paints 1000 pictures. So, you know, I could sit there and talk to somebody for two hours and, and get a sense of what’s going on for them. If they use me, they can I, I, you know, they can do it in 10 minutes. So it’s, it’s a, it’s a lot quicker and the a, and I think the other thing is, is that we’re then looking at patterns.

So it’s not about this person this time. Who’s the pain in the, whatever it’s, oh, actually, what, what is it that means? I either attract people that are constantly being that sort of a pain towards me or what is it that I’m doing in order to encourage that behavior or whatever? So I think it, it gets, it takes it out of the, this individual situation that I am stuck in and looks at it from a program point of view in terms of what’s the pattern of behavior that I am consistently doing? That’s getting me yet again in the same situation that I’ve that. Oh, yeah. Yeah. You know, how many times has this happened to you? Oh, yeah, it happened, you know. Yeah. Yeah. Um Yeah, I am resistant to change. Oh, well, yeah. Every time it happens. Well, ok. So what’s that about? Let’s explore that pattern because it’s the pattern that needs, you know, it’s that program that needs reprogramming, not what you’ve come to see me about because you want that new job now.

Well, it so sounds a lot to me like you sort of help people solve problems um in terms of themes of people bringing certain things to you in order to solve have you noticed any themes in people’s lives that they may need help with? The interesting thing for me is that quite often they’re at transition when they come. So it’s either transition, relationship wise more often than not, for me would be transition, work wise, either for their business or wanting to leave work or um having left work and don’t know what to do. Um But I think the common theme for me is the stuck. It’s like if somebody is on their path and just wants help on their path, I’m not your woman. I, you know, you’ve got to be in a hole, you’ve gotta be stuck, you’ve gotta have tried other things already and sort of be really, uh, there’s gotta be something that, you know, I’ve got to be able to find something. Um, so that’s what turns up.

So, so to be fair. Although there are some clients that come and I sort of, once a year have a, use a particular process with me. That’s more of a, a annual, um, garden maintenance, I suppose. It’s like a little maintenance thing. Most of the time I’m getting new clients who are stuck and then, then they, you know. Oh, great, thanks. And then they’re on their way and I’m, I get too bored, I think to actually have somebody for any length of time because there are other coaches that are much better suited for holding somebody’s hand and coming back and going? Ok. So what did we say we were gonna do here are the actions. Mine’s much more, you know, somebody’s approached me last week and a whole load of coaches had gone back to her. But I think it was the fact that I’m saying, no, I’m really good at getting you out of the hole. And have you got any favorite examples of that? And what, in terms of tools or examples? So, like a case study of something you’re proud of where you’ve helped someone. And yeah, I think, I think a lot of uh I suppose I can, the, the common theme is the fact that people have come going, I’m not enjoying work.

Um You know, I don’t know what to do. I’m very demotivated health is quite often being impacted. So there’s a, a real low energy to the person coming and, and yet the outcome or, or the, or the tools I do are often very similar. So the one, all the ones I’m thinking of now were done remotely. So they were never with me, they were at the other end. But what I did do is send them on a walk. So I’m on the other end of the phone, they’re going out for a walk and I’m just asking them questions about what they’re noticing on their walk. And as a result of those questions. So within, I don’t know, a couple of hours, I mean, not one person she continued to walk and would ring, rang me back. But, but the others all kept on the phone with me. So, you know, I, I don’t suppose for one minute we were on longer than two hours actually. And they’re wandering around, I’m asking them questions. I’m, you know, getting them to stop and I can’t see, you know, quite often with, because of, um, uh, mem, you know, battery, they’ve turned off my ability to even see that they might.

Oh, yeah, I need to show you this, I need to show you that and turn the video on. But quite often I’m asking them questions and they’re describing the landscape without my, my ability to see it. And it’s, and, and I suppose you could argue that there’s an intuition in what questions I ask them and how I guide them around the, the landscape. But it’s also down to their inner wisdom of that, that I might ask them a question. But it’s their inner wisdom that says, oh yeah, there’s a path in front of me. OK. So which direction do you wanna go? Yeah. Is it the crossroads? And, and so then it’s about noticing the patterns. So I suppose what I’m very good at is noting the patterns people are using when they’re wandering around that landscape and therefore when they get back to the beginning, they’ve got more insight about. 00, right. I just need, so somebody the other week sent me a testimonial that said in the two years since our call, my turnovers times f you know, five and at that, and, and that call was instrumental.

So it was, you know, an hour and a half that call was instrumental in shifting my mindset to focusing back on the business and focusing on what needed to do because he’d been getting too distracted. So I think it sounds like a really interesting and beneficial thing to do. So, um I would encourage anyone if they think that that applies to them to get in touch with you. Um But you did mention something which I feel would be, I don’t know, common uh for a lot of people. So it’s feeling demotivated in work and not really knowing what to do. Have you got any generalized principles that you can share on that specific topic? Um I think, I think values, I mean, quite often, if somebody’s very demotivated, I, I suppose I went the logical route, then I nearly gave you a logical answer which would be from a neuro linguistic programming point of view, from a lot of coaches point of view, knowing what your values are, are gonna help you get motivated. Yeah. So, and I don’t agree with somebody giving you a list and going here, here’s some values which of these values motivate you because we’re all great at going.

Oh, I’m motivated by something really worthy and we’re not really, you know, um however, and, and there is a blog on my website that helps you identify what your values are, but it would be a whole podcast interview for us if I was to explain how people did that. But you can find online how to find your values because what happens is we will find values that are getting in our way that are demotivating us. However, on the basis that, that, you know, let’s go with what metaphor would I use? I’d say? Ok, so as you think about your life and you know, your lack of motivation, what landscape comes to mind it now it could be a um And I’m gonna go quite stereotypical here because it’s much easier, easier for people to understand what I’m saying. So it could be, somebody goes, feels like a rubbish dump or it feels like winter and it’s cold and there’s no, no life on any of the trees or it could be a desert.

So it’s about saying, OK, so what’s the landscape that best describes how you’re feeling currently? Ok. So, and then it’s about making changes to that landscape because your de motivation is only a choice you have really. And the a and based on what’s going on in your head. So what you’ve done is you’ve said, oh, I’ve now taken out what’s going on in my head and made it a picture. And all right, Alison’s told me to do it as a landscape picture and, and people could choose cars and football teams and whatever. But let’s, let’s keep to me the nature for the moment. I’ve taken that problem and I’ve put it in front of me and I’m going, that is a landscape that best represents how I’m feeling currently. All right. So how do I make changes to that? So, if you were drawing it, you might draw a different landscape. It might, if you were using pictures, you might wanna cut up it, cut it up or you might imagine. So I had one person where they imagined walking out of and it was a desert and they imagined walking out of a desert.

And then they realized that uh the desert was quite big. And therefore, if they imagined walking out of it, they, you know, they’d expire before they got there. But what they then realized was all I need to do is is shift the axis of the earth. And what I’m standing because that will, that will change my landscape from a desert because deserts are determined by where they are in the world. And therefore, if we change the axis of the planet upon what I am standing in my imagination, I can make this more lush environment. Now, I can’t tell you what that means to that individual, but envisaging that for that person was enough for them to know what they needed to do in order to be more motivated because suddenly the Oh, yeah. No. Life is not that desert that was, you know, orange and dry and humid. And, ah, life is more of a rain forest with trees and green and water and, oh, my God, I can breathe and I think sometimes, and it goes back to your earlier question if I’m demotivated and I’m feeling like that.

Um, there’s a, then my body and my thinking has a whole load of stress associated with that. That means I tense up, I get anxious. Um I might get depressed. So that vision that that representation of the problem is also stopping us cos as soon as we get anxious, we can’t think so. There’s an element of if we change the representation to say no, I, no, I’m I’m letting go of I, you know, it is, it used to be, you know, in the past it was a desert. I am now choosing to imagine my life as a lush rainforest. Even as I say that to you, I can feel my body relaxing. Now, I’ve used me, I’ve obviously used landscapes that work for me. Somebody might have it the other way around. They may find the lush green, you know, rainforest as the um current situation and need to change it to be more dry. So I’m not, I’m not saying that any one of those is right or wrong.

But I am saying that if we start with a landscape that represents the current situation and make changes to it in our heads, then it releases, it releases the tension in our body and our mind that then enables those different ways of seeing the situation to come forward. Well, you’ve literally helped me in real time, cos I was doing that as you were explaining it and um I was going to follow up with a question, but you actually, um you actually answered it before um before I could answer it, but before I could ask it, and my, um, what I was imagining in my head was a running track because, uh, the, the work I’m, I sometimes do is, uh, it’s ongoing and sometimes, um, you know, if you keep running around a running track, then eventually you’re gonna get tired, right. Uh If you just keep having to do the same thing. And, um, you know, the, so the, the reason I’m getting tired is because I’m just constantly running around the running track.

And if you’re a runner, you know, that you can’t just keep running, you have to take a rest sometimes and you have to come back another time. And so my, uh interpretation from that is that I just need to rest a little bit more and I’ll be less tired with my work. Oh, the, the, it is interesting if we look at our, you, there’s, there is some um uh work out there about underlying metaphors that we, you know, that we run our life. Some people might have their life like a Gordon, somebody else might have it like a battle. Somebody else might have it as a race. Um, somebody might have it as a marathon. And the thing is, is that it is then understanding the rules of that metaphor because what you’ve said is, oh, the rules are running are stopping and starting, you know, um, replenishing energy and then coming out fast again. So there’s lots of patterns associated with running as them would be for gardening and they’d be different. But what happens is is that we end up demotivated and struggling when we try and sort of, I suppose bend the rules associated with, with, with a metaphor.

So for instance, if, if you are, um, if you’re in a battle in a war, in a war metaphor, then you’ve got enemies, you’ve got, you know, friends, you know, those, uh you know, people on your side, not your side. Um And so it’s very hard then to have to have a conversation with somebody about nurturing or somebody’s ill cos it’s like, well, actually if they’re ill there, there is a problem because you’re gonna, you, you, you might be the reason why, why our enemies get through, you know, cos if I put you out there, you’re gonna let the enemy through because you’re gonna be ill or whatever. Whereas in a garden we’d say, oh, actually that flower’s not. No, it isn’t flourishing because it’s not got, you know, it needs a bit better soil, it needs watering, it needs protection. And so we have to be care, we have to be aware of what underlying metaphor we’re running. And then as you’ve said, I mean, you could now w write the rules for your running and then you could go.

Ok. So, so what are the problems with that as you have already done? But there will be others. It’s like an, a, an hour. You sometimes a, a is because it will be different. Oh, sorry, it’s different as to whether it’s 100 whether you’re just doing the 800 you’re going around and around, whether it’s a marathon in because actually you could say, um, and I, and, and again, it’s one of these things, why am I thinking to ask you? It is if you’re imagining running on a track, what happens if you imagine running in the countryside? Uh, much more variability, I would say. Yeah. So it, so, and it, it’s sort of just playing with that. So, so there’s no, no right or wrong. You can always go back to, to what you’re doing currently imagining it as the track. But it could be about saying, ok, I’ve seen life as running on a track. I’m never stopping. I’m seeing the same, you know, I’m passing the same, you know, bit of track. Perhaps the track has got a bit of a rut now because you, you know, now that’s me making up a whole load of stuff.

But it’s like, ok, well, let’s just, let’s just play cos the thing is you can play with the metaphor and then you can go back to how it was. So it’s like, you know what I’m gonna imagine it’s gonna be, I’m gonna go the same distance, but I’m just gonna try different destinations and different tracks. Um, you know, perhaps you don’t, you know, I’ve got new knees. So I know that I could only imagine certain tracks and other tracks would be more detrimental to my health um Or I’d get pain. Um But what you’re able to do is by playing around with that, you know, you’re not trying to uncover and, and giving your logical brain loads of thinking about what it is, you’re changing cos if you were trying to do that logically, it would take you forever to try and work out. Wh why, why am I feeling like I’m feeling, what, what are the outcomes of that? How would I like to feel? It really takes a lot of time whereas the metaphor gives it you, you and the speed with which you are able to listen to what I was saying and then think of your own metaphor and then do what I was asking you to do was really quite quick and really quickly you came up with one solution.

I suspect if you spent a bit longer you’d go. All right. Yeah, I’m gonna try running on different tracks. Um, I need to have pit stops in there, you know. So, the, you know, water or whatever, um, you know, what are the shoes like? You know? So, it’s the, oh, if I’m gonna go on different tracks, I perhaps need different shoes. It’s just your brains so brilliant. It know, it knows how to relate to all that, but what it’s done is just opened it up to see it a bit differently and not give yourself a hard time because that’s the beauty of it. If we, if we stick to logic, we beat ourselves up for, um, you know, oh, why haven’t I thought this thing? You know, why haven’t I done that? Oh, well, I’ve been doing this this way for ages. Whereas metaphorically there’s none of that. Yeah. Well, I’m just gonna go for a run differently. I’m gonna give myself a rest. How cool is that? You know? Well, that’s great. I, uh, I think it’s amazing, uh, information and, um, like I say, you’ve already helped me and I’m sure, uh, other people will feel the same way. Um, is there anything I should have asked you about today?

I don’t think so. The, um, uh, the, the bit of information I always get in terms of what’s the biggest lesson I ever get from nature is about patience, you know, because, because nature we have tides, you know, So, if you’ve just missed one tide, you’re gonna have to wait here in the UK 6.5 hours or thereabouts until the next tide. Um And you know, and, and seeds, you can’t so often. Certainly in, with technology these days, we think we can plant a seed and it’s gonna grow immediately. It’s like we plant a seed in the earth. We don’t poke it for the next 10 days going. oh Is anything happening yet? We wait until it comes above, but we do nurture it. We do put it in the right situation. So I think for me, it’s the, you know, na nature tell uh invites us to have a bit more patience, but also to actually make sure that we’re giving ourselves. And perhaps that’s the insight you’ve got yourself for the running about what resources do we need to nurture ourselves so that we can flourish a great thought.

And um if uh people want to hire you or follow you, where do they go? Um There, there are a few Alison Smiths in the world. So, although it is Alison smith.co, um is the website, if you look landscaping your life, then the web, the podcast is landscaping your life. There’s lots of examples of me going out into nature and doing what some of the examples I’ve given you. Um So landscaping your life and then again, landscaping your life on tiktok, Instagram, linkedin, Facebook. So, landscaping your life will find me much better than Alison Smith will. Well, I can relate because there are a number of Thomas Greens as well. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, any closing thoughts for us today? No, just listening to that, listen to your language, listen to your language because you will be saying words that are either keeping you stuck or give you a sense of where you might find a solution and, and you’re using the words as if to affirm your stuck and yet those words will have.

Um, yeah, the key to getting unstuck. Well, um thank you for helping me and also thank you for being a great guest. Oh, thanks. I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you. The to screen podcast is owned and made possible by ethical marketing service. If your business is struggling with Google or Facebook ads, maybe you’re frustrated figuring it out or there’s a performance issue. Ethical marketing service has worked on hundreds of accounts and we can help in this area if you would like to find out if we can help. It’s a free no salesy consultation call and the link is in the description.