The Gift Shift: How to find the blessings in disguise
Here’s a short story that might help you if you’re ever facing any kind of resistance, problem or challenge.
(Inspired by a recent mini-epiphany in my workday.)
It all began with a writing project that I really wasn’t looking forward to.
This was a rare thing for me, I’m very lucky in that the majority of work that comes my way is enjoyable and interesting. #blessed
However, I’d agreed to this project as a favour to a client, so when I finally sat myself down to write it, I wondered how I could approach the work with a more positive mindset…
Then my lovely muse reminded me about a new mindset tool I’ve been experimenting with, when facing problems, challenges, or undesirable scenarios.
It’s a mantra to use in the face of resistance, the simple phrase;
There’s a gift in this.
I’ve been using this trick a lot lately – for every seeming adversity, problem or obstacle that arises, I challenge myself to look for the gift.
Because I’ve noticed from my many past problems – there was always something in the experience that was valuable in some way.
Maybe it was that I learned more patience, compassion or self-awareness.
Or maybe what I thought was a problem was actually a wonderful blessing in disguise, guiding me to a bigger, better, brighter solution than I had even thought to imagine.
Or perhaps the problem forced me to see what I was really capable of. (Which is always good to know!)
So I’ve adopted this simple little psychological trick as my go-to reframe whenever I think I’m facing a challenge problem or issue.
I call it…
The Gift Shift
Because – if nothing else – saying the words; There’s a gift in this, provides some much-needed encouragement at a difficult moment.
It flips the mind from resistance, struggle, begrudging resentment or defeat – to a more positive (and helpful) train of thought.
It’s a fast-acting and highly effective shift of focus.
For me, I can’t help but begin to wonder what the gift might be, and to look for clues as to how this challenge is actually some kind of gift or divine redirection.
It’s a positive and creative response, kick-starting my Inner Sherlock Holmes to unravel the riddle – as opposed to letting my Inner Sulky Teenager pout and complain.
Choosing to respond with this phrase also has the lovely side-effect of diffusing resistance.
It neutralises any fight or flight tendencies- the urge to avoid the problem or rage against it.
It creates space for allowing and acceptance, and guides me away from fight and resistance.
And so how did my new mantra help me with my ‘problem’ project?
At first, I couldn’t see any way this particular project could be a blessing, but with less resistance, the work felt much easier.
The words flowed, I actually began to enjoy the project, and within a few hours, the job was done.
Not only that, I felt really proud of it – I’d somehow managed to do a great job!
Without resistance – we are naturally creative and inspired, tapping into our talents easily, and effortlessly accessing our inner genius.
So, I proudly sent the work off to the lovely client.
Almost immediately, I received the most heart-warming email reply – full of grateful thanks and a renewed excitement for her website.
Hello Gift #1
That email was such a joy to receive, making me feel good about myself and my work, bringing satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment to my Wednesday afternoon.
Happy clients are, in my book, gift enough for doing my work well.
But given that the work was for a local non-profit doing amazing work in the world, I also felt proud that, by infusing the text with uplifting and optimistic words and ideas, I had in some small way improved the website experience for the people who needed these services.
I felt good about supporting a very worthy cause – Gift #2.
But later in the day, as I reflected on what I’d put together for my client’s website – I had some amazing insights for how I could improve my own website!
Hello Gift #3
So, what had felt like a difficult task I wanted to avoid turned out to be a Triple Gifter!!
Would I have noticed all these happy blessings without my new Gift Shift question?
But maybe not.
So, if you ever have a challenge, problem or issue that you’d like to approach with a more positive response, I invite you to try The Gift Shift.
There are actually a number of ways you can use this tool, but just start with the easiest, or the one that appeals the most to you, and see how it plays out.
The Gift Shift
How to find the blessings in disguise
Just say to yourself, out loud if you can; There’s a gift in this.
• • •
Pose the question; What is the gift in this?
Or, I wonder what the gift is here?
Where is the gift in this?
This approach sets the solution-seeking aspect of your mind to work, actively seeking the blessing in disguise.
And we tend to find what we seek.
• • •
And for maximum benefits…
Say: Thank you for the gift in this.
Dr Wayne Dyer claimed that gratitude in advance is the most powerful force in the universe, and after decades of spiritual studies, I can cite many great minds who would back up his claim.
Giving thanks in advance for as-yet-unidentified gifts is not easy!
But, if you can do it, it’s a potent reframe that not only reduces resistance, but also boosts your self-mastery and spiritual karma.
So, I hope you’ll play with The Gift Shift some time, to see if it can help you turn around a challenging situation.
Or if you already use a version of this technique, I’d love to hear about it – I’m curious as to whether it can work for any challenge, disappointment or seeming adversity.
Wishing you a wonderful week – may your blessings not be too well disguised.?
PS If you’d like more spiritual principles to help you along the bumpy creative path, I’ve compiled all my favourites in Your Creative Dharma online course.
Discovering The Joy of Dharma is, I believe, one of the greatest gifts of life.
(It also has some pretty nice ripple effects for your finances…)
Details below, if you’d like to explore your dharma – your Life & Career Sweet Spot – with a little help from the divine…