Dec 4, 2020

Reframing 2020

About Iain

Iain Shippey founded Thincsport in an endeavor to partner with players, coaches, and parents – and consults with individual players, business leaders, coaches, schools, clubs and universities to help them seize the mental edge and develop into transformative leaders. He runs courses in Leadership and Human Performance, which incorporates the fundamental building blocks of Applied Sports Psychology. He co-authored a next-gen course with Dr. Melissa Adendorff, who is an academic, elite ballerina and performance coach. In a very exciting development, Iain is forming a new company, with Paul Mills the CEO of HFPA ( they are going to be offering new qualifications in the fields of Wellness and Human Performance Coaching in partnership with leading Performance Coaches in the USA and NZ. Among the team are Kamerion Wimbley, former NFL star, and  Ron Miller who worked at FSU, Florida State University as a strength and conditioning coach with multiple elite athletes. John Quinn the Crusaders Mental Coach also adds significant value to the team. Iain, comes to life at the intersection of professional sport, coach mentorship, and youth development – describing this as the juncture in which sport facilitates infinite possibility with Millennials and Generation Z. He is part of the SA Men’s Hockey support team, serving under the leadership of coach, Garreth Ewing as a Leadership and Culture coach.

Dear Matrics

A few weeks ago, I wrote, ‘2020, has been a totally insane year! We will remember it for the rest of our lives. On the sporting front, it has been a year of huge setbacks. Some of you might have only played one game for the first team that you dreamt of playing for since the start of high school. You will remember 2020 for Covid, however you didn’t create the memories of the titanic battles fought on the pitch, and the special moments made on sports tours. You didn’t have the chance to have your results read out to the whole school and receive the accolades up for grabs: school colours, provincial colours, SA Schools honours. What a bummer!

But it all lost – NO!!!!

If properly debriefed and reframed, 2020 can be a year that shapes the rest of your years, not because of Covid but the attitude you acquired and the mental skills of debriefing and reframing that you began to master.’

Grieving the loss:

There has been genuine and tangible loss this year, and when you have the time and space, you need to wrestle with the reality of what could have been. Feel the loss, get angry, get mad, get sad, be fully human but keep walking through the dark places. Reach out to mates and mentors, grope in the dark and find the climbing grips on the wall and set your course upward and out of the valley of grief and loss.

Here is a good bit of background reading and YouTubing you could do, ‘A Swiss psychiatrist, Kübler-Ross first introduced her five stage grief model in her book On Death and Dying. Kübler-Ross’ model was based off her work with terminally ill patients and has received much criticism in the years since. Mainly, because people studying her model mistakenly believed this is the specific order in which people grieve and that all people go through all stages. Kübler-Ross now notes that these stages are not linear and some people may not experience any of them. Yet and still, others might only undergo two stages rather than all five, one stage, three stages, etc.  It is now more readily known that these five stages of grief are the most commonly observed experienced by the grieving population.(

Reframing – an essential life skill

Reframing is about altering perception: a new perspective can allow us to find solutions that were previously unavailable.

“Human beings are meaning-making machines and we learn the meaning of things from an early age, from our individual culture and the significant others in our  lives. The meaning or ‘frame’ that we place on something has a  significant impact on how we respond to it.” – Jan Brause

Frames are often described as being negative or positive, out of our control or in our control, and we come across them in everyday situations. Here are some examples:

  • ‘I made a real mess of that’ versus ‘I did my best and can learn a few things.’
  • ‘They made me so angry when they said that’ versus ‘I chose to let that person wind me up.’

Reframing is simply changing the meaning of an event or experience, in the way that placing a picture in a different picture frame somehow changes the look of it. Said differently, it is necessary to clean your car windscreen or spectacles to see clearly.

Reframing is simply changing the meaning of an event or experience, in the way that placing a picture in a different picture frame somehow changes the look of it.

  • Reframing is seeing the current situation from a different perspective, which can be tremendously helpful in problem solving, decision making and learning.
  • Reframing is helping you or another person to more constructively move on from a situation in which you or the other person feels stuck or confused.
  • The aim of reframing is to shift one’s perspective to be more empowered to act – and hopefully to learn at the same time.
  • Many times, merely reframing one’s perspective of a situation can also help people change how they feel about the situation, as well.

Reframing is useful in times of high flux and change because sometimes people get stuck with a particular way of perceiving a situation, and that may be disabling rather than  enabling for them. Reframing helps them to see things differently  and subsequently come to different conclusions, or feelings,  about the event or experience.

  • Your ability to reframe this situation provides a new perspective, and often a sense that things that seemed impossible  may now be possible.

Reframing isn’t about pretending that everything is wonderful. Instead, it provides more and varied ways for people to consider the problems they are facing and to find easier ways to solutions that work for them.

When working to reframe perspective on a situation, consider the following basic guidelines.  Keep in mind that, even though the following examples are about another person’s comments, you can use the guidelines to shift your own perspectives, as well.

Shift from passive to active 

For example, if the other person said, “I don’t want to work on that now because it makes me feel sad,” you might respond, “What small part of that might you work on for now, that might even leave you feeling a bit more happy?”

Shift from negative feeling to positive feeling

For example, if the other person said, “I’ve never been good at public speaking,” you might respond, “If you imagined yourself to be successful at public speaking, how would you be speaking that would be successful?”

Shift from others to oneself

For example, if the other person said, “They don’t seem to like me,” you might respond, “What do you like about yourself?”

Shift from victimisation to empowerment

For example, if the other person said, “That always seems to happen to me,” you might respond, “Sometimes we even do that to ourselves.  Perhaps it’d be useful to explore if you’re somehow doing that to yourself, too?”

Some useful questions to ask yourself as you endeavour to reframe 2020

  • What would (insert name of role model) do in this situation?
  • What would you do if your life depended on the satisfactory resolution of this problem?
  • If you were your mum, teacher, mentor, coach, what question would you ask right  now?
  • What would you try now if you knew you couldn’t fail?
  • What would you do now if you were already the person you know you have the potential of becoming?
  • I know you don’ t know, but what if you did know?

Reframing is an essential life skill for you to use in a range of  different circumstances. All of these reframing techniques, can be used when your find yourself stuck with a  particular way of looking at a situation. In this way, through acquiring these tools in 2020 will serve you for a lifetime of navigating the unpredictability of LIFE!

Acknowledgement: some of this material was sourced from: Jan Brause and Carter McNamara

To all the supportive parents, mentors and coaches reading this article consider joining Thincport for a two part conversation with parents. Here is the link to the registration.

Shana Devitt I Editor