What Is Your Overnight Solution?

When a client is stuck and they are unsure of what they want or how to tackle an issue they are facing, sometimes I use what I call the overnight solution.

Employing the overnight solution is not exactly a last ditch effort but it is one that helps the best when the client is overwhelmed and struggling. It is best used when the client is unclear, and maybe even not fully aware of what is happening in their life and what they really want to have happen in their life.

Imagine you are the client and things are all topsy-turvy in life for you at this time. Your job is a mess, maybe you have problems at home, or you just feel less than great overall. It could also be a combination of the three or even more things.

Now imagine going to sleep tonight and waking up tomorrow morning and everything is perfect, everything. Overnight everything that wrong or challenging in life just happened to fix itself or be resolved while you were sleeping. Describe to me what that would look like exactly.

For this example, let’s say that you awoke and got a job offer for a new awesome job if that was the source of your angst. You have identified the irritating circumstance in your life and you have also identified the desired result. The problem is for some reason or reasons you do not like your current job or position at work. The solution is for you to find a better job that is a better match for you personally, or for your skill-set, or maybe just pays more.

This is where I like to use what I call reverse engineering. Since it is now clear that you want a new job, we will start from there and work backwards. What does your perfect job look like? What perks and benefits will it offer? What will the pay be like? Is it a short commute or a long commute? Is it a job where you travel a lot or not, whichever you prefer. Is it a job with upward mobility? What kind of environment is it and what would your coworkers be like? Of course, I would have you write all of this down as all of my clients do a lot of writing and note taking in our sessions.

The overnight solution has provided us with your solution and end result. We have taken the time to identify what that result and outcome looks like in detail. Now we take another step backwards to define and strategize the actions steps you need to take to get there.

Where might you find this job? Who could you talk to that might be able to help you find an opening somewhere that fits the description of what you want? How many jobs will you apply for a week? What other resources can you use in your search for that new job? This is where the action/accountability aspect of the client and coach relationship gets its wheels. We work together to come up with your plan which you as the client execute, and I as the coach, ensures through checking in either via email, status calls, or following up in the next session how your progress for that week went.

The overnight solution is not the only process that can be used in coaching. It will often be the precursor to other processes being brought into the loop, but when clarity and vision are lacking, it is one of the best processes to jump-start change and transition when it is needed. It is one of my favorites just because it is so darn simple to use and implement.

So the next time you find yourself confused, conflicted, dissatisfied and are unclear on what you want to have happen next or what direction you want to go, try the overnight solution and see what you come up with. Define what it would look like in detail if all of your problems were solved overnight. Work backwards from there to define your action steps. Once your action steps are laid out, begin to move forward on that path.

If you woke up tomorrow morning and everything was perfect, what would that look like for you? What is your overnight solution?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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