Create emotional freedom with this fast mindset switch

If you sometimes go dark side with how you view things that happen in your day to day life, here's an expert's coaching framework to switch things up fast.

Do you want to know how to create emotional freedom in your life? I’m going to tell you, but first I want you to time travel with me back to a crowded car park on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago.

My friend—who is also a coach—was driving through, looking for a spot so he could do some last-minute shopping. And something happened that helped him change how someone felt about their Christmas.

I’ll finish that story soon, but to give it some context I’m going to talk about an idea that comes from coaching, which has the ability to really create a lot of emotional freedom inside our lives.

Do you know someone who is emotionally up and down a lot?  They’re not consistent, and they’re not really sure what determines how they feel from day to day.

From a coaching point of view, we want to add a level of awareness to ourselves and our clients, because when we know what’s actually causing how we show up we can move to the next thing.

So from awareness we move to acceptance, and finally to action. Then we can create some change and choose to have a life more in alignment with our values. That creates closer relationships with ourselves and the people around us, and ultimately brings more peace and fulfilment.

Essentially the idea is that nothing has meaning except for the meaning we give it.

This is really important when it comes to knowing how to create emotional freedom.

We are in control of the meaning that we place on events that are inside our lives.

The meaning we place on things then determines the emotions we experience.

So, back to my friend in the car park.

When we left him, he was looking for a spot. Another car reversed and hit his car. There was a small amount of damage and nobody was injured.

Still, the other driver was upset. He threw his hands in the air, and said, “Christmas is ruined.”

That’s the meaning he placed on the accident.

Because my friend is a coach, he knew the importance of being aware of how we frame an event. That’s a coaching term for the meaning we place on things that happen. As I said before, we are in charge of that meaning. It’s up to us.

So, he spoke to the other driver: “What do you mean, Christmas is ruined? Christmas hasn’t even started. Let’s exchange details. Let’s take care of this and get back to our families.”

The other gentleman was quite emotionally involved but as he heard my friend’s words, you could see his shoulders start to drop. The colour in his face changed. He calmed down and accepted a new meaning for the situation.

Something similar happened to me. Another friend invited me to dinner a renowned Chinese restaurant in Melbourne, in the city. We were looking forward to it, food was supposed to be great.

When we got to the restaurant, it was closed.

My friend said, “The night is ruined.” I said, “There’s restaurants everywhere. How about we go for a walk and find another one? I’m here for the company, it doesn’t matter where we eat. ” So we did, and we had a great night.

This realignment of mindset is simple but also quite profound. Think about the times you’ve had an emotional upheaval, then ask what was the meaning you gave to the event.

Then ask how you felt. And know that if you didn’t like the emotion you felt, you could have chosen a different meaning to place on the event.

Ultimately what this framework to create emotional freedom gives us is the ability to take responsibility for our emotional experience.

This lets us choose the way we show up.

Of course, you’re not going to get it right all the time. I don’t. Not even close—and every now and then I drop back into total humanness and whinge and complain and have a crappy day.

Still, nine times out of ten I want to bring this into conscious thought and really choose the meaning I’m placing on events and decide, ‘Is this the experience I’m meant to be having?’

If not, I’m going to change the meaning. I’m going to change my experience.

Start using it right away. It’s a very powerful insight.


One of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend

Matt Lavars life coaching
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute