You're determined to begin exercising regularly. Starting January 1, you're going to keep your office organized and free of clutter. Or 2006 is going to be the year when you finally finish writing that screenplay or start working on your master's degree.
Hold that New Year's Resolution!
If you really want to extinguish a bad habit or institute a good habit, what you might need most is a story. If you are serious about starting an ambitious new venture or winding up a project that's in limbo, what might serve you best is an analogy or allegory.
That's the compelling thesis of The Playful Power of Metaphor: Harness the Winds of Creativity, Innovation and Possibility, a new book by Christie Latona and Janet Fox.
There's often a gap between the plan and the pay-off, the authors contend, and just knowing what you need to do may not be enough to spur you to action. If you're stuck, for any reason, the best starting point might be to describe what the situation feels like. Maybe it feels like pushing a rock up a hill, or like being required to walk down naked down Main Street, or like uncovering a hornet's nest. Whatever metaphor springs to mind can be expanded and used to understand the obstacles and illuminate options.
Latona and Fox, who both are consultants, coaches and group facilitators, also describe how to put on metaphorical hats to reframe challenges and problems, and tap into creative solutions. A child's beanie, for example, can break through the boredom of having been there, done that and seen it all. Metaphorically putting on a miner's lighted helmet can help provided needed focus when the To Do list becomes overwhelming. A chef's tall white hat can keep the emphasis on working with what's at hand, rather than waiting for the perfect ingredients. Or that same hat could be a reminder that presentation makes many things more pleasing and palatable.
Published in November by Fun & Done Press, The Playful Power of Metaphor is packed with the examples, exercises and inventories to make it an effective self-coaching tool. At 54 pages and $10.95 , this book is what regular exercise, orderly offices, and completed screenplays often don't appear to be – obviously do-able. The person who picks up and works through this little treasure trove will emerge with a new set of tactics for getting the hard things done, and even for making them fun.
The Playful Power of Metaphor is available for purchase on the web at www.christielatona.com .