A Case Study By Janene Panek, Teen Coach, UNITED STATES
The Case Study Lightness vs. Significance
This case study will assess the disempowering perspective of a client I have by the name of Stephanie. She is a client that is originally from the United States and is living internationally (and has been for a number of years). Stephanie is a client of mine that is very hard-working and willing to take on lots of new assignments/tasks. She is frequently enrolling in new programs to gain certifications and once involved in something, has a tendency to go “all in”, as she’s explained to me. She lives her life in such a way that she has built herself up as a subject matter expert in many different arenas due to her willingness to put in the time and effort. This particular issue she brought to a coaching session allowed her to shift her perspective by the end of our time together and to make a decisive move. I’ll explain how she began with a topic that she was giving unnecessary SIGNIFICANCE in her life (dedicating a lot of time and energy into trying to figure out which direction she would take a current business) and how she shifted perspective to be able to give this issue the LIGHTNESS that it deserved.
CHALLENGE: Stephanie was feeling very consumed and stressed out by a BIG decision in her life. She had a business that she had formerly run successfully in the United States and she was spending a lot of time and energy trying to determine whether or not she should open a branch of this business in her current international location. I will detail the disempowering perspective of my client in this case study as well as explain the reframing of her perspective by the end of the session. The power tool utilized for this case study is Lightness vs. Significance.
The Power Tool Utilized for This Case Study Is Lightness vs. Significance
When the session began with Stephanie, she was visibly stressed out, and her voice and pace of speech we rapid and high-energy. She shared with me that she had recently been spending a lot of time thinking about whether or not she should open this business in her current town (as an additional source of income, as she still has the business set up in the United States). It is a business that she is very passionate about, as it impacts her clients in a very meaningful way. She was bringing this issue to the session as she felt she needed to come up with a decision as to which direction she would be taking her business.
As she reflected back on the style in which she performed the duties required for this business back in the United States, she spoke of the high quality of service she had grown accustomed to providing her clients. She told me of the catered lunch she provided, the special preparations for her clients, and the meaningful connections she had with the clients before and after her services had been provided. Clients paid top dollar for her services and really received their money’s worth. It was a luxurious experience meant to make the client feel beautiful, both inside and out. Stephanie was weighing this decision with extreme significance, as it would be something that would change the course of her work/life balance should she decide to add this business to her international location.
As Stephanie continued with her discussion of this business in the United States, it became clear that providing the highest quality of service was very important to her. She valued hard work and quality service for her clients above all else. She did not want to cut any corners if she were to implement this business in her international location. Her voice began to soften as she spoke of some of her previous clients that she had back in the United States; she’d been able to offer them a way of seeing themselves that they’d never had a chance to see before. She smiled when she reflected back on the way she used to be able to help them FEEL about themselves, the confidence that she’d been able to help them feel. I used my coaching presence to allow her to expand on the aspects of the business that she really enjoyed and in doing so, I saw a smile cross her face and a relaxed posture take over her body. I utilized this opportunity to observe the change in her body language and to ask what was coming up for her. Stephanie was very confident when she told me about the way that she used to pour her time and energy into that business back in the United States and saw wonderful results for her clients. It wasn’t just about the product that they were receiving, but the entire experience and the way that they were made to feel throughout. They would return to her for her services time and again because she was able to provide them with a consistently high-quality experience and product.
She seemed to have a moment of realization when considering whether or not the same level of quality (which seemed to be the thing she valued most when providing this service for her clients) would be feasible to implement in her international location. She spoke of the obstacles that could get in her way if she were to set up an international location: not having a suitable studio in which to run her business (as she has multiple pets in her home, which would require her to rent out a separate space in which to perform the work), not having the staff available to assist in processing the work and helping her to deliver the quality of service to her clients (as she’d had back in the United States) and the overall struggle she would encounter in trying to replicate the business in her international location. The reason this had been such a heavy challenge for Stephanie was that she wanted to be able to deliver the same quality of service internationally as she had back home in the United States.
Significance vs. Lightness is the Power Tool at play in this situation. Stephanie had placed a large significance on this decision and had experienced a great deal of stress over what decision she should make.
Stephanie came to a realization. “I’m not going to do it. That’s it. Nope, it’s not going to happen here”. In discussing the values she held most dear, which was to be able to provide a high-quality experience for her clients (down to the very last detail of hair, make-up, and a catered lunch) through her hard work alongside that of her team of assistants, Stephanie realized that she would only continue to run that business in the United States. She felt that she would NOT be able to provide the level of quality work if she were to expand to her international location, and if she couldn’t deliver that high quality of work that her clients expected of her, then it wasn’t worth doing. Stephanie valued the quality of work over the ability to expand into a new market.
As soon as Stephanie came to the decision that she would NOT be opening an international branch of her existing business, it seemed a weight was lifted. She mentioned that she felt exhausted just talking about it, as this had been an issue weighing on her mind for quite some time. After vocalizing that she was definitely not going to be implementing this business internationally, she had a sense of calm about her, a relief from the dilemma that had been plaguing her. Once Stephanie had a new perspective and was able to consider this decision based on her value system, the issue itself seemed to take on one of Lightness. Once she realized on her own that she would be incapable of delivering the same high-quality work in this new location, she made the decision with confidence. The reframing of perspectives was crucial in this challenge; my client was putting a lot of weight and importance on this decision. Once she realized that she would be unable to deliver the same quality of work for her customers in an international setting, it seemed the decision to be made was one of much more lightness.
Stephanie made the decision that she would NOT be expanding her business to include her international location. She still has a team in the United States that can handle the workload while she’s abroad, and she can fly back and forth to see clients as needed. Making this decision allowed her to free up some time and energy that she had been spending on trying to figure out whether or not to expand the business. As my client discussed this challenge, it seemed that the awareness that was evoked around her value of quality work delivered is what assisted in making her final decision. What was a seemingly SIGNIFICANT issue that needed to be determined became one of LIGHTNESS and my client was able to easily and confidently align her values and her business goals.
The reframing of perspectives for my client allowed her to feel as though a weight had been lifted. She made a very important business decision once she was able to reflect on her value system and whether or not that would be sustainable in a new location.
Stephanie’s FlipIt Framework Was as Follows:
FOUND IT–She identified that she had a challenge before her: whether or not to expand her business in the United States into her current international location. She said she had been thinking about this decision for quite some time and was stuck.
FELT IT – My client spent time reflecting on her business and realized that the most important thing to her is whether or not she can deliver a high-quality experience and product to her customers. She sees the business as a luxury item that her customers pay good money for, so she wants to deliver a high-quality product and experience.
FRAMED IT – In discussing the level of quality that she demands in order to run her business, she came to the decision that she would not be able to replicate the same quality if she were to expand internationally. She realized that she was putting a lot of SIGNIFICANCE into this decision and that it was weighing on her physically and mentally.
FLIPPED IT–Having the ability to express her values regarding the quality of the experience and product delivered allowed my client to shift the weight of this issue into one of LIGHTNESS, as it will be a non-issue going forward. She was able to come to the conclusion that the only way she would expand her business internationally is if she were able to deliver the same quality to her customers as she does in the United States. Once she determined that this would NOT be possible, the issue ceased to be one of SIGNIFICANCE. That shift from Significance to Lightness is what allowed my client to make a decisive choice not to expand internationally.
I maintained my coaching presence throughout the session and allowed my client to reflect on her values around her business. In coaching the “who”, my client was able to determine what her next action step would be with her business. This client’s challenge was a great example of how reframing a perspective can make all the difference. She needed to be able to see that she was putting too much significance on an issue that really was much lighter once she was aware of her value system against the logistics of whether to expand internationally. Asking questions to evoke that awareness is how she was able to come to her own conclusion. Stephanie has moved forward with this decision.