Settling-In: A Paradigm Shift.

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Photos by Tom Vining, Paulo Silva, Gabin Le Roy and Sergio Souza on Unsplash.

Solving a once thought unsolvable problem, gives you the confidence that you need to believe anything is possible!

I remember sitting in my first community psychology class years ago and being asked to connect the 9 dots below.  The only constraints were that we could only use 4 lines and we could not lift the pen from the page.

Watzlawick, Weakland & Fisch, 1974_2

(Watzlawick, Weakland, & Fisch, 1974)

Like one of the authors of our text (Dalton, Elias, & Wandersman, 2001), I looked at the dots for a long time considering how to join them all using the limited lines, and without lifting my pen from the page.  I tried several options, but none of them completely connected the dots with just 4 lines.  Eventually we were given the solution below.

Watzlawick, Weakland & Fisch, 1974_1

(Watzlawick, Weakland, & Fisch, 1974)

Can you see what our problem had been?  We were stuck within the assumed borders.  We thought that the lines could not go pass the arranged order of the dots!  So, we were limited in the solutions only by the limitations we placed on ourselves.

To achieve what was once thought impossible, you have to think outside the box!

It has been a few weeks since you stepped into your something new!  There’s no doubt that you have experienced a vast range of events and situations that had to be negotiated.  They included celebratory moments, challenging moments, frustrating moments, anxious moments and more.

How did you make it?  By shifting your paradigm and thinking outside of your imagined boundaries!

You noticed patterns, groupings, cycles, and connections that made each day a little less uncertain.  You realized that you have a window of time within which to assess a problem, contemplate possible solutions, and to propose and enact a solution.  You also identified others like yourself who were also ready for a paradigm shift.  This is how you keep that change momentum going.

Consider this theme as it is played out in one of the Madea movies that I enjoy, “I Can Do Bad All by Myself” (2009).

Suddenly, April’s life is changed when she becomes the unwilling caregiver for her sixteen-year-old niece, Jennifer, and her two younger brothers.  She is so used to playing the same old sad song in her life that she wants absolutely nothing to do with the kids.  But, having to care for their needs is exactly the jolt that she needed to begin to examine her relationship with her married lover, Randy.  Her attitude changes even more when an immigrant, looking for work, moves into her basement apartment.  Hard-working and trying to make amends for his troubled past, Sandino challenges April to imagine new possibilities of family, faith and love (Lionsgate,

Does it sound cheesy?  Maybe a little, but that is what a paradigm shift is when you suddenly realize that the solution is right in front of you.  You simply need to step outside the box.

Stepping outside the box has landed you in your new space.  So, don’t limit yourself!

Your perspective has shifted, allowing you to:

  1. Look deeper and more methodically at a problem.
  2. Investigate it thoroughly as you are armed with confidence from your new achievements. Now you will solve problems understanding the root of it, and not simply fight symptoms that can reoccur frequently.
  3. Recognize that with every new idea or every new encounter, something else is possible. Catalogue each idea or experience as something to act upon later as your life expands in new directions.

While you are settling-in, visit my other links at and a Teacher’s Heart is a treasure chest for new team leaders.  Transform yourself and your team in just 21-days.  Then share the benefits with someone else.


Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

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