Why the Proud Moments Matter, And How to Ask About Them

Posted by Elliott Connie - November 18, 2018 - Solution Focused Therapy - No Comments

One of the most powerful questions you can ask a client is “what are you most proud of in your life”? The answer to this question can not only address whatever problem brought them into your office but can transform their lives. In this video you’ll see exactly what I mean and how to ask these questions in sessions.

 


If you were to ask me what in my life, I’m most proud of, the answer may surprise you, but it would certainly make a difference to me. You know, a lot of people think that, um, you know, what I’m most proud of or what people most proud of or associated with accompliment accomplishment. It’s like, uh, my bachelor’s degree or my master’s degree or the books that I’ve written or professional status that I achieved are doing keynote presentations and all this stuff like that. But the truth is none of that is what I’m most proud of. The truth is, if you asked me what I’m most proud of, um, to me it’s a really, really clear and simple response. And what I’m most proud of is I, um, I grew up in a really difficult living environment. My father was a very angry and abusive man.

Um, and I tell people all the time, like the, the, the physical abuse that I was subjected to wasn’t something that, that was the most challenging, the most challenging was the emotional things that took place in the verbal things that took place. I was really, really hard childhood and even as I was living it, I was aware that a statistically the, um, the odds were against me and, and becoming something that rose above that environment and manage, lead you. Even the fact that I’ve, uh, I’ve, I’ve become something more than a statistic is not. Um, what I’m most proud of, what I’m most proud of is when I was 19 years old. Um, my father came to visit. I was living in Texas at the time in college. My father came to visit me and my brothers, but at this time my parents were divorced and uh, me and my two brothers were living in Texas.

Uh, two of us were in college. My younger brother and I, and my older brother was a working somewhere and my dad came to visit, uh, come to Texas and we had gone out to hang out. And one of the things we did was go see a movie and walking out of the movie, um, my, my older brother made a comment that made my father upset. And without going into too much detail, a big physical fight, uh, took place and it was my older brother and my dad got in this big altercation right there in the parking lot, leaving the movie. That was really, really bad situation. And um, I was driving that night. I’ll never forget this night, I was driving that night and um, when, when we broke up the fight and everything kind of simmer down a bit and we got into my car and um, my father, I got in the driver’s seat and my father got into the passenger seat and slammed the door.

And for some reason, um, to this day I can’t explain why, but I had had enough. I had had enough of the abuse, the disrespect, the emotional turmoil I had had enough. And I turned to my dad and I said, I’m, I’m not going to start this car until you close my door. Like a civilized person. I had never stood up to my father in such a way in my entire life. And now here I am 19. And for some reason, this is the moment my father looked at me like I was crazy. My father turned to me and he looked at me like, you know, the audacity of you to say such a thing to me. And I said, I’m serious, I’m not going to start this car until you close my door, like a civilized person. And my dad got out and walked to his hotel, which was three, four when I walk along the highway.

And, uh, my little brother decided to walk with him so my father gets out of the car and starts walking, yelling Kurt’s words as he does it. Um, and my little brother said, I’m going to go walk with dad. And my little brother went and walked with them. And um, I remember sitting in that car and my father walked and I was really, you know, I’d never stood up to him before. And I never held my ground with my own boundaries. And I was a turmoil about it. If it wasn’t proud of it at that moment, I can tell you I was just, you know, they had a lot of terminal about it. I decided to drive to my hotel, to my, to my, uh, the hotel where my dad was staying because I didn’t want my little brother’s stranded and uh, my older brother and I just sat in the parking lot waiting on my father and little brother to run.

My father arrives at the hotel and he completely ignores us and he walks into the hotel and he goes, my little brother comes and gets in the car and we drive to where we live. I got to the hotel and I called my dad and I said, um, you know, I don’t mean to sound disrespectful. I don’t mean to be harsh, but I have to create a life that is devoid of being yelled at, disrespected, hurt, punched. All that stuff has to change. It’s gotta change tonight. And my father hung up on me. Now this was before cell phones, you know, we still had like, you know, there’s, there’s a, a recording of me. We had cell phones back then, but we still had those, a voice recorder, the answering machines at a little take on it. So, um, I called his cell phone and told them all those things and he hung up on me when I, when I started.

So I, and then I called, I called his home obviously because I knew he wasn’t there so I could leave a message that he would when they get. And I basically told him, uh, my commitment to myself is I will not have a life where people can yell at me personally, hit me or cause me emotional turmoil anymore. It has to stop. And tonight’s today, today’s the day that I’m saying and stop it. And um, the thing I’m most proud of my entire life is no one’s ever cursed at me, hit me. He disrespected me, caused me immersive, emotional, total turmoil. From that point forward, I have been able to keep that promise to myself even though it’s been difficult, even though it costs me the relationship with my father, I, um, I’ve been able to keep that promise to myself. That means the people around me, uh, have not experienced the trauma that I went through as a child.

Then it means the world to me and the reason why I think asking questions like, so what are you most proud of in your life matters so much because once I remember that about myself, I am different. When I remember that I have been able to create a life that is completely different than the life I grew up. It does something to me. It does something to my ability to cope. It does something to my ability to create its don’t suddenly my ability to perceive it impacts the person that I am. I don’t need a suggestion. I don’t need anything except to be reminded of who I am. When I’m at my strongest and I’m at my best because I now know when I met my strongest, when I’m at my best, I can do things that statistics say I’m not supposed to be able to do.

I can do things to make my life healthier. I have a level of strength that I didn’t know that I had until my door got slammed in that one night when I was 19 years old. I’ve gone onto use that strength in many, many ways and when I have difficulty in my life, I remember who I am and why it’s so wonderful to ask clients questions like, what are you most proud of in your life? It helps them remember who they are and it’s beyond just their accomplishments, right? Who cares that you’re a doctor or a lawyer or whatever. It’s all about like, what is that moment when you took control of your life and you did something different and you know some of you might be listening to them. Well, what if a client doesn’t have those moments? We all have those moments. Even if they are.

Even subsequent to that, we struggled some, but we all have those moments. I remember when I was working in my first job in his field was working at an agency and I was working with people who are working to overcome drug addiction and I’ll never forget, I was so blown away by this. This one guy, he said there was a. There was a guy who walked in and he could tell it was his first day at this group meeting. So this guy who’s really experienced in the in the world of of 12 step programs and things, a person who had a significant addiction history of his own and he walked over to this person and he said, Hey, can you do me a favor? Can you just stare at your watch for 60 seconds? And the guy looked down and just walk for 60 seconds.

And he said, Hey, can you do that again? And he looked down at his watch for 60 seconds. How about one more time? Can you, can you do that again? And the guy looked down for 60 seconds and he said, never let anybody tell you that you can’t not use drugs for three minutes. And I was like, wow. I mean, that’s what it was doing was reminding the person that he has agency over his problems. And what I remembered was I had agency over my life, but once I remembered that my life changed. So when you’re working with clients, I want you to believe in them and I want you to ask them questions without any preconceived notions about what their responses might be. And I want you to ask them what in their life they’re proud of and not just a little blow you away with their story. So they will blow themselves away by reminding themselves who they are. And once people remember, solving a problem becomes secondary. You know, I am no longer afraid of problems in my life. I’m not afraid of change. I’m not afraid of the tough moments. I’m not afraid of hard work. Uh, and it’s because I remember that night when I was 19 years old, I decided to live a life without abuse, without anger, without

that pain. And um, I now know that a type of person who can keep that promise to myself for 23 years

when I remember that then overcoming one life circumstance, even though the life circumstance may be challenging in itself, but I remember that I’m kind of a bad ass to like the, the, the problem that I’m facing may be difficult. But I also remember that I’m, I’m, I’m a little bit of a, I’m a little bit of a challenge. That problem as well. It’ll remind you of that old quote, you know, when the man whispered, I am the storm, you know, the devil says, beware of the storm and the man which pulls back, I am the storm, you know, I get to remember that. Yeah, the check the world can throw some stuff at me, but I’m a bit of a hassle myself. I can handle some stuff. And when you remember that your capacities go up and I want you to bring that

lesson into your therapy sessions. I want you to, when you’re working with a client is at a tough time. You remember you’re talking to someone who is at some point in their journey, been a bad house, maybe not the whole journey, maybe not the whole time, but at some point in the journey they have been stolen and part of our questioning has to tap into that and help the client transform into that person. So maybe a solution focused conversation doesn’t do anything at all to the problem, but it does something to the person who’s experiencing the problem and then they become capable of overcoming it just by remembering they are habitual overcomer of problems and that in and of itself is valuable information and has unbelievable transformative qualities. And I know that subjectively from my own life, I didn’t need to learn that in a book. I didn’t need to be taught that in some theory class and I didn’t need to be taught that in therapy session.

Life taught me that and I want you to remember that when you’re working with your clients and ask them questions about what in your life you’re most proud of and help them find that hero moment. Help them describe what it’s like to be that hero moment, helping to describe where they found that hero inside of them and watch their life change because it’s a magical experience. So I hope this video was helpful. Thank you so much for watching. Please comment below. I love to hear your thoughts, but my videos already been sending me emails and comments like, I adore you guys. Uh, please like and share. Help me spread the message. Solution focused. Brief therapy I think is underrepresented in our field. And I need your help to help me spread, spread these words and spread this message and I will see in the next video. Thank you.

 

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