Welcome everyone, especially newly enrolled members of the Solution Focused University (SFU), to whatever this is!
I’m going to share with you what the term ‘solution focused’ really means for me:
The first time I met Elliott Connie in person, he said something that made me sit up straight.
I heard him say “I grew up in a rough town”. I thought “hey! so did I!” (although admittedly not quite as rough as his!). And there we both were decades later, safe and well, earning a legitimate decent living, in a room full of gentle, highly educated people!… How did that happen?!
A few hours later he shook my hand (we didn’t know each other well enough to hug yet!) and said “enjoy your solution focused journey!”.
Apart from on my wedding day, I don’t think I’ve ever said “I will!” with more conviction!
There was something in the way he said it.
And something in the way that I responded.
That something was just kind of an attitude. A stance. A perspective. A way of being.
A few days later I learnt that he’d been awarded a doctorate!
I decided to get a certificate to add to my hard-earnt diploma! Only to do it in a different way this time…
I spent an agonising 3 months writing the first academic essay I could ever recall writing entirely by myself! (I guess I didn’t think I could before!), with only a little proof reading and sentence structure guidance from my wife (still working on that!). She got a first-class honours degree whilst working full time and supporting a husband and two kids, by the way.
There was something in the way she said “it’s very you!”…
When Chris Iveson sent my BRIEF certificate with a covering note including the line “I hope you continue to write and teach”, there was something in the way he phrased what he’d written to me that reflected my belief, no matter how well hidden it might have been, that I could.
There was something in the way he’d clearly chosen to believe that whatever I might need was there.
That thing, on each of those occasions, was the essence, the spirit, of this thing we call ‘solution focused’.
I believe it’s something everyone has inside of them.
However, I want to stress that the job of a Solution Focused Practitioner isn’t to try to make people more solution focused, or even to encourage them to take such a perspective necessarily.
It is simply to recognise and use our own solution focused attitude/stance/perspective in our communication with other people, and respect the choice of response (whether apparently instinctive or deliberate) as being chosen for good reasons connected with their desired future.
That requires radical trust and belief in everyone’s (and I mean everyone’s!) capability to find their way.
There’s something in the way that maintaining this discipline over our communication interfaces with other’s innate capability that seems to act as a catalyst, or accelerant, that can power them forward in the direction they wish to go in their life.
It’s something in the way we approach anything, in fact, that we can use so that we ‘can do hard things’ (Becca and Adam Froerer – thank you for that elegant phrase).
This is especially so when things are so hard (as they for the whole world right now) that we desperately need to believe that we can. Just… that we can.
So now, ‘dear reader’ (as my unfailingly inspirational friend Biba Ribolj has a way of writing – and there’s something in that way too), I’m sending that spirit your way.
Because I’ve noticed something.
Something in the way we sometimes talk.
For a very brief time only, Elliott’s extraordinary project the SFU has re-opened its doors.
If you have any interest at all in this thing we call ‘solution focused’, and you want to really (and I mean… really!) enjoy your solution focused journey, shoulder to shoulder every single day with likeminded people, in a way which is very ‘us’, then click on this link and find out how deep this rabbit hole really goes!: http://www.jointhesfu.com/