When Things Get Difficult

Written by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D Posted in L. Michael Hall, Ph.D. on Thursday, 05 October 2017.

From: L. Michael Hall

2017 Morpheus Reflections #42

October 4, 2017


Things can, and do, often become difficult.  Surely you know that and have had that experience. So let’s explore that.   First, what does that mean?  It could mean a number of things.

  1. It could mean that you are going to have to put forth more effort and energy into what you’re doing if you are going to succeed.  The difficulty is the effort that you have to expend and if you are already tired, demotivated, or lacking vitality, then the sense of difficulty increases.  In this case, the problem that’s “difficult” is your basic energy level and sense of vitality.
  2. It could mean that you are going to have to do some things that you do not want to do.  You have done what’s easy or fun, now comes the difficult part— getting yourself to engage in those actions that you do not like doing, do not want to do, do not enjoy doing.  Perhaps you feel “uncomfortable,” perhaps it feels like too much of a stretch.  In this case, the problem that’s “difficult” is mostly your attitude.
  3. It could mean that you are doing to have to do things that you find definitely distasteful or even abhorrent.  It’s not that you don’t have the energy or don’t want to do it, you hate the very idea of doing them!  In this case, the problem that’s “difficult” is your semantic reaction to the activity or activities that you are required to do.


Here we have a subjective human experience, one that we are calling— when things get difficult.   When that happens to you (or to one of your coaching clients), what do you do?  How do you typically and generally respond when things get difficult?  How does your client typically respond?  We all have our basic response patterns, do you know yours?  Do you like yours?  Would you like to update yours and develop a more mature, more robust, more effective and productive response pattern?  What about one of your clients— if that’s what they want, do you know how to coach it?


When things get difficult, be sure to first find out what kind of “difficulty” you or the other person are experiencing.  With a know-nothing frame of mind, embrace the “difficulty” and find out what the person means by that term.  With the above distinctions, you now have at least three distinctions to sort out— 

  1.  Lack of vital energy to expend the effort. 
  2.  An attitude of not wanting to do something. 
  3.  A semantic block of hating to do something.

Along this line, you can ask yourself some additional questions about the difficulty to gain clarity about it so that you have a sense about what to do.

  1. Does the person feel helpless?  Is it the lack of power in the sense of feeling dis-empowered and not in full ownership of his powers?
  2. Does the person believe hopeless?  When the person thinks about the difficulty in her future, does she feel that there’s no hope— no solution? 
  3. If the person is hopeless, is that an accurate description of some real constraints in life, or is that a pessimistic discounting way of thinking?  Is this a person tortured with perfectionism so that he does not accept life on its own terms.  Does he have a demanding inner voice that does not accept things?
  4. Does the person feel helpless or hopeless due to the lack of skills and resources?  Often, these feelings are indicators that the person has simply not developed her resources and has not become skilled in handling some activity that needs to be done.
  5. What does the person refer to that is creating the sense of being powerless, helpless, a victim, and hopeless?  Is the person using some past referent, especially from childhood, as his reference point?
  6. Does the person know how to close the knowing—doing gap?  Often a person knows what to do, understands what to do, but does not act. In fact, she exasperates the problem by studying more and learning more, but not doing.
  7. Does the person know how to change his meanings about things?  Does he know how to unload the semantic frame from its negative load, reframe it or defrarme it so that he can give it the meanings that will allow him to take effective action?


Coaching When Things Get Difficult

As a Meta-Coach, do you now have some great ideas about how to coach when you, or one of your clients, say that “things are difficult?”  Actually, with all of the Neuro-Semantic models and patterns that we have in Meta-Coaching System, you have lots of things that you can do.  But don’t just jump in without first engaging in the exploration phase to create clarity about the kind and quality of the “difficulty.”  Do that first.  Then you will have a pretty good idea of what to do.


Now can you self-coach this?  Probably.  And the good news is that most of the solutions are in the APG (Coaching Genius) training: the Power Zone, Acceptance, Unconditional self-esteem, etc.  That’s yet another reason to refresh yourself in APG from time to time.  I’d recommend that you go through APG at least five (5) times to really get it and also perhaps the “Psychology of APG” that we do in the Trainers’ Training course.


A final thought— You could even sell your coaching regarding this.  “Are things difficult for you?  Try Coaching!  See the nearest Meta-Coach for a consultation!”



L. Michael Hall, Ph.D
             Neuro-Semantics Executive Director 
             Neuro-Semantics International

P.O. Box 8
Clifton, CO. 81520 USA
               1 970-523-7877

              Dr. Hall's email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

About the Author

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D

As an author, Dr. Hall is known as a prolific writer with 30 some books to his name, more than 100 published articles and is recognized as a leading NLP Trainer and developer of many models, most notably the revolutionary Meta-States model and more recently the Matrix model. In 1996, Michael co-founded with Dr. Bob Bodenhamer Neuro-Semantics® as a field of study and as an International Society.

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