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Unlocking Creativity: How to Use Metaphor to Overcome Obstacles

Copse of dead trees against a stark blue sky

Ever feel like “a dry branch on a dead tree - about to snap”?


Or maybe life has been like a roller coaster lately?


We use metaphor all the time to describe our circumstances. Extending metaphors can be a fun and light way to overcome an obstacle - it’s one of my favourite coaching strategies, and while it can be great fun to extend a metaphor with company, you can do it yourself.


Here’s how:

  • Name the problem/challenge.

  • Notice how you feel about it

  • Ask yourself - What is this like? What would this problem be if it were animal place or thing?

  • Describe the thing in great detail - say your problem is like a slippery slide; what colour is it, what does it look like? Where are you in relation to the slippery slide? Does it have a taste, a smell, a feel?

  • Create a scene and notice what else is there. Maybe the slippery slide is in a playground with other play equipment, or is it in a cemetery? (This is YOUR metaphor, and it can unfold HOWEVER you like!)

Once you’ve created a vivid picture and filled in details, ask yourself what it is you would like to happen in this metaphoric scene to move toward freedom? And go ahead and do that in your metaphor.


You may find as you do this that you get some big ah-ha's! as your brain moves from being stuck in analysing the problem into creating an imaginary scenario. And even if you don’t get a big ah-ha!, your brain will have been set to work on coming up with a solution in a fresh way.


Try it and let me know how it goes! This post exists because I played with a metaphor about feeling like I was pressed against a wall with no where to go. BUT, when some of the bricks in the wall could slide in a bit, there were toeholds I could use to climb up and over - and very convenient stairs on the other side to get down 😉 And, if exploring metaphors feels like something you would like support with, you can book a session with me here.






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