The Best Way to Get the Results You Want: Think Possibilities

One of the most interesting and powerful tools I have in my arsenal is a self-coaching methodology called "The Model."  Developed by Brooke Castillo, The Model is a tool for observing your thinking. The Model fits beautifully into the S.H.I.N.E. Coaching Methodology™ I've developed. The "S" in S.H.I.N.E.™ stands for self-assessment, and The Model is a self-assessment tool.  I use it in my own life, with one-on-one coaching clients and in the collaborative coaching environment to increase performance. 

Performance is at the heart of the coach's purpose. The coach knows that how a coachee thinks is the energy source that fuels or diminishes life. You must stop and observe your thinking, because the quality of your thinking becomes the quality of your life. That's worth saying again: The quality of your thinking becomes the quality of your life, so you need to stop and observe your thinking.  

For example, let's say you have a new idea you want to implement. If you think your idea will work, you will have high energy, excitement and—don't miss this—no self-imposed obstacles. Seeing how things will work is what I call possibility thinking. That's always the kind of thinking someone does first and foremost when seeking a vibrant life.  


Think in terms of what's possible. 

When you think in terms of what's possible, light floods your mind with opportunities, illuminates connections and creates fusion between ideas and strategies, systems and the smarts needed to carry out ideas.  

If you think your idea is far-fetched, your focus is centered on probability instead of the possibilities. Putting probability before possibility is called doubtful or "doubt-FULL" thinking. This is the wrong order of thinking. It's critical that you think about possibilities first and probability second. When you put possibilities first, you increase energy and excitement, and that's the fuel to overcome any doubt that may stand between your idea and its realization.  

So, how do you become someone who does possibility thinking first and foremost?  You stop and do “The Model.” This self-assessment tool allows you to see how you're thinking, and then choose a more—dare I say it—vibrant way of thinking.  


The Model has five components: circumstances, thinking, feeling, action and result. Using the first letter of each of these components, CTFAR, write them vertically on a piece a paper, leaving space for reflection on each component. 

Your paper will look like this:

  • C

  • T

  • F

  • A

  • R

Here are the directions to use this tool:

  1. Circumstances: Simply observe what is going on. Write a short narrative about your current situation. The circumstances are facts. 

    For example, your circumstances might be the following: "My career is stagnant.  The person leading my department is disengaged. I haven't received any training or coaching in years. I consistently see opportunities for improving the business, but I don’t have the resources, power or position to initiate change."
  2. Thinking: Write down the thought that goes through your mind when you think about your circumstances. Make sure this is a thought, not a feeling.

    For example, your thought might be: "I am going to take on a career transition." This is a thought full of possibilities!

    Or, your thought might be: "I am stuck." This is a doubt-full thought.
  3. Feeling: Experience how you feel about your circumstances. Carefully choose a word that best captures that feeling.

    Based on the above example, if you think, "I am going to take on a career transition," then the feelings that characterize your experience might be hopeful, determed, eager, enthusiastic, feisty, justified, motivated, open, released, thankful or vibrant. 

    This is what I call being “up the feeling scale.”

    Or, based on our example, if you think, "I am stuck," then feelings that characterize your experience might be: abandoned, bitter, crushed, excluded, handicapped, left out, oppressed, resentful or vexed.

    This is what I call being “down the feeling scale.”
  4. Action: Identify the action you take (or want to take) as a result of this feeling.

    Based on our example, if you are up the feeling scale, you are fueled to take a positive action.  You can get your resume together. You can visit the HR department to determine a new career path within the organization. 

    Or, you can call a coach!

    But, if you are down the feeling scale, you are depleted of fuel. You will likely choose an action that is less powerful, or one that has no power at all. In reality, no action is indeed an action!  

    You can complain, contend, compare and criticize. 

    You can worry. 

    You can feel sorry for yourself. 

    Or, you can simply do nothing.
  5. Result: Note the realized or anticipated result from this action.

    Based on our example, if you take a positive action, you’ll create energy around you. This invites people to see your genius, so you can put it to work in the world.

    If, however, you take a negative action, you’ll stay stuck.
  6. Discern whether your thinking is serving you or slaying you. 

    It’s obvious in our example that thinking about a career transition will serve our lives while thinking about being stuck is going to slay us. The magic of The Model really is the gift of self-awareness.
  7. If your thinking is positive and powerful, celebrate
  8. If your thinking is negative and disempowering, reframe your thinking by using The Model to choose a new thought that sparks a new feeling, a new action and a positive result. This is where you stand in choice.  

    This is the truth: Despite your circumstances, if your thinking is full of possibilities, your positive feeling will create positive action that brings a positive result.  

Now it’s your turn. Doing trumps knowing. Get out a piece of paper and work The Model. Coach yourself to a result just by consciously choosing the right way to think.

If you think you need help to master this tool so you can feel hopeful, then take action. Nicole Greer, The Vibrant Coach, will work with you to get a powerful result — let's get started!