Mona Patel on How To Reframe Anything
June 5, 2024
Mona Patel shares how reframing can shif perspectives to overcome challenges and foster creativity. She explains that by asking open-ended questions like "What if?" and "I wonder if?" individuals and teams can break free from conventional thinking patterns and discover innovative solutions.

Mona Patel is an expert in helping people reframe the way they think by understanding and empathizing with other people’s points of view. For over 23 years, Mona's worked with brands like Nike, Facebook, Capital One, First Republic Bank and Pfizer. She teaches organizations how to listen for what people really want. She has started and built a series of 7-figure companies, is a published author, award winning researcher, and keynote speaker. Her latest company, Gray Zones, produces online immersive experiences to inspire leaders to have more empathy, awareness and understanding for different points of view.

When you do reframes over time and you get good at it, you get to start thinking about your thoughts you've got, and you get to start saying I don't want to feel that way about this scenario

What is the Reframe Process

The reframe process is a  tool designed to help individuals see challenges from a different perspective. In her Masterclass talk, Mona Patel explained that "A frame is the way that you view the world. We all have frames, they're all based on our childhood and how we grew up." Her method encourages people to rely on a group to generate new ideas rather than coming up with them alone because "those people are going to be the ones that give you the "what if" and "I wonder if" ideas that will open your mind."

The reframe process involves several steps:

  • First, to three minutes to share your challenge.
  • Then, if you're online, you'll turn the camera off. If you're in a room, you'll turn your chair around to prevents nonverbal cues from influencing the ideas shared.
  • During the next five minutes, the group offers "what if and I wonder if" ideas in a quick, popcorn style. Patel explains, "The 'what if' and 'I wonder if' are phrases that we know, scientifically, lead to them landing better."
  • After the five-minute idea generation, the individual reflects on the suggestions and shares their takeaway in one minute.

When to Use Reframe

Reframes are particularly useful when facing challenges that feel insurmountable or when you're stuck in a rut. Patel emphasizes, "Reframes are great for both where you're stuck and you're challenged." This technique is beneficial when options seem unappealing or when the current way of viewing a problem is limiting. Patel states, "It can also be without a problem. Reframes are often thought of as a way of turning problems into opportunities. But sometimes it can be as simple as what am I missing?"

Using the reframe process regularly help one to build a "reframing muscle," which makes it easier to approach future challenges creatively. Patel notes the long-term benefits, saying, "When you do reframes over time and you get good at it, you get to start thinking about your thoughts you've got, and you get to start saying I don't want to feel that way about this scenario." This ongoing practice leads to greater self-awareness and the ability to consciously choose new perspectives on problems, fostering personal and professional growth.

What are the Benefits

The reframe process offers numerous benefits by encouraging individuals to view challenges from new perspectives. This method facilitates creative problem-solving and reduces feelings of being stuck, as it relies on diverse input from a group to generate fresh ideas. By asking "what if" and "I wonder if" questions, the process minimizes defensiveness and promotes open-mindedness. Over time, the regular use of reframing helps build a "reframing muscle," enhancing one's ability to approach future challenges with a flexible mindset. This practice not only improves problem-solving skills but also fosters greater self-awareness and the ability to consciously shift perspectives, leading to both personal and professional growth.


  • Authenticity and honesty enhance the reframe process.
  • Practice and participation improve the ability to generate and receive new ideas.
  • Understand and reflect on physiological reactions to suggestions.
  • Not everyone may be ready for a reframe, and it's important to respect their pace.

/*video overlay play button*/