Perspective can change

I was having one of those days that felt like I was moving in 100 different directions. By 2:00, I had already conducted five prior meetings, all within various realms of my business. I was firmly living in the perspective of feeling unfocused and scattered.

When I kicked off my 6th meeting with a friend and collaborator, I let out a sigh and told her how scattered I felt. I then listed all the things I had done that day. Her response to me was, “Wow. It sounds like you have accomplished so much today.”

That was a very different perspective than I held on my busy day. Hearing her words let me exhale and sit momentarily, enjoying my day’s accomplishments. It was a reset for me. 

Our perspective is only one possible option 

We often get stuck looking at our life, career, work situations, and relationships through the same lens. What if we took a different perspective?

For example, one of my clients, let’s call her Lily, has a co-worker with whom she collaborates regularly.

Lily often sends this co-worker strategic plans to review. However, the co-worker waits until meetings where Lily’s boss is present to poke holes in the plans. Up until the meeting, Lily heard no feedback from the co-worker. Then, during the meeting, the co-worker provides constructive feedback.

Do you have a colleague like this? Lily’s perspective on the situation was: “My co-worker is trying to make me look bad in front of my boss. She is trying to sabotage me and my work.” As part of the coaching, Lily and I were curious and explored other possible lenses to view the situation.

We came up with two other possible perspectives  

  • The co-worker could be disorganized and didn’t look at the material before the meeting
  • The co-worker might like to explore the feedback in-person rather than writing in an email, chat, etc.

We didn’t know which perspective was true, but we were open to looking at different possibilities.

This shifted Lily’s immediate lens from resentment to curiosity. She wanted to understand what was causing this repeated behavior in her co-worker. Ultimately, it required a meeting between Lily and the co-worker to discuss the issue.

The conversation between them was much more fruitful than if Lily went in with only ‘her story’ or her meaning of what was happening.

Lily showed up much more open and curious in this conversation, allowing them to have a better conversation. Eventually, they came to a mutual understanding and a way to move forward.

Perspective-taking

Perspective-taking on specific situations, like the one above, is essential. It can help us spend our energy in ways that will benefit us and not get us caught up in a whirlwind of negativity. It can help us bring about positive change and help us understand the steps we can take to resolve situations. 

Perspective-taking is important in broader cases as well. Let’s look at this new year. What is the lens you are looking through when you look at the upcoming year, and what if you were to shift your perspective? Can you look at the new year through the lens of:

  • Curiosity? 
  • Growth? 
  • Self-Compassion?
  • Realism?
  • Health?

What new ideas and insights come to you?

How does it alter some of the actions you want to take? Does it shift your priorities? How does it change who you want to build relationships with within the new year? 

Be open to changing your perspective

We often get stuck looking through the same lens, which can negatively impact us. Remember that perspective-taking is essential for navigating life, understanding the world, interacting with our environment, and building relationships.