Perspectives are very simply a way of looking at things. Our own perspective is one way to look at it. We need to be aware that there are other perspectives … ones that we miss, maybe don’t notice, choose not to recognise or take into account.
The way that we look at things makes a difference.
We tend to take a stand. We tend to argue strongly as to whether a perspective is true or false. For example ‘ blondes have more fun ‘ ‘men don’t make passes at women who wear glasses ‘ ‘ It always rains on Bank Holidays ‘ True or false?
What matters is, if you take anything on as a belief, or a way of looking at life situations, things are skewed in a certain way. Each perspective is simply a different way of looking at the same data. The facts/ situation essentially remain regardless of our perspective.
The emotional charge which comes with our way of looking at the facts / situation will have enormous impact. By expanding the range of ways from which we look at a situation a universe of possibilities opens up which could also be true or not. Too often we take an historical experience and make it into ‘the way I am’ or ‘ the way IT is ‘ whatever the situation is as if we were powerless to have it any other way.
Here are some examples of perspectives. No doubt you can think of lots more from your own experience or from what you have heard colleagues, family or friends say. Notice your response to each when you read them.
- Challenging myself gives me more room to manoeuvre
- When I am asked to do XYZ it stretches me beyond my limits
- I’m happy where I am
- Everybody knows who’s driving this & it’s not me AND it should be
- This objective is not high enough
- Even thinking about being asked to take on more responsibility scares me
- Even thinking about being asked to take on more responsibility excites me
- I’m ready for more
- Where’s the challenge ‘cos I’m ready to go
- I’m on track, I’m already here so where next
- Whatever ….. this is too easy ….head down is the best option
- It’s hopeless. I’m just no good at selling myself ….
- You have to sacrifice yourself for the good of the team
- To be successful you have to be committed to taking on more and more
These statements are just one way of looking at a situation.
We often have an automatic response which is our default perspective.
This is the time to be curious.
To wake up and pay attention to how we look at this part of our lives.
Good questions to ask are: What does it get you? What’s the payoff? What’s the cost?
Then look for other perspectives that are also true. Explore them, weigh them up, try them on.
It’s not about finding the ‘feelgood’ one rather to explore an experience, expand ways of looking at it & discover what is the difference that makes the difference to how we look at things.
Perspectives – a way to explore them:
Take a piece of A4 paper. In the centre draw a circle with the issue/ question/ thing that stops you [for example] in the middle.
Consider the perspective you are in at that moment & draw it in like a piece of pie labelling it.
Next step is to come up with other perspectives … opposites …. unreasonable ones … absolutely won’t go there …. fairytale ones … the one you’d really like & so on.
If you get stuck remember to change your perspective. Move somewhere, anywhere so that you can look at it differently.
Even stand shoulder to shoulder with someone/ sit in their chair or walk somewhere, anywhere just to gain a different viewpoint.
Try asking someone else what their perspective would be & try that on to see how it fits.
Instead of the A4 piece of paper you could use your actual workspace & move yourself to the different perspectives & see what information appears from what comes into your line of sight.
Have fun, be courageous & bold whilst holding the knowing that it is only a perspective! So choose the perspective that really honours who you truly are rather than one that keeps you small.