3 Ways to Challenge Your Perspective

      Recently I received a strong message about seeing things from a different perspective.

      I am fortunate to live in an area that has an abundance of forests. I was hiking with a friend last Sunday and we had chosen a trail that was 4 km long.

       When we were close to the end my friend suggested we turn around and follow the same path back the way we had come in order to lengthen our hike. The initial reaction in my head was, “But we’ve already seen everything on this trail, we won’t see anything new by taking the same path.” However, I squelched that thought and turned around to follow her. What truly amazed us both is the number of new things we saw that we had not noticed on our initial pass along the trail. By viewing the path from a different direction, it truly was as if we were walking on a different trail and having a completely new experience.

      Coincidentally, this theme surfaced with multiples leaders in executive coaching sessions this week. One leader was talking about the frustrations of trying to influence a group of Department Managers with whom she had a history of challenges. As she described the challenges, she realized that she expected to have issues with this group and she always did. Her perspective going into every meeting was that "it was going to be a challenge". She unconsciously was setting the stage for what she experienced.

      Another leader was talking about some recurring organizational issues and when challenged to have some candid conversations with his leader he explained, “I’ve been down that path, it never works!”

      Try asking yourself these questions when you're stuck in a negative thought pattern: 

      1. How many times do I walk the same path and expect to have the same experience?
      2. How does this  impact the way I'm approaching certain people or situations? (What would I see if I walked the other way?) 
      3. Do I make it a habit to look for something new in ‘old’ situations?

      As human beings we like to believe we are right and are often slow to think out of the box if we aren't getting our desired result. However, the quicker we can change our perspective the quicker we can find a solution to our problem and move on. The above questions disrupt our normal thought patterns and force us to think differently. With a little training and repetition you can make this second nature.

      I love this quote from Dr. Wayne Dwyer, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

      This week try walking down your own ‘trails’ with a new perspective and see what’s different along the way. 

      Here are 3 Ways to Have a New Experience

      1. Look inside yourself.
        How is your approach contributing to the situation? How can you approach the situation from a different angle?
      2. Look for something new in old situations.
        What would it take to change how you think about that situation or person? Can you see if from the completely opposite perspective?
      3. Be open for something different to happen.
        Frank Zappa said, “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” How can you be more curious about what others are seeing that you might have missed?

      Let us know what you find by commenting below!