Have you ever felt stuck? When I get stuck, it’s usually because I’ve lost perspective on whatever situation I find myself in. Diana Bader, my podcast cohost, and I started talking about it one day and decided to carry it over to Episode 127 of our podcast, Uniquely Brilliant.
Before we recorded the episode, I googled the definition of perspective:
- the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.
- a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
Diana and I both were struck by the phrase: so as to give the right impression of their … position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point. In other words, perspective is a point of view based on the relation of elements when seen from one particular point. So, our perspectives depend on where we are and what we’re going through at any point in time.
I know I’m guilty of thinking the perspective I can see at any given moment is all there is. I develop tunnel vision and only see the things that are immediately in front of me. I lose my ability to scan for different options and my mental agility. I find myself frustrated, angry, and stuck.
Luckily, I have several weapons for combatting limited perspective –people, books, exercise, and meditation. Today, I’ll introduce you to some of the people who help me maintain perspective at work.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to surround myself with people who have different perspectives from both me and from each other. My perspective providers are Diana, my podcast cohost, Stefanie, my office mate, and Beth, my assistant.
The Introvert Perspective
First, Diana. Diana and I have opposite energies. She’s an introvert and I’m soooo not. Cohosting a podcast with Diana has boosted my understanding of how introverts operate and how to accommodate introverts in groups. Now, I notice when people aren’t contributing in a group and I know how to solicit their opinions without driving them underground. I can take their perspective.
Diana’s super power is questioning everything (and I mean every.thing.). When I hang out with Diana – which is harder since she’s moved from Georgia to Ohio – she asks insightful questions that provoke me to deeper thinking about what I’m doing. Plus, she never hesitates to question my self-talk and offers fresh perspectives on my situation.
**You can hear us talk about perspective here. No app installation required.
Then there’s Stefanie, my office mate and co-conspirator in business. Since I’ve started sharing an office with Stef, my business has taken off. I think I know why – I’ve always known I need regular perspective checks and Stefanie does that for me.
We use our brainstorming sessions and weekly check-ins to keep our perspectives fresh. We frequently call out each other when our perspectives narrow. For example, on any given Friday, you can hear one (or both) of us saying, “I didn’t get anything I needed to get done, done this week!” And then we both crack up – and remind each other of all the things we’ve done.
Stefanie is both a great marketer and a great process creator –tasks that make me want to run all the way home to vacuum. But when I pay attention to the perspective she offers, practice the way she organizes her work, or brainstorm with her, my productivity shoots through the roof. Also, since Stefanie is also younger than I (she could be my kid), her perspective on everything from business to life keeps mine from growing stale.
Surrender to another perspective
Finally, there’s my assistant, Beth. I have no idea what I’d do without her. She does the marketing jobs that I hate – and does them well. But more importantly, when I finally surrender it to her, she’s also going to be the keeper of my calendar.
Funny story about perspective and calendars. I’m terrible with time management. I constantly over schedule myself, leaving no time for planning or thinking. So, I came up with an idea of how to avoid overscheduling my weeks. I marked days that are fully booked with the words “no more.”
Did you catch that “no?” Unfortunately, our brains translate “no” to “yes.” And I found myself scheduling more appointments on those days. So I switched to marking those days “FULL.”
But that didn’t work either. Because my perspective is that I always have more time to meet with people. And that an appointment with a person is more important than working on my business. Luckily for me, Beth has a different perspective. She knows that I’m a finite resource, and she’s not afraid to remind me of that.
Lose the unhealthy perspective
Since no one has invented a calendar that talks back (yelling would be best for me) when I add something to a day that I’ve marked as FULL, I’ve given Beth that task. People, a word of silent support for Beth would be appropriate right now. Because I still fight her on this. But she’s winning this fight more and more. Because her perspective is the healthy one.
Diana, Stefanie, and Beth have several things in common. They’re not afraid to loudly speak the truth to someone who doesn’t want to hear it (that would be me). They’re also persistent – which is critical. And they’re kind, which is equally critical.
Approval vs Perspective
They also understand that I’m not looking for approval; I’m looking for a fresh perspective. Approval implies judgement; perspective implies point-of-view – a critical difference. I find that while I’m increasingly confident in what I want to do; I still want to hear other perspectives before I move forward.
They are patient. All three realize that while I might be open to a shift in perspective, I might not be able to interpret their insights into something that works for me – yet. So they check back in.
So, the next time you find yourself stuck, don’t look for approval for what you’re doing next. Instead, find someone to help you refresh your perspective.
It’s important to have people who are absolutely willing to say you’re wrong or who have a totally different perspective than you do on everything. Fresh ideas are hard to come by, and good ones are even harder. – Shonda Rhimes