As I watched video clips of huge vessels being flushed down rivers, and cars tumbling over dams in Japan, I am struck by how “fake” everything looks… as if they are toys in a post-storm rushing stream! How can this be? In pictures and video – it all seems so unreal this far away. If I were there, in the thick of it, I can imagine my feelings would be entirely different… shifted by my perspective – survival! My heart goes out to all those working together to help aid the survivors in Japan.
Seeing recent video clips of the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan have made me think again about a very powerful concept that shows up frequently for my organizing and coaching clients… perspective!
I recently had the opportunity to spend some one on one time with a very close childhood friend. We had wonderful discussions about life and what has made each of us feel successful – and not-so-successful! We found ourselves talking about the idea of ruminating… focusing on a condition or upset – and then over-analyzing that situation. What was very evident in our conversation, is that when we ruminate – we tend to get ‘hung’ in the past – on those conditions or emotions of something that wasn’t right or good. Some of us have a tendency to ruminate more than others – especially people who tend to be analytical.
I find that the opposite of ruminating is “perspective”. When perspective is missing, I seem to feel more anxious, more stress, and experience breakdowns differently! Perspective is something I constantly strive for and it offers a great sense of freedom when I have a sense of perspective in place.
If you need perspective in a certain case of circumstances or current condition, follow these approaches to help you move forward:
Clearly listen to your own words
Do you sound more like this?
“This office is a wreck! I looks like a tornado went through!”
“Oh my office! I have to put time on my schedule to take care of this!”
Do you hear yourself? Do you use “negative” or “positive” words? What if you were listening to another person? How would you hear their words differently? If you are hearing yourself in a predominantly negative tone – maybe it’s time to shift your perspective?
Beware of “Catastrophizing”
A typical phenomenon that happens with many people is something we organizers call “Catastrophizing” – using highly exaggerated words to make a point. (Those who are expressive will be very familiar with this technique ;-))
Sometimes we use words that exaggerate a condition or set of circumstances to be “beyond control” – as in – This situation is TERRIBLE, I’ll NEVER be able to be happy in my job! While emotions may be high, the words we use will often give us a gauge as to how we’re feeling. But left unchecked, some of us tend to indulge ourselves and exaggerate or “catastrophize” what is so – often.
If this describes you – the best method for you is to step back and actually try to evaluate your real level of upset. On a scale of 1 – 10, how do you feel? (I use this technique a lot with my kids.) It really works – as it validates that there is an upset, but it frames the upset allowing those who are upset to feel more in control of themselves, and ultimately make better decisions.
Re-frame with another assumption
I once attended a seminar where the leader took the class through an entire activity demonstrating how easy this concept was. He stood in front of the group and asked us to get a thought in our minds. We did, and then he asked us to change our mind to another thought. We did. And then he did it again, and proceeded to lead us through this exercise for another 10 minutes! The point of the exercise was that we alone have control over our thoughts and where they leave us.
In any given situation, one person may see a tragedy, another an opportunity… What opportunities may be available given your current circumstance or condition? What have you learned? What might you avoid in the future? How are you freed from the situation as a result? Are you eating sour lemons, or making lemonade? Re-framing helps people move forward by offering a shift in perspective toward the future, rather than leaving them stuck in the past!
What is another way of looking at your current situation? Is there a way to shift toward possibility? What else is available? Trying to shift your perspective by considering alternatives is a wonderful way to move forward. Often, to be successful, shifting to an alternative perspective requires a heavy dose of some positive energy. Are there people around you who are better at this than others? What would your situation look like to that person?
How are things going for you? Do you see your current situation with a load of negative emotions? Do you see it as a symptom? Do you see any alternatives? Working with perspective is so very interesting. Do you see your current breakdown clearly? Are you noticing the “forest” or “the trees”?
Need clarity? If you’re experiencing that draining feeling of overwhelm and confusion because things just don’t feel right, enroll in Clarity Camp – a 4-week teleclass and two coaching calls to help you gain perspective and take powerful actions to move forward in your life with more passion and commitment. Clarity Camp is an immersion teleseminar/coaching experience designed to remove your barriers, reconnect to what matters to you and energize you to take action and move forward. Go here to find out more and enroll! Register by tomorrow and save 25%!
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