Perspective

I was in Barcelona last week! As glamorous as that sounds, here’s a confession. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to traveling alone. If my husband had been with me, we would have been hitting the tapas bars, exploring the local delights. But when I arrived, I was tired, the streets were busy, it was getting dark and I didn’t know where to go (all excuses, I know!) So I stayed put in the hotel instead. It was a very nice hotel – but it could have been a very nice hotel anywhere.

I did venture out the next morning, before my workshop and explored the amazing indoor market, and even had Patatas Bravas for breakfast (got to be done right?)

But later on in the day, during a workshop break, I saw the street from an entirely different perspective. Just a few metres up, from the second floor balcony the street looked almost peaceful. People milling about, trinkets twinkling as they caught the sun. I could have stayed there all day, watching the world go by.

A few hours later, I was in a plane again, taking off. Watching the streets turn into strings of sparkling fairy lights, completely peaceful, totally beautiful. I’ll never tire of that view.

Amazing what a difference a shift in perspective can make.

One of my workshop delegates noticed something similar with the way she’s learned to deal with difficult email conversations – whether it’s a customer complaint, a harsh response, or a brusque demand. Whenever she gets an email that might potentially upset her she imagines as if the email had come from one of her nicest colleagues, someone who’s “always sweet, always lovely”, and tries to imagine if that colleague had written the email – what would cause her to write an email like that? What would she have meant by it? What else could be going on? Was she having a bad day, or distracted, or under pressure? Is there another way of reading it? Perhaps there’s even a typo, or a line missing? What else could it mean?

This simple shift in perspective allows her to see beyond her initial reaction and interpretation, and seek a different understanding. She avoided taking things personally, and was able to deal with the issue at hand – if there was even an issue to begin with – and was able to respond thoughtfully rather than react heatedly.

What situation do you feel surrounded or overwhelmed by – or even under attack?

Try shifting your perspective:

  • Imagine the situation from the other person’s perspective – or someone else entirely
  • Change the face – or tone of voice – behind the words
  • Stand up, or take a walk. Physically look at it from a different perspective
  • Imagine navigating a 6 year old through the situation – or your best friend
  • Sleep on it. Come back to it in the light of day.

What other ways have you used to change your perspective? And what could a shift in perspective do for you this week?

Let me know…

  • Diane Warburton

    A shift in perspective about how I’m feeling about my new business would be good. I’m trying to look at my issues, as if they were a friend’s and what I would do to help. I’d probably tell her to enjoy it more and and and… I need to look after myself 🙂 I hope you get back to Barcelona again soon, to enjoy that street properly x

  • amanda_alexander

    LOVED this Grace. Funny.. the other day I pulled over at a bus stop (it was a very very long one.. I wasn’t blocking the way for the bus). The reason was, I had bottles in the back and they had fallen over. I was worried they would smash. It was the only place I could safely pull over for quite a while. After I’d sorted them, I got back in the car and this lady came up and knocked on the window. I wound the window down and she said “If you want to park up, there’s a car park back there you could have parked in. The bus is due and it won’t stop with you there”. First of all, that was rubbish.. there was a clear line of sight and as I said it was a long bus stop. And telling me I could have gone somewhere behind me?!!! I was about to get a bit stroppy then stopped myself. The lady was not behaving the way most people would – she was paranoid, really uptight. I realised that she probably had a mental health issue (there were a few other clues that I looked for). In her World, it WAS a problem. In her World, she WAS afraid. So I just said very politely that I would move off so that she didn’t miss her bus (which was nowhere to be seen!). You have to also walk in their moccasins…

    • What a wonderful example of how a change of perspective allows you to be both a blessing to someone and at peace with yourself. Love this Amanda, thanks for sharing x

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