Perspective 1: Larry holds a high-level position with a company he’s been with for years. He is considering vying for a different position in the company that would bring greater responsibility and utilize his skills in an entirely new arena. Although he thinks it would be great to have some new challenges, he’s afraid of rocking the boat after a successful career, and tells himself it’s safer to stay where he is.
Perspective 2: Kay is in a similar position to Larry. However, she’s decided to go for it! She’s confident that, in this new position, all the knowledge and skills she’s gained throughout her career will allow her to contribute even more to the company.
These two executives face similar issues, yet they are manifesting quite different outcomes. While Larry operates from a “fear of change” perspective and doesn’t even try, Kay’s perspectives (“taking risks is empowering” and “go for it”) lead her to take action—and get results.
We are always coming from a particular point of view or perspective. In fact, it is usually the way we think about a situation—rather than the actual situation—that leads to joy and confidence or pain and suffering! The question is: How well is our perspective serving us in honoring our values and achieving our goals? And what effects are our perspectives having on the results that are showing up in our life?
If you are not fully pleased with something in your life, try using one of the following techniques to explore other ways of viewing your situation. Doing so helps you realize that the perspective you are in really is just one of many; perhaps choosing another one will serve you better.
Techniques for Exploring Perspectives
1. Inquiry. For at least a moment, suspend your point of view on an issue that is painful to you, and ask yourself some questions. It’s most useful to do this as a writing process, but you can also explore these questions mentally.
Byron Katie, author of Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, offers a method of inquiry she calls “The Work,” some of which can be quite applicable to working with disempowering or unhelpful perspectives. The questions below are directly from or adapted from Katie’s work:
- What is my thought, belief or perspective here?
- Is it true?
- Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do I react when I think that thought?
- Who would I be without that thought/belief/perspective?
- What other ways might I look at this?
- What’s the most positive or empowering way for me to see this?
2. Looking Through New Lenses. Imagine trying on different eyeglasses. First, put on the perspective glasses that represent how you currently see things. What thoughts and feelings arise as you look through those lenses? What does it do to your energy level? After fully experiencing this point of view, try on another pair. Explore at least three different viewpoints.
Your choice of perspectives is unlimited. Here are just a few to play with:
- the Curious perspective
- the Getting Support Is Good perspective
- Warrior, Eagle, River
- Opportunity Knocks
- Bozo the Clown
- Think of your own….
The more creative and out-of-the-box you are as you explore, the more you allow your entire system to viscerally experience a variety of energies. Then you can choose something else if it fits you better.
3. The Perspective Wheel. Make a big, imaginary circle on the floor with eight different “pie” segments. Imagine the issue you are exploring at the center of the circle. If, for example, you are considering taking a new job, put that into the center. You will be physically moving around the circle, engaging your whole body.
Start by endowing the first slice of the pie with your current perspective, for example “fear.” Allow your body to experience the fear you feel when you imagine taking this new job. How does your body feel? What’s your breathing like? What thoughts and feelings come up? Fully explore the energetic effect of being in this perspective. Shake off that energy, move into the next pie slice and endow it with a completely different perspective.
Keep exploring the visceral and emotional feelings, and what is possible, from each vantage point. After that, choose one—or a combination of perspectives—you are willing to “try on” for a period of time.
The more fun you have with these exercises, the better you will shake loose old, limiting perspectives and become an empowered creator of your reality!
Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications