Shift the conversation to promote openness and demote stigma; break through others egos by first surrendering yours.
Life occurs differently for each of us; two people can literally be a part of the same exact occurrence but have completely different experiences. Perspective plays a major role in how instances occur to oneself. Perspective will also provide the insight to understand that there is no truth; there just is and what is will appear differently for everyone. Let me tread lightly on this matter…maybe it’d be better said if I said there is no singular truth. Better said: take what works for you (as the truth) and leave the rest.
Anyway, having the insight or operating from a space of a perspective that not everything occurs to others as it occurs to yourself, provides an opportunity to engage in higher thought processes. When you’re fogged by your own perception, your perspective is skewed. So cleanly coming from the awareness of we are different, we have different life experiences, our current circumstances, beliefs, morals, etc are different is a start.
One day this week, there were three occasions that stuck out to me which sparked me to write this article this week –
- co-worker states frustratedly in the breakroom, “this is SO annoying” in reference to the work being done on our building’s roof. To which I replied (she was definitely not speaking to me), “only if you allow it to be!”.
- Same occurrence (construction of the roof) different experiences (annoying to her, kind-a just there for me) à perspective
- On a conference call with teammates from a different physical office in which we are actively collaborating on eliminating the stigma we are two different entities. One teammate on the phone completely shut down; was ready to walk out the door (I could literally feel her out of the chair and at the door through her voice), and angrily agreed to the proposed changes. Noticing we weren’t getting authentic buy in from her, I shifted the approach and engaged her from a space of “help me understand”, she opened up and shared her perspective and we came up with an even better plan than the proposed!
- Creating workability though understanding the vantage point of all involved
- on the phone with my childhood best friend, chatting about life, we got to a point where we pondered, “how are we so different than all the others who grew up on the same teams as us?” we were able to see that we were operating singularly, not taking into consideration that sports, although influential, are not the sole environmental factors that shape us.
- Understanding that, especially during developmental ages, every experience shapes us and provides the perspective
I say all this to remind us all: Before you are quick to react, judge, make a decision, create a story, etc. do everything you can to understand the other party’s experience, separate for your own. Instances or events might appear to be straight forward but truly they are not. You will be a much greater leader in this world if you can step outside of yourself and understand the other person’s perspective.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood – Stephen Covey 5th Habit.
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