I am amazed at how a little change in perspective changes everything about how we see the world. And how you see the world actually determines the world you will see, how you interact in the world, including the choices you make and the results you get with relationships, work, money, family, health, etc.
I was reminded of this recently when my 8-year-old grand-niece, Kaitlyn, began wearing eyeglasses for the first time. Her whole world has changed. Poor thing, she had been having headaches that wouldn’t go away and no one seemed to have an explanation or cure. Grandma did, of course, as grandmas always do. Grandma in this case is my sister, Cindy.
Cindy was talking to Kaitlyn – already a voracious reader – about school and reading and such things when it came to her: she needs her eyes checked. Sure enough, Kaitlyn’s headaches have gone away with her new glasses. Something else has changed, too. She sees the world in a whole new way. Here is how Kaitlyn puts it:
“I never knew trees looked like that!”
Now we know that Kaitlyn had not been seeing well for awhile. I didn’t ask, but I am assuming she may be nearsighted (myopic) if she reads so much but the trees look so differently now with glasses. Mostly, I am glad her headaches are gone and that she sees the value in reading at such a young age. And I am glad she can appreciate the beauty and detail of trees like never before.
We are all observers in the world. We make choices based on how we see the world. We can blame the world for the circumstances we face. When we make this choice we make ourselves victims, “pinballs” just reacting to all the bumpers of life. This choice nearly always lead to headaches.
Or, we can choose to take new actions based on how we see the world. This is how 95% of us approach change 95% of the time. As a coach, I work with a lot of individuals, teams and organizations who I help with leadership development, strategic thinking and planning. The most widely-used strategy involves this second choice. People decide “how the world is” and brainstorm the possible actions they can take that would bring different results. The problem with this choice is, all too often, despite enormous amounts of effort, the world very often stays the same – little changes.
There is a third choice, and this is my world of work. When we see the world in a new way, nothing is the same as it was before and possibilities for action exist that did not before. These are the “Ah-Ha” moments of life, when something “just clicks” and your world becomes clear again. I expect these moments with coaching. I look for them, whether I am the coach or the person being coached. Thomas Kuhn called these “paradigm shifts” and they have profound implications in both the physical and social sciences, and in our day-to-day lives – if we pay attention.
I meet people all the time who have, well, “headaches” of one sort or another. Or perhaps they have “seeing” problems that haven’t developed into headaches yet. Sometimes they are myopic or nearsighted and can’t see too far out into what their future might hold. They has lost their ability to dream or lost their hope for something more significant than what they have already achieved.
Sometimes people are farsighted or hyperopic. They dream quite well and quite often; in fact, dreaming may be second-nature to them. They may see the “big picture”, but they fail to take or even recognize the day-to-day actions necessary to move toward their dreams. They may fail to make choices necessary to move in a forward direction.
Sometimes people have the equivalent of a visual astigmatism. That is, no matter what they see, up close or far away, it’s a little blurry.
The process of coaching helps people to dream again and dream productively, then prioritize these dreams and clarify the most important “vital few” into goals and goal achievement plans.
A coaching relationship can be like Kaitlyn’s glasses: it helps you see what the trees really look like. In fact, you may begin to see your life is full of forests, and those forests full of trees that before, you didn’t even know existed.
- What is giving you headaches?
- What do you really want (to have, to do, to achieve)?
- Why do you want it? Be as honest and deeply personal as you can, even if your want is about business.
- What is getting in your way of seeing your new results? What might get in the way?
Feel free to call me for help. Together, we can improve your vision.