It’s been said, “Change your thinking to change your life”. This and similar quotes are spoken by life coaches and inspirational leaders to motivate you to transform your life into your best life.
How do you change a lifetime of habit, thoughts, and routine? Especially when managing a new generation or working in an industry that may be rapidly changing?
Change as written in the sentence above seems massive and overwhelming to some of us.
Slight shifts in perspective, however, provide more subtle, long-lasting, ways to develop a new lens in looking at our own lives, and those of the people around us. Including those we work with and lead.
A New Perspective
An elderly woman boarded a train, as she usually did every day. After a few stops, she noticed a father and his adult son, who looked like he was well into his 20’s, board the train. They took their seats across the aisle from her.
Soon, the son started talking loudly to his father, telling him about the clouds that he saw outside and the buildings and trees the train was passing by. The father listened to him and nodded encouragingly.
After a while, the elderly woman got annoyed by how loud the young man was speaking, and said to his father, “Excuse me, sir, but have you considered taking him to a special doctor?”
The father smiled at her and replied: “Actually, we’re just coming back from the doctor. You see, my son has been blind since birth, and this is the first day he’s ever been able to see.”
Lesson: Never assume you know another person’s story. Before jumping to conclusions about a co-worker’s approach to a project, talk with them. Ask them why they would take that course of action. Both of you will benefit from learning the ‘why’ behind how you each get a job done. Together you may find a new way of doing things that combines ideas from both of you.
Moving On vs Moving Forward
A friend of mine suddenly lost her husband of 49 years late last year. They had been high school sweethearts and were still in their 60’s. Tracy and Karl were planning retirement trips and adventures for well into their 70’s and beyond. His death from a heart attack was overwhelming and devastating.
Tracy took care of funeral plans and got paperwork in order. She filled her days with work and her evenings tending to the day to day stuff involved in running and keeping a home. She watched her grandchildren as she and Karl had been doing before. But each day was very hard.
After a couple of months, many good intended friends and co-workers were telling her to ‘move on’. Figure out what comes next. Plan your life.
She confided to me, “The words moving on sound like I am leaving Karl and the life we created behind. I don’t want to move on. My place is right where I am!”
Joining a local grief support group provided her with a new perspective. The people in the group understood her pain. In a discussion, someone used the words ‘moving forward’.
“That simple change of perspective – moving forward instead of moving on – made all the difference. If I move forward, I can take everything that Karl and I built together with me.”
With continued support, Tracy is now planning how to move forward in this new chapter of life.
Lesson: When leading and managing others, think of how a simple repositioning of responsibility – or change in how you look at the person doing the job – could catapult a project forward.
Whether you are managing others or are learning how to work in an evolving workplace – slight shifts in your perspective, the words you use, the thoughts you allow into your mind, and the way you react – can result in major changes over time.
Some thoughts on how to shift perspective:
- Accept your habit for what it is, but look to see how your thoughts, reactions, and relationships can be different.
- Pay attention to the things that are bothering you most about a person or a situation. Look closely at those that are just a knee-jerk reaction because it’s ‘not the way it’s been done’ or ‘John never did it that way’. Send those thoughts away to keep an open mind.
- Adopt an attitude of curiosity about new avenues of perspective and ways of doing things. Your years of knowledge combined with a new approach could be life-changing for you, the other person, and the business you are working in.
Change in any form is not easy. A shift in perspective, done for a moment, an hour, a week or a month – may soon turn into a life-changing view.
Make a shift in how you look at your workplace and co-workers today! You will be amazed at the new view!
To your best,
P.S. A holistic approach to moving ahead in your career or helping your employees to be the best they can be at their jobs is available to you. Learn more about private and group Corporate Mindfulness Training Programs. Click soon – I have limited dates available for the remainder of 2019.