There was a lovely house on the corner of a lovely street. In the lovely house lived a lovely family – a husband, a wife, and their son and daughter. One afternoon the family was having a lovely discussion on their back porch when a gust of when blew over a lovely flower pot. “I never did like that flower pot,” thought the husband. “That was my favorite flower pot,” thought the wife. “Yes, I get to play in the dirt,” thought the son. “I wonder who is going to clean up this mess,” thought the daughter.
Life is all about perspective, how we choose to see situations. Just like our family above we all can experience the same situation but all view it differently. Our perspectives are based upon our past experiences, current situation and future expectations. The perspectives we choose to have regarding situations reflect who we are whether we like it or not.
Why does this matter? Because having healthy perspectives contributes to personal prosperity as well as group prosperity. Think about it. You and a group of friends all experienced a difficult situation together – a natural disaster. Although you all lost everything, if you are the one to approach this devastating situation honestly yet with positive perspective, you will help your group of friends press forward faster.
Life happens quickly. It does not stop for us to give massive thought to situations. We must be ready to think on our feet. So how can we face situations realistically with healthy perspectives?
1 – Trust your gut. Our instincts exist for protection. When our instincts kick in to guide us it is best that we listen. Sometimes it might not seem logical but instincts aren’t always logical – think parent jumping into a burning building to save their child. You might not understand your instincts but you need to trust them.
2 – Always find the bright side. No matter what the situation there is a bright side. This does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that we live in a fantasy world that dismisses truth, however this does mean that we work tirelessly to find something positive from every situation. Note: positive does not mean happy; positive merely means that we gain something, like insight.
3 – View it from someone else’s eyes. This approach is sometimes more difficult because stepping into the shoes of someone else is not easy. However, when get out of our comfort zone to see the world through someone else’s eyes, the rewards outweigh the challenge. For us to do this we must step outside of ourselves for a moment and think like someone else. What are their values? What motivates them? How do they view the world?
4- Move. Literally. Getting up and moving around gets the blood flowing to the brain. It might not be practical to exercise while you are trying to step into the right perspective however you can make small, physical adjustments to alter your state of mind. Instead of sitting in a chair, stand. Instead of standing still, walk. Instead of speaking, write. Move into different positions to literally change your perspective.
It is not easy to get outside of ourselves and change how we think about things. We are not hard-wired to think a specific way but after years of programming it can be a challenge to change how we view situations and the world around us. But think about the benefits. What will you gain from changing your perspective? How will a fresh perspective to an old situation alter your life?
“Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.” George Shin
Stepping into the unknown is scary! We tend to gravitate to that which is familiar because we know what to expect. We take the same route to work every day because it makes sense. We talk to the same people at work because we are accustomed to them. We like what is known. It feels safe.
But I want to challenge you with this question – how have you grown in the known?
Stepping into the unknown does not have to be a major event, it just has to be a small step outside of the box. Here are 4 tips to help you step into the unknown and grow.
1. Engage a Stranger in Conversation
This task will prove easy for some of you, but for others this is a major challenge.
For those of you who find it easy to talk to others I challenge you to start a conversation with someone who can influence your career or personal relationships. Make the conversation meaningful so they remember you.
For those of you who find this very challenging, start a small conversation with someone in the store or in an adjacent work space. Common conversation starters can be family, current events or the weather (seriously, it has been 103 degrees where I live – that is a conversation piece).
2. Start a Project
Projects are a great way for us to flex both sides of our brain. Flex the logical side of your brain by setting a goal with specific steps to achieve it. Flex the creative side of your brain by actually designing and working on the project. For added stretch, recruit someone to join you in order to get fresh perspective as well as a social partner. Projects also add value because we have something tangible to be proud of when we are done.
3. Join an Organization
There are so many interesting organizations to be a part of. From non-profit to social, there is something for everyone. Facebook built in a new feature that uses your interests and suggests groups accordingly. There is also Meetup that offers tons of local groups. I have made life-long friends through Meetup groups.
Joining an organization can potentially scratch #1 and #2 off of your list, resulting in PHENOMENAL growth!
4. Take the First Step Towards Your Goal
Everything in life starts with small action. Take the first step towards achieving your goal. Want to lose weight? Start walking. Want to go back to school? Call the registration office to find out what you need to do. Want to write a book? Create your outline.
Gains are small and/or non-existent when we stay in the unknown. Be happy with where you are yes, but do not forget your potential and your purpose. As long as you stay safe you can’t reach your potential and will likely fall short of fully living in your purpose.
Good luck growing!