The Power Of Perspective

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One of the many benefits of hiring a coach is having the opportunity to have your coach deeply listen to you and observe your emotions, struggles, and energy.  When I am working with a client, one of the things I listen for is what perspective she or he is currently holding.  At any given moment, each of us is coming from a perspective; it might be a joyful perspective, an anxious perspective, a struggling perspective, etc.  

But most of the time, we don’t have the distance from our own perspectives to realize that they are just that: perspectives.  And when we realize we are holding a certain perspective, it gives us the power to choose to keep it (if it is benefitting us) or change it (if it is limiting us in some way).

Changing our perspective is not always easy, but it is always powerful and important.  Here is an example from my own life.

Last winter my sweet little girl was hospitalized with a serious respiratory infection.  Normally a naturally joyful and active toddler, I saw her become more and more sick until she was lethargic and almost unresponsive.  I felt helpless and terrified as one of the people I love most in the world faded into sickness.  I am infinitely lucky because after a few days in the hospital she was much better, but the experience was very difficult and deeply affected me.

In the days after she was released from the hospital, I found myself feeling extremely anxious about my family’s health.  I felt scared, jumpy, sick, and sad.

After about a week, I started to recover from my sleep debt and my energy began to trickle back. I gradually began to realize that the way I was viewing our lives was making me miserable.  And even though I was trying to hide how I felt from my kids, it was affecting them, too. And as my energy continued to return, I remembered what I tell my coaching clients: each moment of our lives we are coming from a certain perspective. We have the power to stay in it or to change it.  

I realized that I desperately needed to change my perspective.  I was living from a perspective that was making daily living feel harsh, cold, and frightening.

I took some deep breaths, prayed, and thought about all I was thankful for. I thought about all the wonderful things in my life: my wonderful children, our health, our home, the love we have for each other.  Just these simple steps helped bump me out of a deadening perspective into a life-giving perspective.  I felt lighter, hopeful, stronger.  From this perspective, my goal was to eke all the joy out of every moment that I possibly can, to appreciate the beauty of each moment.  How different than my previous goal of trying to avoid a plethora of imagined health problems!

We can all change our perspective whenever we choose to do so.  The first step is to identify what perspective we are operating from, and what effect that perspective is having on us.  What is your current perspective?  Is it a helpful perspective?  How is it working for you?

Next, choose a different perspective.  Use tools to help you really explore it.  Breathe deeply, take a walk, talk with a loved one, watch an inspiring movie.

In my example above, I chose to switch from an anxiety-filled fearful perspective to a thankful perspective.  There are many perspectives we can choose: a hopeful perspective, a playful perspective, a compassionate perspective.

Again, it is not always easy to change your perspective.  There will almost certainly be times that your old one comes knocking on your door again.  But when it does come knocking, if you realize that you are in a perspective, you give yourself the power to change it.  Some perspectives are more ingrained than others, and I work with clients to help change some pretty deep-seated ones.  But it IS possible.  And you can do a lot of it on your own.

What perspective are you coming from right now?  How is that working for you?  From what perspective would you like to live?

Beyond Self-Help: The Secret To True & Lasting Change

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We live in a time of increasing consciousness about personal growth and self-help.  More self-help books, Oprah-inspired television shows, and inspirational blogs crop up every day.  There’s no doubt that these developments help millions of people overcome challenges and grow personally, and I am thankful to be living in this day and age.

But there is a flip-side to this trend that we don’t often talk about; that when these self-help resources don’t help us enough, we feel terrible about ourselves. New clients often come to me after they’ve read a lot of books on the challenges they are facing, and feeling as if they’ve tried to work through their challenges on their own, but it wasn’t enough. In fact, they sometimes feel they even know what they have to do to improve their situation, but the knowledge just isn’t enough.  They see these things work for people on Dr. Phil and read about success stories, and they feel the same things “should” work for them.  By the time they come to me, they often feel defeated, worried that their situation is hopeless, and as if something is seriously wrong with them.

The truth is that no situation is hopeless and the same instinct that inspired them to read those books will reveal the answers they need if they are given the space to interact with that instinct.  Knowledge and awareness are wonderful and essential.  But, most often, we need more than knowledge and awareness to grow and change.  This is particularly true with some of our biggest, most chronic challenges in life.

What we need in order to truly change and grow is to have learning experiences.  Not just insights, but experiences.  In my coaching work, I help clients put their insights into action during sessions and between sessions.  This is the way to gain effective tools that you can use for the rest of your life to overcome challenges and feel fulfilled.  You have to have experiences with your true self in order to be able to listen to it and live according to its wisdom.

Do you find yourself feeling angry a lot and taking it out on the people you love?  Do you wonder if you are just a terrible person?  You’re not.  And the wisest part of you knows exactly why you are angry AND how to help you heal that anger.

Do you find yourself avoiding something difficult in your life? Or maybe you’ve been avoiding something you really want?  Are you wondering if something’s wrong with you? There’s nothing wrong with you AND your true self knows why you are avoiding AND how to help you move forward.

Do you feel lost?  Overwhelmed?  Exhausted?  Stuck?  Your true self knows exactly how to remedy these situations.

The first step in changing is to believe that this is possible; that you have inside of you a wise, strong true self that can guide you through every situation. No matter what you’ve been through or how many unsuccessful attempts to change that you’ve had, your true self is inside of you, pure and wise, with all the wisdom you need.

If this seems hard to believe, don’t worry.  Many people feel that this is too good to be true at first.  But I KNOW from every client I’ve ever worked with (and from personal experience), that this is absolutely true.  The true self always speaks and guides, even for people who don’t think it will work for them.  That is how powerful the true self is!

Practice living with this idea and see what it evokes in you.

And if you are ready to live according to the wisdom of your true self, contact me.

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