Those of you familiar with my blog know that I can’t go too long without talking about lessons I have learned over the years, and the October challenge will be no exception. Today’s lesson is a simple question I learned to ask when interacting with people. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and come away with the feeling that you were actually not having the same conversation? Ever finished reading a book and a discussion about it with a friend made you wonder if you both read the same book?
Through what lenses are you seeing life? A Lens of optimism? Of self-belief and self efficacy? Of empowerment? Or are you seeing it through a lens of shame? Of defeat? It took me a long time to realize that the lens through which people view particular events or experiences – from something as simple as books and conversations to big things like how hostile or friendly they see the world, and what opportunities they see as being available to them. And so when I am interacting with anyone, I first ask the question – do you see what I see? This isn’t to give me an excuse, and it isn’t about excusing the behavior of others. Instead it is about compassion, and communication.
It took me years of working one on one with people to realize this. It is so easy to believe that everyone else sees the world as we see it. There are those of us that have had experiences and interactions which lead us to believe that the world is a friendly place full of opportunities. It leads us to believe that we can solve the problems that we have, that we can be supported while we do it. Using these lenses changes how we behave, how we advocate for ourselves, and what we accept. It changes what we think is possible, and what we see as personal choice versus something we have to live with. In short – we are seeing the world through the lens of empowerment or opportunity. And there are those of us who don’t. They don’t know what we know, and they definitely don’t know what they don’t know.
Why is this important – especially for those who work with other people? Firstly so that we can have compassion and enter our discussion with compassion, and with an open mind to seeing how this person views themselves and others, and through what lens. It can allow us to make appropriate recommendations and suggestions, and to explain and educate without being condescending. Compassion allows us to approach with less blame, and this is the start of building a bridge of communication. Once we realize that others do not see what we see, we can have a better relationship with them, and both parties can have their eyes opened to the other person’s point of view.
So when you meet someone, this is a great question to ask yourself – and see how your interactions both in business and life can change for the better.
Big love from a small island!
PS what do you see above? On a photography trip a few months ago, I came across a weed growing around a fence, and that flower above is a close up of it. Do you see what I see? A weed or a photo opportunity?