Raising the bar – getting things into perspective for success
Discover how your perspective works: how it can help or hinder you. Discover how the lens through which you habitually see the world you inhabit helps or hinders you.
Take a few moments to reflect on the following
1. What has 2016 been like so far you?
2. How does it compare to other years?
3. In what ways has 2016: astonished you; fallen short of your expectations; shocked you; delivered more than you had imagined; seemed to be quite mundane; made you laugh; brought to the surface your worst fears; tickled you pink; highlighted your reasons why and why not; called forth your excellence.
4. What might you have missed or not noticed about 2016 that needs attention or change? How could you use your experience gained so far in 2016 to inform how you manage the last quarter of 2016?
This information simply captures perspectives which are one way to look at an issue or situation. You can choose to try on other perspectives which give more understanding or information. Powerful questions which are not always comfortable bring clarity and focus.
How we look at things makes a difference. We tend to take a stand: we tend to argue strongly as to whether a perspective is true or false. For example ‘blondes have more fun’, ‘real men don’t cry’ ‘it always rains on Bank Holidays’ … true or false? Actually it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that if you take it on as a belief or a way of looking at situations or issues, things are coloured in a certain way. Each perspective is simply a different way of looking at the same data. The facts or issue or situation remain essentially the same no matter which perspective we are in. The emotional charge which comes with our way of looking at the facts or issue or situation will have enormous impact.
When we can expand the range of ways from which we can look at a situation – a universe of possibilities opens up which could also be true or not. Too often we take historical experience and make it into ‘the way I am’ or ‘the way IT is’ whatever the situation. It is as if we were powerless to have it any other way. We forget that we have choice. We forget that we can create a different reality.
Facts remain the same but everyone’s perspective is different. When we see how understanding perspective can improve our communication skills, we choose powerful ones to drive our work and home lives.
Here are some of possible perspectives around raising the bar – what might yours be?
…Raising the bar gives me more room to manoeuvreIt stretches me beyond my limits
…I’m happy where I am
…This bar is not high enough
…Even thinking about being asked to raise my bar scares me
…Even thinking about being asked to raise my bar excites me
…Where’s the challenge ‘cos I’m ready to go
…Whatever … this is too easy … head down is the best option
…It’s hopeless. I’m just not good at selling myself …You have to sacrifice yourself for the good of the team’s bar
…To be successful you have committed to raising the bar.
Absolute statements are just one way of looking at a situation. An automatic response indicates a perspective we default to.
Time to be curious. Time to wake up, pay attention, look closely at that part of your life. Good questions to ask are: “What does it get you? What’s the payoff? What’s the cost? What are you saying yes to? What are you saying no to?” Explore other possible perspectives, weigh them up, try them on, discover how they feel, what do they tell you? The idea is to challenge your perspective making sure it supports you in what you want to achieve.
If you are struggling with perspectives why not try this useful tip?
Take a piece of A4 paper. Draw a large circle with segments like a pie. Write the issue/question/situation in the middle.
Where is the perspective you are in currently?
Label that segment and other perspectives … opposites … unreasonable ones … absolutely won’t go there ones … fairy tale ones … the one you really like and so on in the other segments. Consider the issue / question / situation from each of the different perspectives. (If you get stuck remember to change your perspective and move somewhere, anywhere so that you can look at it differently.)
When at work or at home stand shoulder to shoulder with someone/sit in their chair or walk somewhere, anywhere just to gain a different viewpoint. Try asking someone else what their perspective would be and try that on to see how it fits.
What will be your ‘perspective for success’ for the last quarter of 2016 that will absolutely make 2016 a fabulous year for you? How will anyone know? What will be the evidence? What will people notice that’s different? How will you make yourself accountable? Action is a top tip. Be practical is another.
Challenge yourself to set 3 goals with ‘by when’ attached. Use the SMART approach to goals setting – specific + measurable+ achievable + realistic + timed. Add on the magic ‘IES’ factor – Interesting, Exciting and Special. Next time you’re setting goals buy a tube of Smarties to remind you to raise your bar and explore those other perspectives!