How good are you at giving advice or solving other people’s problems? It’s possible you can always find something to say or provide a possible solution to just about anything, so long as it is not your problem. Does this sound familiar? It does for me and I witness it regularly, in business, at home and/or just about everywhere. Maybe you know someone in your life that is always so eager to give advice or promise a solution every time, no matter the topic or situation. You may have an image of that person right now. Have you ever wondered why it is so easy to give advice and offer solutions when you are not the one experiencing the problem? It’s called perspective. Yes, that’s right, perspective; the ability to see things from a different position or point of view.
You may know what perspective means and you may also have experienced walking in another person’s shoes. What you may not know is bringing a new and/or alternative perspective to any situation can be the difference which makes the difference. Maybe you have heard the quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Think about that for a moment. If you have an issue or a problem and you cannot find a proper solution AND you are approaching the situation the same way, doing the same things, then how can you expect a different result? Let’s look at this from another perspective. If you want something new you must try something new. Yes, it’s that easy and it is easy only if you let it be easy.
It’s possible you have a situation now. Maybe it’s getting a promotion, finding a new job, dealing with a difficult person, getting healthy, creating a team, doing more sales or starting a new business. We have all experienced being stuck and it feels as bad as the word sounds. What we often forget to realize is we get “stuck” because we approach the situation the same way, over and over, without adding/changing perspective, and thinking something new is going to happen. Yes, it sounds insane because it is insane. I am a coach and one of the many reasons coaching can be so effective is exactly this, adding new perspective.
So, what makes perspective so helpful in solving problems and providing solutions? There are many answers and one is the ability to separate yourself from your emotions. We as humans are full of emotions. Emotions are beautiful and they can also hold us back. When we become emotional we cloud our thoughts and our ability to be creative and add new perspective. Removing or limiting emotions can be very helpful when searching for a solution. Another reason adding perspective is helpful is it invites new beliefs and experiences. When we approach a situation, we bring along our own personal experiences and beliefs. As good as our experiences and beliefs may be they are still our own and adding new ones is always helpful when searching for a solution. One of my favorites is being curious, allowing yourself to be open, not knowing, and wanting to receive new ideas like a young child asking his/her parent a question. When we are curious we are in a resourceful state and being resourceful promotes learning which can be helpful in all situations. Last and certainly not least is knowledge. We know what we know and that’s all we know. When we are open and allow new knowledge or information to enter the situation new possibilities arrive. The following is a simple formula which may help solve your next problem. You may consider using it, it works!
Formula for adding perspective:
1-What is the problem, issue or situation? You must be clear and honest with yourself and/or your team, otherwise insanity will be your new best friend.
2-Identify who can add new perspective and a) be honest b) have no emotional attachments c) bring a different set of beliefs d) have unique experience(s) e) be curious f) be knowledgeable.
3- Listen. This may be the most difficult part of the process. Feedback is priceless so long as you are open.
4- Try new things. The only way change is possible is when we try new things. It’s possible the more we try, the closer we get to our desired outcome.
One of the first quotes I remember when I was young was “If you cannot change the situation you must change the way you look at the situation”. I don’t remember who said it and I do remember it changed my world. It might have been my first deep thought. Yes, the content was great and what was even greater was what it meant for me. I don’t know and I can only guess that was the difference which made a difference for me.
In order for change to happen, we must change. You cannot change others and you can change yourself. Be open, be curious and be willing to try new things. It is that easy.
Enjoy the ride!
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Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at Info@RobertPaulson.coach