Today, I was out on a bike ride (mostly because I am a pansy and can NOT run in 100+ degree heat, as much as I love to run). While I was riding up a hill, I was lost in my thoughts and not looking ahead. When I finally lifted my eyes to see the road in front of me, I noticed several large rocks in my direct path, only about 5 feet away. I quickly maneuvered as best I could to dodge the rocks and somehow managed to come out of it without a wreck or a flat tire.
But that is not always the case in life. And sometimes, we are not always lucky enough to have discovered the potential hazard from our own view point.
We like to see ourselves in a certain way, often not taking into account how others perceive us. Both are relevant. (you may be thinking, “But Dominique, aren’t we supposed to be ourselves no matter what and not care what other people think?” the answer is both yes and no.)
Here’s an example from my own life. I love people. I have dedicated my life to helping people pursue their dreams. I will give whatever resources I have; time, money, blood, sweat, tears. BUT, I have been told over and over again, throughout my entire life, that I am intimidating. This naturally lends to being perceived as “un-approachable” and because I try not to care about what people think, I don’t even realize it. I go about my day, get down to business when necessary and have fun when it’s time to have fun. The problem is, if people think I do not care about them and are too scared to even approach me, I have lost my opportunity to even be of service to them, to do the very thing I hope to do with my life. And so, good people that I have known throughout my life have let me know, with love, that I am intimidating and it reminds me that I need to soften up sometimes. This is something, I have to be very deliberate about, for the sake of my life’s big picture.
So long story short, yes, it is important to keep into account the perspective of others when it comes to many things in life, including your persona. Especially if the things you are hoping to accomplish with your life, involve interacting with other humans. In most cases, that’s all of us.
Asking for clarity
A great time to seek out additional perspective is when you may not personally agree with a decision.
I mean, you could always do the easy thing, and grumble about it in public, get others to agree with you and then become a cancerous plague in your environment. Or, you can humble yourself and seek understanding so all can move forward. But it’s up to you.
I get to work daily with an incredible team. Yesterday, one of our Supervisors approached myself and another Leader and shared that they didn’t understand why we had set certain expectations recently and asked if we could give additional perspective. They were asking for 2 reasons. 1. For their own understanding and 2. (and most importantly) so they could successfully lead the team in this initiative and not cause division by potentially over-aligning with them.
It is 100% ok to ask for help for better understanding. When your intentions are good, you will naturally come across as somebody who is on-board but wants to know why so you can better communicate it to others. Also, it’s just not wise to follow people blindly. So, please, ask questions.
Asking for help.
Seeking additional perspective in moments when you have found that you have become stagnant at whatever it is that you are doing or have been doing, is a wise decision. If your growth has stopped and you are just going through the motions, you may need to reach out.
This one can be tough. A lot of us naturally want to internalize any frustration, or even blame others for the positions we are in. Both are no good. This is when it is time to find somebody you truly trust and can share your thoughts with. Our biggest battles are generally fought between our two ears. We get caught inside our heads and convince ourselves of things that could be far from the truth. In these moments, it is up to us to take action towards resolution. These are moments where, if not addressed early on, can lead to a long pattern of negative thinking and create a deep dark hole we will have to claw our way out of.
Having a mentor (AKA a truth-teller) is one of the best things one can do for their life. Someone who can say to you, “Dominique, I think you’re looking at this wrong.” or “I think it’s possible to look at this differently.” and even better, “Here’s what I see…”
Generally when some more light is shed on a situation, you can get through the clutter and decide on what is now necessary to move forward. But this is the important thing, something MUST be done in order to move forward. Self-development, growth, learning, etc; it MUST continue. It must be deliberate.
Becoming stagnant basically means you have allowed yourself to get hung up on some formality and lost focus of the big picture. We’ve allowed ourselves to become the passenger of our lives and not the driver. Because truly, we can always continue growing.
So where are you? Are you currently the Mentor? The Men-tee? Do you need fresh perspective? Can you help others see additional perspective, but in a loving way? Is there an area you can be more deliberate with? Share your story in the comments below.