It can be life changing to see yourself from the perspective of those who can show you your reflection from their perspective. I recently read about a challenge regarding what beauty is. A photographer had women and girls take selfies and then enlarged them, printed them, and had them mounted to hang in an art gallery. The photographs were put on public display in a show. During the show at the gallery the patrons were given post-it notes to write their impressions regarding the beauty of the subjects in these selfies. They posted these on the photos in the gallery. The photographer also interviewed the subjects of the photos about their beauty in the selfies. The subjects gave many negative impressions of themselves and their perceived flaws. The patrons on the other hand focused on so many positive things about the subjects of the photographs and what made them beautiful. The subjects of the selfies were then able to view these post-it’s with the patron’s perspectives about their beauty. These positive and affirming messages helped to change the views of the subjects to more positive and self-affirming. They were taking in the truth illuminated by the patrons of the gallery, and making them their own.
This brought to mind that in so many areas of our lives we are constantly looking in the flawed mirror of our own perceptions. I think this holds true for our productivity and self-worth related to our work. When I look at each unique client situation, I look for the positive, what works, what has been successful in the past. I use this knowledge as a starting point to shed light on these areas for the client, who in all likelihood, has not even remotely thought of these as strengths in the past. Perhaps, they are really skilled at taking notes, they have a really great contact management system, or they keep all their receipts together in a great way. Some of their solutions to the challenge of getting and staying organized and productive I may have never seen before. The ability of humans to come up with novel solutions to common problems is as varied as the number of people creating the systems. Much like the subjects of the art show in the previous example, clients hear the negative, the unattainable, and are shortsighted about the strengths they possess. Getting perspective from a trusted advisor can help enormously to break down the barriers we put in our own way. In the area of productivity especially, the messages that you cannot ever fix this, you cannot be productive and successful because of your current situation is your truth and to find the real truth you need to look in a different mirror. I am here to tell you to look into the mirror of that the stranger in the gallery. What their mirror shows you is also part of the truth and if you allow yourself you will begin to see and share in their truth. Now with a more positive perspective you can begin the process of gaining the skills and knowledge to move you towards the life you envision.