We receive information from all our senses and our brain is there to make sense of it by using filters and mechanisms that will lead to our own, unique version of reality. We delete, distort and generalise the information we receive. We all do; this is how we work. However, it means we all have “our own way of seeing the world”. So when we look at things we look at it from our view point. This is fine and appropriate in most cases but when we get stuck it is important to be able to get out of our own world view to find new alternatives.
This is one aspect that coaching excels at: to challenge your thinking to see the world from different perspectives to help you find new possibilities to reach your goals. Here are some examples for thinking outside of your world view.
Somebody else’s point of view.
The most common approach is to think of something as if you were somebody else. If your issue involves other people, an obvious tool is to think as if you were these people: what is their view of the situation? Why do they behave the way they behave?
Another way is to think how a role model would approach the situation. Who would be your role model in this context? What would they tell you? Your role model could be anybody, real or not (a cartoon character for instance).
Finally, you can assess the situation from a neutral observer point of view. You are somebody who does not know a thing about what is going on. What do you see, hear? What do what you hear or see make you think of the situation?
Cultural point of view
Much less used by coaches is to see how cultural aspects constrain your thinking and how you can use insights and views from other cultures to open your options. Below are some examples of differences that can help.
- Time: It can be viewed as scarce or plentiful for instance. A lot of people have problems with finding enough time in their life; time needs to be saved, well spent. How would your situation change if you were to begin to see time as plentiful, to take time?
- Hierarchy: you may be somebody who sees hierarchy as necessary and very important. What if you were to look at things from a less hierarchical point of view? Would you relationship with your boss or reports be different? Would you handle difficult conversations and conflicts differently?
- Control: Some people like to be in control of everything they do and what happens around them. Others think that some things are out of their control. This orientation is underpinned by your cultures. There is a continuum between control and humility. Where are you on the continuum? What would be different if you moved along this continuum?
Communication point of view
Finally, the way you speak, the words you chose shape your thinking. Changing your rhetoric and communication in general can help you seeing the world differently. Below are just two examples that you can use.
- Your language: Experiment with rephrasing your thinking. For instance, turn negatives into positives; use “I want” instead of “I don’t want”.
- Body language: Use your body language to analyse how you feel. When you think of thinking differently, how does your body language change? If you turn this around, how can you change your body language to feel differently, and thus think differently about something?
A coach will help you, guide you through seeing the world differently. However, my advice is take the different perspectives I described here and use them beginning now on your thinking. Leave a comment to let me know what difference it makes.