I’m writing this from our weekend home in West Virginia. One of the many reasons we love this peaceful getaway is the setting. Our house is perched on a small mountain, and overlooks a dense forest. We enjoy a gorgeous view of undulating hills and misty valleys. There is, however, a long silver thread of power lines that run from a tower on the ridge across from us. It is almost a mile away, but a section of it is visible against the canopy of green. When we first began coming here, my eyes would always go to the power lines. One day, I realized that I have a choice: I can focus on the unfortunate power lines and feel annoyed, or I can choose to focus on the lush forest and feel peaceful. These days, when my gaze falls on the power lines, I let them serve as a reminder to take in the full view. They are still there, but now I focus on the breathtaking beauty surrounding me, not on the small slice of ugly.
So it is with life and work. What we choose to see is what we get. When I expand my view of a situation, I gain perspective and a way forward. By choosing not to focus just on the negative, I can open up to possibilities. If I quiet my inner critic, I get more clarity about my own strengths and worth. By no longer acting from fear, I can bring love into play. When I stop focusing on the hurt someone has caused me, I can put my energy into the healing of that relationship.
I’ve noticed that folks who seem to always focus on the negative will defend their thinking as being realistic, or discerning. I agree that we need to be aware of both the pros and cons of a situation. However, if I find myself habitually leaning into a negative view, I stop and walk around the issue for a different perspective. I try to train myself to see a 360 view of problems as well as people.
What do your thought habits convey about where your focus most often goes? How do your behaviors towards others reflect how you see them? I’m sure you can think of examples in your own life and work where choosing – or learning – to see something or someone in a different way might open up new frontiers for growth. Practice training your eyes and heart to see the goodness in others. Learn to discern what opportunities there are in tough challenges. Increase your self-awareness to see yourself as the wondrous human being that you are. You may find that changing what you focus on can impact your work, your relationships, and yourself. If I can support you in this endeavor, please give me a call.
Meanwhile, enjoy the summer and whatever views you encounter along the way.
Sharon Keys Seal