The Transformative Power of Perspective:
How shifts in perspective bring about positive change
One of the most effective tools for a successful life is the power of our perspective. Our ability to reframe a situation and view it in a more positive light is one that can ultimately transform our lives.
I had an interesting reminder of the power of perspective recently when I was on vacation in June in the Adirondack Mountains with my oldest friend and her 6 year-old daughter, Jie. We climbed a little mountain one day and after we had hiked for awhile, Jie, who had never climbed such a peak in her life to date, started asking the classic “Are we there yet?” every 5 or 10 minutes.
To be honest, I was starting to wonder the same thing because, although I had hiked this trail before, it had been rerouted and I was unsure of our location. Jie seemed tired, and her mom did as well, so I decided to see if we were getting close to the rocky summit with the incredible views that we were hoping for. I told my friend and Jie that I was going to scout ahead and see if we were almost there. No sooner had the word “scout” fallen from my mouth, than Jie burst out “Can I scout too?” “Sure,” I said and proceeded off at a brisk pace. Jie kept up, instantly energized by her changed perspective.
This astonished me and her mom. We were reminded once again of the power of reframing a situation and the power of even one word.
One of my clients gave me permission to share the story of how she reframed the sale of her home, which she thought she would live in forever. She realized the incredible freedom the sale gave her, the freedom to travel, to quit her job if she chose to and the freedom to start all over with much less baggage. Like a cork released under water, she popped up, full of energy for her new life.
Another example: every day I work “full out” because I love my coaching work so much. So every night I am pretty well “used up.” In the past, I went to bed thinking, “I’m exhausted.” Realizing this was not the best word to be using, I changed it to “I am really ready for a great night’s sleep.” Instead of programming myself for burnout, I chose the perspective of how wonderful it is to live fully every day and then get this wonderful restorative sleep time.
The power of perspective is perhaps of greatest important when we face a situation which has huge significance to our future. Most of us get pretty worked up at such times. We worry. We stress. We may make ourselves sick. We may overeat or undereat. “So much rides on this!” we tell ourselves. Here’s a story of a woman who used the power of perspective to carry her through the biggest professional challenge of her life.
If you’re not into golf, bear with me: golf, like all sports, serves up huge life lessons. It’s a mental game, as is so much of life. Hilary Lunke has been on the professional women’s golf circuit for two years after graduating with a Masters in Sociology from Stanford University. This year, she hadn’t played well enough to automatically qualify to play in the US Open, the most prestigious tournament in women’s golf. So she had to play two rounds in the days preceding the tournament to even qualify to play. She qualified by one stroke. On July 7, 2003, Hilary, basically an unknown golfer, became this year’s US Open winner. She won over $500,000, twice what the 2nd place finisher won, whom she beat by one stroke. She beat out Annika Sorenstam and every other top player. Last year, her income was $30, 509.
How did she pull this off? In her interviews it seemed that, in addition to her hot “short game,” she reframed each shot in her mind and took the pressure off. She did not say to herself on every shot that she had to do great, so much was riding on this, don’t screw it up, etc. She said, “I kept tricking my mind saying you’re just playing golf, you’re just playing golf, another day of golf, the way you always do it.” She also reframed the importance of this event, telling herself how lucky she was to be outside, earning a living playing golf, when there were so many other things going on in the world that were much more important.” With the power of her perspective, Lunke catapulted herself into the top ranks of women golfers and changed her life forever.
So whether it’s scouting on a trail, selling your beloved house, going to sleep at night, or playing for high stakes, let’s remember the power of perspective. The more we apply the immense power that comes in changing our perspective, the more our life will flow with a power that will astound us and increase the abundance in our lives exponentially.
© 2014 Anne Alexander, all rights reserved in all media