A familiar view can bring a rush of memories, and also create a sense of calm, purpose, connection to nature, or a feeling of home. As I sit and write – admiring this longtime favourite view and constant in my life since the age of ten – I am reminded that some things never change, and some things change every day. It’s also fascinating that you could look at this same view, and see, feel, or think something very different.
The Other View
There is another type of view, beyond a sight. One that plays into our daily lives, or a manner of looking at or regarding something; an opinion, or judgment coloured by the feeling or bias of its holder (Merriam Webster).
Like the other, this view can change, remain the same, or morph into something different as we age, gain wisdom and education, and experience. We are all individuals with a gift of differing views – or what we often call perspectives.
An Important Skill
Something I’ve come to know (through lessons learned), is that one of many keys to a successful relationship is the ability to look at things through others’ eyes – through their view. Children, adults, teachers, writers, politicians, you name it…all have a point of view. Understanding this is one of the most important skills we can teach our children.
As much as differing viewpoints is critical for learning, team performance, strategy formulation and implementation, critical thinking, and innovation, it can present challenges in our personal and professional lives. Challenges specifically when emotions are in full bloom, stakes are high, or when our viewpoint supports our values and goals.
Modern culture, global affairs, the speed of technology, information overload, subconscious bias, and social media have created new and immediate urges to comment and be heard – some of which are useful, but some that are damaging. It’s amazing how often our ego wants to assert itself when listening to others. As human beings, it’s natural for us to want to inject our points of view and to be heard. But in these times, it is important to listen and remain curious by asking clarifying questions, so we truly understand the view of others.
Permission to Shift Perspective
Varying points of view are extremely healthy when working through a solution, making a decision, or creating and leading change. Through dynamic discussion, it’s important to allow ourselves to be open to different perspectives, especially if we ask for them!
I often lead strategy formulation sessions, telling clients that when we enter a room, we enter with points of view based on our own roles, feelings, experiences, knowledge, and so on. That is normal, however, the “gold” in discussions is giving ourselves permission to shift perspective and embrace the thoughts and “point of view” of others. The same can be said about conversations in our living rooms, over dinners, or at cocktail parties.
As middle-aged women, it is important for us to share views and give experiences to our children, team members, colleagues and employees, that help broaden their perspectives, especially when it comes to growth. Just as important, we need to also listen to others – not only to generations before us, but also those that follow. So the next time you hear the views of others, ask if they can tell you more or if they can help you understand, to bring clarity to the conversation and views.
And, take a friend or loved one to your favourite view, and ask what they see. Why? Because views are most memorable when shared with others. And…because we can.
Denise speaks regularly on personal and professional development, workplace wellness, setting boundaries, and authentic leadership. Learn more here.
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Photos – by me 🙂