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Are You Sure You Have That Right?


Do you know how much I would love to just curl up with a good book, some tea and a great blanket? Why yes please. It’s just that time of year, you know?

I ended up getting quite the head cold last week, and let me tell you…that’s all I wanted: my comfy couch and some down time.

As I was resting this weekend, I kept thinking about perspective. I’ve been working with my clients a great deal on perspective lately, and given the state of the world, the loud voices and the differing perspectives, it’s probably no wonder that it keeps coming up.

Here we are, all experiencing the same events, but our perspectives are wildly different. And the great news about that? We have the power to change our perspective to one that empowers us.

Let me share a little story with you, it’s a true story, and one that I love sharing.

There is a set of twins, boys, who grew up with a highly abusive, alcoholic father. He would beat them mercilessly, get drunk, pass out and then get up the next day and do it again.

As these two boys grew into men, they ended up with two very different lives. One grew up to be an alcoholic himself, and he became so belligerent that he ended up in jail. The other never touched alcohol, now has three children whom he loves, he’s got a great job and a loving marriage.

These two men were asked a single question. This question was asked individually, with neither one of them knowing that their twin brother was being asked.

Here’s the question:

Why did you turn out the way you did?

You want to know the really amazing thing? These two men, twins, not even just brothers, but twins, answered in the exact same way:

With a father like that, what choice did I have?

I’ll just let that sink in for a bit. Don’t worry, I’ll wait….

Pretty cool, no?

That, my lovely Sarah is the power of perspective. Same father, same words. Very different perspective.

So here’s a challenge for you:

What in your life feels like a challenge right now? Maybe you’re having a tough time in your business, or in your marriage, or with a friend or the current political climate. Or you’re trying to lose weight and these crazy Valentine’s Day cookies are showing up all over the place.

We’re going to work on your perspective of that “challenge” and start to see what’s possible when we approach the same situation from a different angle.

I used this over the weekend when I was feeling so sick. I found that I had to work to shift my perspective about feeling awful. How could it serve me? How would it make me stronger? And I realized I could use the time to plan, to read books I don’t usually have time to read and snuggle with the kids. I may have even indulged in a delicious episode or two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer without feeling guilty. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.

So over the next few days, here’s your challenge:

What new questions can you ask about a tough situation?

Here are some of my favorites:
What about this situation is great?
What isn’t perfect yet? (I love the “yet” in this one, it implies something amazing is possible.)
What am I happy about in my life right now?
What am I committed to in my life? And what am I willing to give for that commitment?
How can I handle this situation so I’ll be incredibly proud of myself?
These are just a few, but hopefully they’ve sparked some ideas for you, too.

See, the whole idea is to shake things up for yourself a little bit. To remember that there are 100’s of ways to look at every situation, and there is always a way to see what’s working in your favor.

You just have to use that gray matter to see where the light is shining.