Several years ago, I had an opportunity to co-chair a huge fundraising event with a friend, which would have been a daunting challenge to lead solo. We got along beautifully. We were a dynamite team. Through the experience, I learned a lot about myself and my own leadership style from watching her.
When I think back on it, one of my biggest takeaways was a lesson about perspective. My partner was someone who seemed to always find adventure in the most routine activities. Every meeting would begin with a tale of an encounter she had just experienced at the grocery store or a ridiculous conversation she’d had with the cable man. Always told with a smile, she elevated the ordinary to something fun and joyful. It was obvious that this colleague of mine unfailingly saw, and continues to see, the glass as half full.
Once I tuned in and observed her unabashed joy in the ordinary, I started noticing the trait in other friends and acquaintances. Likewise, I perceived the absence of this characteristic with more hesitant friends, seemingly sipping from half-empty glasses. My first inclination was to categorize the personalities as either optimistic or pessimistic, favoring the optimistic group. But, upon reflection, I recognized that neither group was better than the other. They just approach life from different perspectives.
With this revelation, I began to see the beauty of the mix of varying perspectives. My more methodical approach to fundraising was a perfect match for my co-leader’s penchant for adventure. Our strengths meshed and weaknesses disappeared as we worked alongside each other, appreciating each other’s complementary ways.
Y’all, isn’t perspective everything? It is what allows us to prioritize, assess circumstances, and make decisions. In an argument, we can more easily find common ground if we stop to consider the impasse from another outlook. Compassion for others is born from our choice to view a situation from their shoes. When we keep things in perspective, we are able to tamp down unimportant considerations and assure negative influences remain at bay.
What I like most about perspective is that it can change. Our life experiences are accumulating into a vast database of resource memories that will guide our ability to see what matters most in any number of scenarios. Allowing ourselves a moment to “zoom out” to see a dilemma from a different viewpoint will get us unstuck by changing our perspective.
There are things in life that we cannot control. But perspective is ours to adjust, change, or aim as we adapt our focus through life’s twists and turns.
I’m here if you need me. Until then, y’all behave.