Monday, March 11, 2013

Shifting perspective

Perspective is everything, isn't it?

I'm writing this on a snowy day in the Chicago area, almost a week before you'll read it. Because I'm sitting in my cozy office looking out over evergreen trees now frosted in white against which my resident blue jays and cardinals really show up, I'm loving this new snowfall. However, it was only a few years ago that such a snowfall (they predict 10 inches before it ends) would have greatly distressed me because, even on good days, I had a 30-to-45-minute commute (one way) on a very busy tollway. At the very least, snow often doubled that. Today I don't have to go anywhere so I can simply enjoy the beauty.

A few years ago I lost my job. I was devastated then. Now, however, my perspective is totally different—because I've healed, moved on and am in an encore career I absolutely love. So now, from this perspective, I can be grateful for the amazing experiences I had in my 25 years in that former job, the people I met—whose lives touched mine and whose lives I touched—the places I went, the things I learned and the achievements I had. I can celebrate all of that and be grateful. And I can savor where I am right now. My perspective changed. But not overnight.

Sometimes my perspective can be shifted just like that. Several years ago a friend and I were flying out East for a few days of vacation, but our flight there was canceled due to bad weather. I was really upset at first. After I calmed down, of course, I realized there was nothing to do but accept that we weren't going to get where we wanted to be that day. But we could at least check out options and decide what move made sense. I did a little self-talk and changed my perspective to a more positive one. A bad attitude wasn't going to change flight schedules—it would only make me more miserable.

I need to remember that often, shifting my perspective is a process. Sometimes it's a matter of simply choosing to see things differently and being positive rather than negative about a situation. Other times, it's a matter of doing some grief work, letting go, accepting and then moving on.

Do you need to change your view of something today? Please contact me if you feel stuck in doing so.

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