Life is what we make it. I’m not so naïve to think that “life” brings us all good things. It brings a variety of things: heartaches, pains, opportunities, results and challenges. Life brings certain circumstances that are simply impossible to navigate around. You have seen that three-circle graphic drawing that displays: (1) things that we cannot control, (2) things we can control and (3) things that matter. Obviously, we should focus our best efforts on numbers 2 and 3.
In a coaching business there are a multitude of opportunities to help clients with addressing their general “life” challenges, as well as, their professional development goals. I’ve discovered through practice that if the “life” perspectives are blurred then the professional trajectory can be skewed, if not stymied.
A professional that I’ve met with many times has some unrealistic “life” viewpoints and a very narrow way of seeing how he’ll develop. He’s not wrong in his perspective however, his viewpoint limits his possibilities for his future and his professional goals. Perspectives and goals are at war, limiting both. A coach’s job is to ask the right questions to facilitate a client’s attempt to make their own discoveries. In his case, his answers are stronger than my questions. It has led to a career and life impasse for him. Perspective and possibility need to create some synergy.
Whether this real case scenario sounds like you, or not, here are some easy-to-remember ideas to help you S.E.E Life differently.
o Search – Traveling through life with the intentionality of searching deeply into those things you don’t understand or don’t often think about, can improve your perspective. Read outside of your expertise or beyond your interests. If you love sports attend a theatre or musical event. If you love music get some tickets to a baseball game.
For a period of time consider attending networking events that have attendees that would seem opposite to your normal professional relationships. Search deeply into some of your well-worn and typical activities to better understand them from a broader view. Consider setting some goals that strengthen your abilities to address everyday life with a “search light” of curiosity and a stronger interest in the less-than-obvious.
o Synergize – Synergy means the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements or contributions. When it comes to everyday life experiences there is a synergistic outcome that may occur when one takes notice. Seeing life as having a cumulative effect is important. Using some discipline in organizing what one sees and experiences can positively improve perspective.
o Engage – I’ve found in my life that when I put my personality, talents, thoughts and opinions forward something always comes back to me. Not always good responses, but there is a reflective component that happens when I engage the world around me. I don’t think this action is about whether one is an introvert or an extrovert. Social engagement at any level is healthy.
o Energize – Much has been written on the concept of social energy. Unlike traditional “types” of energy (mental and physical), social energy is a type of energy that is derived from the interaction with others. Although extroverts need social interactions more than introverts, all people need interaction with others. When we intentionally energize the simple people encounters, we are “seeing” life from a better perspective than when we are alone. Energize through socializing.
o Enthuse – Enthusiasm has a root meaning that implies bringing fervor and excitement to ideas, to others or to causes with our personality. To enthuse is to bring zeal and passion to something or someone. Zeal and passion does not necessarily mean uncontrolled happiness or a state of giddiness. For instance, one could be enthused about a serious mission or a sad cause of some sort. Bringing enthusiasm to life brings perspective and an echo effect to circumstances.
o Enjoy – Enjoy can mean, take pleasure in or get pleasure from. As we bring to life our gifts of searching, synergy, engagement, energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment, life gives it back. Of course, life surprises us with good things, bad things, and painful and joyful things. Life happens and we respond, in most cases. Using these above ideas may change your world as you act in response to it, not necessarily the circumstance itself. However bringing these ideas to your life, rather than always reacting to life, instigates vibrancy to life.
Try using these ideas and techniques to shape your thinking in advance of circumstances. Living life with some preemptive intentionality to make things better helps.
Rick Forbus, PhD