At times it can feel like life is beyond your control. And, to be fair, life often is beyond our control. Yet, there are many places where we have the power to change our lives in significant ways. Let’s take a dive into 7 perspective shifts that will change your life. You can better yourself and your mental states. And, isn’t that the whole purpose of changing your life perspective anyway?
These shifts are simple but not easy. It will take work, a dollop of courage, and a bunch of grit. But if you persist and practice daily, you will see a shift, and you will ultimately feel more empowered to be the best version of yourself.
1. Other People’s Opinion of You is None of Your Business
This one is a doozy. It is so easy to find yourself wildly swinging back and forth, based on how people share their opinion with you. “I like your hair.” Yay. “What’s going on with your hair?” Not so yay. “Wow, you’re so smart.” Yay. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Not so yay.
The problem with opinions most of us know, everyone has one and well… Still, it can be hard to let go of this one. What is possible, though, if you do? If your opinion of me is none of my beeswax, then I can focus on my own opinion of me.
Given that you are the only one who can sustain deep changes in your life and you are the only one who knows if you are living in alignment with your values, it only stands to reason that your opinion of yourself is the most essential factor. This is a life changing perspective shift and one worth the time to embrace.
Take other’s opinions lightly. If there is a pattern that harms relationships or stalls your goals, then take a look at yourself. Consider if there is merit to the comments; if not, let them go. If you are not happy with how your life is going, then take a look at yourself. In case you are a person who worries what others think and that stops you from living your life fully, then decide if you need to worry about other people and their opinions.
2. Look at the Impact
How many times in your life have you worried or spun up about things that ultimately had zero impact on you? Some situations trigger our fears, and in a flash, we are no longer living in the moment, we are instead entirely in the worst possible future scenario.
The fact is bad things may happen. You may get that terrible, horrible outcome. Yet, often you don’t. And still, there is something to your fear influencing the worst case; fear changes your behavior and reactions. Be mindful of where you focus your attention. Choices have long-lasting impacts. Remember, your conscious awareness shifts your perspective and is life-changing.
When I look back over my own life, there have been times where I have multiple fears get triggered and, in fact, nothing terrible happened. What was the purpose of the spin? How did it help? If it motivated me to get more information, then great. But if instead, it just gave me a giant cup of cortisol and adrenaline, then maybe I should have ordered something else at the counter.
3. Seek the Win/Win Solution
I love this idea. And, while it’s a simple idea, it takes creativity to master. Yet the idea of a win/win solution can change your life in many ways. When we seek to find solutions that work for others, as well as for ourselves, we get the most significant levels of buy-in.
When you find yourself in a disagreement with another person, do you want to lose the conversation? I can’t speak for you, but I know I prefer not to lose. It may be a competitive edge I have, or maybe I am attached to my perspective. Still, through the years, I have rarely met people who say, “I love losing!”
So, then, what does it take to develop a win/win perspective? First, it takes a willingness to suspend our own perspective long enough to listen to what someone else is saying. As we listen, if we can open our minds and listen to understand, we build trust. Once we have a deeper understanding of what is motivating the other person’s position, we can look at our own, deeper motivations.
4. Build Trust
Consider places where you have gotten stuck on a teeter-totter with someone. Maybe a spouse, sibling, child, parent, co-worker, boss, or [insert your person here.] What was your underlying concern? What was driving your perspective? What was their view, and what drives that view? These questions are fundamental to building trust and engaging others in solutions that work for both of you. It is also one of the best ways to expand your influence. We listen to those who we feel care about our outcome as much as their own.
Win/lose is a zero-sum game. It may work in war, but it rarely works if you still need the other side to participate. If you can get to the underlying motivator, it does two things. 1. People feel heard, and 2. We take the conversation away from a tug of war, and often we can find a solution that addresses both parties’ underlying concerns. We tend to have greater buy-in to a solution that addresses all of our needs. Finding that path, more often than not, is life-changing.
5. Releasing Anger and Resentment to Thrive
Anger and resentment, in the words of Maya Angelou, are like taking poison, hoping the other person will die. From a science perspective, we know the cost of having a lot of cortisol and adrenaline swirling through your system. We know the health, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual costs.
When we notice anger or resentment, it’s a great place to get curious. What has me feeling this way? This is a valuable question to ask yourself. One thing I have learned is that the level of my anger, frustration, or resentment is typically correlated to the degree with which I am allowing people to cross my boundaries.
When I notice my anger, especially at the lowest level, I can slow down, breathe, and get curious. I wrote about the Cadillac and the Vespa, exploring the way I navigated my reaction to the situation was a massive perspective shift for me. Moving from helplessness to empowered insight was crucial to my self-development.
It is difficult to feel anger and resentment and also be radically curious. Your strong negative emotions stop you from being a creative and curious person. Slowing down and giving yourself space to wonder, opens you up to insight and awareness. These are powerful tools that support you to thrive and succeed.
6. See Yourself as Empowered
Through my work, I spend a lot of time with folks noticing what they say to themselves. I wish that most people I met spoke to themselves with kindness. But most folks have a lot of harsh criticisms and judgments that they heap upon their heads. “I must do it perfectly,” “I’m not good enough,” “What’s wrong with me?” the negative narrative goes on and on.
The perspective shift of empowerment can change your life for the better. Often what leads to the negative narrative is the perception of external judgment. You may be being judged, but it’s your attachment to other people’s opinions that shags you up here.
What if you let go of the external and focus on what you are thinking, saying, and doing? Then you can focus your attention where you stand the best shot at changing the experience, on yourself. You are the only one who can call yourself to empowerment. I don’t mean the moment of excitement when someone else sees your worth. But, instead, the sustainable empowerment of knowing your own worth.
In How to Have an Empowered Life in 5 Steps, I talk about Locus of Control. The shift from the external focus towards the deep empowerment that comes from inside out awareness.
If in doubt, find tools that support you riding through the rough spots. I love Amy Cuddy’s TEDtalk on Power Posing. Maybe find that powerful pose and practice it. Notice how your body feels when you are hunched inward, protecting yourself. Versus when your chest is out, your head is high, and you feel powerful within yourself. Then practice that powerful pose daily. If you really want to excel, come up with your power phrase to go with that Super Pose.
6. Forgive Yourself and Everyone Else
You and I both live in glass houses, so be careful of the stones you throw. Very few people lead perfect lives. We tend to all live on a spectrum between behavior we admire and actions we don’t. Get mad, and all the goodwill you have may dry up. Feel compassion and notice how you are again filled with love. Forgiveness grants us grace to show up fully, be human, and also to grow. This perspective shift allows for grace to grow.
You’ve probably heard the idea that forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. I agree with this sentiment. Forgiveness is not an acceptance of bad behaviors, but rather a recognition that on a different day, under different circumstances, I too might have behaved poorly. Giving this sort of grace to others is also a way of lightening our load. For every travail that I set down and forgive, I increase my energy to do better and be better.
What does the attachment to hurt do for you? What is the lesson that can’t be learned until you release the pain? What is the life that can’t be appreciated until you let go of the suffering? Ultimately, forgiveness can change your life in powerful ways, giving you the freedom to move forward.
7. Narrow Your Focus to What Matters Most
Let’s say life gives you an energy pie every day. Here’s the deal though, you only ever get one pie a day. How will you slice your pie?
When our attention is focused everywhere, we can get stuck in overwhelm. Your ability to choose the best course of action can get mired in all the information that you need to make a decision. By narrowing your focus to the top 2 or 3 things that are important, you give yourself space to breathe and decide.
So, look at your pie. If half your energy gets frittered away on things that don’t really matter to your goals, to the life you want to lead, then take that attention back. I used to get lots of emails in my email box every day. Just seeing the ridiculous number on my email app got my mind spinning. So, I chose about 5 things I wanted to pay attention to. Then I started to unsubscribe, I created a few rules in my email account, and shuttled relevant emails to different folders, marked them as read, and took back my time. I pared down my “need to be read” emails to 3 areas: Family, work, and my special interest area.
This prioritization is a little like Marie Kondo’ ing your life. What sparks joy? Is it essential to my whole life? Name your top 3 big topics of interest? Then let go of all the other distractions. Focus your attention on what matters to you. This focus grounds your perspective on what is most essential to your life.
Time is the most precious of all commodities. I don’t choose to waste it on things that I don’t want to focus on. This particular perspective shift gave me back some of my life. It helped me to drill down to what I cared about, and I haven’t looked back.
You Got This!
If you read this blog article, then thank you. But it also says something about you. Claiming back your life in ways that make sense and give you a way to empower yourself is the goal. Take these 7 perspective shifts and change your relationship to the life you have. Seek to empower yourself and live your best life now.
I would LOVE to hear from YOU!
- Which perspective shift would change your life?
- What is the first step to that change?
Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC is a Leadership Confidence and Whole Life Coach, and the author of StoryJacking: Change Your Inner Dialogue, Transform Your Life. Lyssa works with confidence challenged high achievers who are ready to rewrite the internal narratives that slow them down. Her clients include executives, senior leadership, and managers at organizations such as Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, the US Military, as well as with creative writers, actors, and artists.
What fires her up is working with smart people to trust their brilliance and develop the courage and confidence to believe in themselves and the work that is their purpose. If you are interested in meeting to see if you could benefit from working together, let's have a coffee and a chat.
All Photo copyright retained by photo owners, everything else ©2014-2022 Lyssa deHart
article originally posted on Dec 2, 2019. Updated April 23, 2023.