Perception Is Not Perspective

Alex graduated from high school this week. It’s been fun celebrating this milestone with him. It has been a journey in so many ways.

As I watched the kids gather with their friends it reminded me of how differently we view the world at 17 than when we are – older.

Our perception of what we view as important, urgent, relevant and worthy of our attention then versus now is so different. I’m sure we all have a thing or two that we obsessed over in high school that we wouldn’t spend 2 seconds thinking about now. Popularity, sky high bangs, who sits and what lunch table. All of it.

Our perception in high school is that these are make or break moments and worth most, if not all of our attention.

And yet with time comes perspective. The ability to step back and see a bigger picture. Perspective allows us to see more of the puzzle so that we can better ascertain just how important something is, and how much time we need to give it. Better yet, perspective offers us options of other things to focus on that we can’t accesses when we are so zeroed in on one small moment.

Perception is often when things go sideways, we have an emotional reaction to what we perceive is happening, but without the full knowledge and understanding of the situation as a whole.

Perspective is that moment when wisdom prevails and we have the thought ‘perhaps there is more to this story’ or ‘maybe this isn’t as important as I once thought it was’.

Certainly time helps to make the shift, but we don’t always have years to wait around to get a better handle on things. The good news is, perspective can be gained in any situation by taking a pause. It may be 5 seconds as you take a deep breath, or 5 minutes, or more. The key is to stay curious and be open to more than your initial assessment of a situation.

It applies when we are in high school and right now as we navigate a shifting market. To some their perception is – the sky is falling and this is terrible. To others, their perspective is that this is a moment to adjust and hone new skills, ask new questions and know that now more than ever our clients need us.

Which will you choose, perception or perspective? The answer will shape the rest of this year and likely next as well.

To your success!

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