Perspective from Others
While we celebrate the concept of “self-made” in our society, rarely has any person achieved remarkable accomplishments without help from others. Think of those who have impacted your life. These can include parents and other family members, teachers, bosses and co-workers, clergy, mentors, friends, and other influential people.
The perspectives others can provide - especially those whom we trust - can help us progress from our current position, our Point A, to where we wish to go, our Point B.
Let’s talk about how their perspectives can benefit us on our journeys, what we must be aware of when seeking the perspectives of others, and how to know if we have the right people to assist us on our journeys.
In my previous article on Perspective, I shared three perspectives that aid us in getting unstuck, to eventually get off our roundabout.
The first is to gain an enhanced or elevated perspective by taking an objective view of our current situation. Doing so helps us view our lives from a different angle to better understand where we need to go. The second is to espouse various mindsets (attitudes/perspectives) to stay on track despite challenges, setbacks, and failures. The third is to create a clear picture of ourselves living the life to which we aspire.
In this article, I will share how the perspectives of others can impact our journey. When we understand the ways in which we can apply these perspectives, we can determine which type is best suited for our situation.
How Others' Perspectives Can Benefit Us
There are multiple ways that the assistance of others can help us achieve our goals. Here, we cover three Perspectives from Input, then three Perspectives from Accountability. An important note to consider before obtaining these perspectives is to first define and review your own core values. These are the absolute values you hold as a priority in your life. A solid knowledge of those values will help to shine a light on others’ points of view and if they are worth considering and trusting. Your values can include personal commitments to family, spirituality, ethics and even culture.
Perspectives from Input
Input One: Content
Others provide on-demand content relevant to our challenges through blogs, videos, podcasts, webinars, and other media.
We gain perspective from the content creators without the need to interact directly. Applying what we learn from this content requires us to be self-starters, conducting the follow-up on our own. We can use planners, journals, and other tools to stay on track.
Input Two: Feedback
Others provide their feedback after hearing or seeing our plans and proposed actions. We may prefer or need to work alone - while still wanting the ability to bounce our ideas off of someone else periodically for additional insights, different viewpoints, and suggested actions.
We gain perspective from their feedback. We can choose to incorporate their input into our plans with action steps they provide. We may absorb their feedback with the modifications that work best for us.
Input Three: Inspiration
Others serve as inspirational role models that we can emulate, especially with those who have successfully reached their goals and aspirations. Their stories of overcoming limiting attitudes and challenges
provide us with lessons and bits of wisdom that we can use for our journeys.
When someone else accomplishes a goal, and we can see ourselves in them, we gain the motivation and confidence that we are capable of doing the same. We can learn from the steps (and missteps) they have taken. We may even consider asking them to serve as mentors or guides for our journeys.
We also gain inspiration and perspective by reading biographies, books and posts of inspiring people. We can learn by watching TED Talks or documentaries as they share their journey, challenges, how they overcame them, and their results. Applying what we learn from their stories can help us ideate additional options to solve our challenges.
Perspectives from Accountability
Others provide a program and materials structured to keep us on track. For example, we seek accountability when we hire a coach or trainer, sign up for synchronous courses, participate in a 30-day challenge, join Weight Watchers, or attend AA meetings.
We gain perspective from our coaches, trainers, teachers, and moderators - and likely also from others participating in the same programs. Within a structured system, we are held accountable to take specific actions and progress toward agreed-upon milestones. We must show up, report our progress, and even face consequences if we veer off track.
Two: Combination of Content + Accountability
We may need a combination of content-driven and accountability-driven programs to make positive forward movement toward our goals. This method works best for most as the combination delivers quicker results toward the intended goal. My friend Elise is a high achiever. Even so, Elise found that a content-driven approach was not enough for particular issues. For example, she sought an accountability-driven program to help her downsize her belongings.
Elise read many articles about decluttering, and she even listened to several episodes of The Minimalist podcast. But she made real progress when she made the financial and time commitment to hiring an organizational coach to work with her for a few hours weekly. She is a competent adult who could have done this on her own, but she realized that she needed the addition of an accountability-driven program to drive the results she desired.
Three: Group Work
This is where others provide a structure of support to achieve our goals. Input from a team can be powerful, multiplying the effort and impact that we can have by ourselves. Group members offer perspective, encouragement, and accountability. If we have an “off” day, they can cover us and help keep us on track.
Mastermind groups are a form of group work in which the members support and guide each other, providing varied perspectives in the form of advice and informal mentoring. If you have a challenge, your mastermind group can help you gain additional perspectives on how you might frame the issue, what resources you could tap into, and how to approach it with next steps.
What to Know When Asking for Others' Perspectives
I believe that we can learn something from every person we meet.
That said, we must carefully select whom we ask for specific feedback, advice, and mentoring. Remember the importance of defining your core values first.
When I recommend discernment, we must take others’ guidance with a grain of salt because:
1. Others’ life situations and experiences are not ours. Every person’s experiences are different, and not everyone will have the maturity and the breadth of exposure to provide you with sound, valuable feedback.
2. Others may have agendas that do not prioritize our best interests. Maybe we ask our spouse for advice regarding our plan to progress at work. While our spouse may believe in the benefits of additional education, he (or she) might not encourage us to pursue this because it could impact their time with us or increase their family and household responsibilities.
In my book, The Summit: Journey to Hero Mountain, the lead character Mallery sets out on a journey to find a more fulfilling future than her current situation could provide. Her brother follows and attempts to “save” her as he believes she will fail. His actions aren’t driven by caring for Mallery’s well-being. Instead, he needs to be seen and validated as a hero and protector. Mallery sees through his pretext and continues her journey.
3. Others may not appreciate our choices if we diverge from their recommendations. Beware of seeking counsel from those who consistently demonstrate qualities such as arrogance, rigidity, and pride. We may get on their bad side if we do not follow their guidance.
Perspectives We Encounter on Our Journeys
When we commit to change our lives, there will be many who encourage and support us. We flourish with the positive perspectives of those who believe in our capability to succeed.
However, there will be some who don’t understand our need to make adjustments and changes. We may even encounter someone who actively attempts to thwart our progress.
We need to understand with clarity those who are not with us. Our goals are too important to be derailed by a person(s) who is not fully onboard with our success.
When considering others’ perspectives:
- Understand the influence of your network on your ability to achieve your goals. Those with whom you associate can impact your success.
- Use discernment in seeking advice by evaluating the motives of the people you consult. Do they want what you want?
- Ask yourself the question, “Is this person still growing?” If yes, ask a follow-up question, “Are they growing in a similar direction as I am?” You and your situation are always changing, and while long-term relationships can provide familiarity and shared memories, we may outgrow those who were previously important to us.
- Recognize biases in others’ guidance. My friend Valerie is a mid-level military officer, and she has often sought the input of senior officers on what skills she needs and assignments she should take. If she talks to ten officers, she receives ten different opinions, often based on the path that led them to their high rank. She understands the value and limits of their advice.
Know that not everyone will understand what you are trying to do. Be forgiving and execute your plan anyway. Be grateful for the roles they have played in your life and be willing to move forward regardless.
Have the confidence to push ahead, even if you don’t have the full support of those closest to you. You are on your journey, not theirs. You may need to bring new people and influences into your inner circle. Trust your instincts and keep pressing forward.
A solid knowledge of your core values will help to shine a light on others’ points of view and if they are worth considering and trusting.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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