The Value of Self-Perspective
This article discusses the importance of self-perspective in achieving our goals. This is my third of three articles on how perspectives enable us to stop circling the roundabout and exit toward our summit.
In the first article on Perspective, I share three perspectives that aid us in getting unstuck and taking positive strides forward.
The first is gaining an enhanced or elevated perspective by taking an objective view of our current situation. We regard our lives from other angles to better understand where we need to go. The second is espousing various mindsets (attitudes/perspectives) to stay on track despite challenges, setbacks, and failures. The third is having a clear picture of ourselves living the life to which we aspire.
In the second article on Perspective, I share how the perspectives of others can help us progress from our current position, our Point A, to where we wish to go, our Point B. I discussed how their inputs and accountability can buoy us on our journeys, what we must be aware of when seeking the perspective of others, and how to determine if we are including the right people to assist us on our journeys.
This article will focus on how our self-perspective can impact our success.
How Self-Perspective Can Boost or Derail Your Forward Movement
Most of us care a lot - and maybe even too much - about what others think. We worry if others like us. We worry about fitting in. We worry about wearing, saying and doing the “right” things. Don’t waste your precious time and energy in this space!
We need to embrace the relationship that we have with ourselves - and honor our perspectives. When we learn to find validation from within ourselves, we can let go of worrying about what others think - and focus on what we think.
Limiting beliefs are the stories we tell ourselves like, “I’m no good at relationships”, “I’m not creative enough,” or “I don’t have the courage to do (this) or be (that).” We repeat these stories to protect ourselves from rejection or failure. Or maybe someone said these words to us, and we internalized, accepted, and reinforced them. We can learn to recognize and overcome the limiting beliefs that hold us back from what we want.
We overcome our limiting beliefs by challenging them.
What made us think that we are no good at relationships or that we’re not creative? Look at these assumptions from another perspective. Are they truly valid?
We also learn to ignore or change our negative inner dialogues. Most of us won’t accept negativity or verbal abuse from another person, and we should not accept this from ourselves. When we pay attention to the words we say to ourselves, we can take notice when we are unkind or unforgiving. Being aware of that internal conversation allows us to change the dialogue to positive, generous, and uplifting sentiments.
Your self-perspective regarding your ability to achieve your goals has immense power. Use that power to propel yourself forward to the destination you seek, your Point B. Do not let a negative self-perspective take you off course. Keep these principles in mind if you falter:
1. Don’t compare your journey to the journey of others. Focus on yourself. You are on your journey. Yes, others may be further along the path, but their journeys are not yours.
- You are where you are.
- You have a plan of where you are going.
- You are not behind or less than others. You are moving at your pace.
2. You are not a failure if things don’t go how you planned. Mistakes and failures provide invaluable lessons. Frame them as such. You tried, and it didn’t work out as you intended. Keep trying.
- What did you learn?
- How can you apply this to move forward?
3. You can start at any time. What you can accomplish has nothing to do with your age. Success is so much more about will, persistence, and resilience than about the number of birthdays you’ve had. It is about building upon your prior experience, leaning into your talents, and having confidence in yourself! Here are some inspiring examples:
- Alan Rickman, British actor and Harry Potter series villain, Severus Snape, was in his 40s when cast for his first movie, Die Hard, opposite Bruce Willis.
- Julia Child, American television star and author who brought French cooking to American homes, debuted her television cooking show, The French Chef, at age 50.
- Ray Kroc, American entrepreneur and mastermind behind McDonald’s restaurant franchise expansion. He started as an employee in his early 50s then bought the company at age 59.
- Peggy Rowe, American author with two New York Times Best Sellers who released her first book after age 80. She’s the mother of Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs.
4. Learn to trust your perspective. Others may suggest that your goals are too lofty, unimaginable, or unreachable. But what do you think? If you think you can do it, listen to your internal voice. Try to understand why others said what they did but focus on what you think and why.
Do not discount your voice. While another person may be an “expert”, you know yourself better than anyone. Maybe a coach or mentor said something to you that doesn’t sit well. Think about what was said critically, journal if it helps, and even challenge what they said. Your opinion of what is best for you matters most and after evaluation, trust that opinion.
Ways to Stay on Track Toward Your Point B
Fostering a positive self-perspective is a critical part of achieving your goals. Here are additional suggestions to stay on track to your summit.
1. Provide yourself with an optimal environment. Your environment can support your goals or hinder them. Living and working in clean, organized, well-lit, and inspiring environments brings positivity. And if you are not able to work in your optimal environment, take breaks that can give you the inspiration you need such as being in nature, listening to music, dancing, meditating, etc. You can prominently display your goal(s) in your home and work spaces as reminders of the journey you are on.
2. Put your goals in the format of a challenge. Challenges are time-specific accountability programs that encourage you to make steady progress toward a goal via incremental changes and growth. You can find nearly any kind of challenge online to help you make a change in your life. Maybe you’ve heard of the 4-week Self.com fitness challenges, the Whole30 challenge for healthy eating, and the Hard 75 for transformative mental toughness. These programs and others like them offer content like recipes and workouts as well as a community for support. You can also create your own challenge, adapting an existing program to support your specific goals.
3. Track your progress. Write down your goals for clarity, commitment, and accountability. Then track your progress to build upon your goal-setting and stay focused on execution. It is another accountability tool to keep you on pace. You see where you stand vs. your objective - and know whether you are on target or need to step up your game. Seeing tangible progress can boost your motivation!
4. Employ tools that will keep you focused. The number of available organizational tools, planners, and trackers to help you stay on track is vast. Find what works best for you. You may prefer an online tracker or a pen and paper pocket calendar. Some tools that have worked for me include:
- A daily planner. A planner that allows me to time-block works well; I set times for tasks that bring me closer to my goals in my daily schedule.
- A bullet journal or other journaling tool. I clear my head by putting my thoughts on paper. I can then sort through my reflections to help guide my actions.
- A timer. A timer helps me focus, especially on tasks I don’t enjoy. I set it for 10 minutes and get to work. Overcoming my inertia, I often get into a flow and go longer. You may know this as a “Pomodoro.” Fun fact, the Pomodoro Technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo. He invented the Pomodoro Technique by marking 25-minute work intervals using a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato - “pomodoro” in Italian!
5. Prepare for inevitable setbacks. They will occur. Your perspective on these setbacks is what will help or hurt you in reaching your goal. The Stoics had a practice called premeditation. They would anticipate challenges by defining upfront what the worst-case scenario could be. They would then plan and be ready for this possibility. When you prepare for the worst, everything else seems more manageable.
6. Embrace and learn from mistakes. Like setbacks, mistakes will happen. You cannot allow either to stop you. Instead, see the mistake as a learning opportunity. Your perspective is vital to turning something negative into a positive. What did you learn? Do a quick analysis or journal entry of the action you took, the results of your action, and what you can apply from this situation to avoid repeating it or making similar missteps.
7. Keep your attitude steady. There will be days that your progress feels too slow or you question if your effort is worth it. If what you are attempting was easy, you would have already done it! I find that journaling keeps my attitude balanced. If I’m feeling a bit low, I read previous entries in my journal, gaining strength from times when I felt capable or happy with the progress I’d made. Have a plan to boost your spirits when the journey wears on you.
8. Keep going. Your best life is calling. Stay focused on what your life can be like and keep moving toward that possibility. What lies on the other side of your challenges will make the tough times worthwhile.
Make sure you get the Journal Prompts download for these three articles on PERSPECTIVE. It’s free and covers the Benefits, Mindsets and Seeing ourselves in a New light in Perspective Article one, Discerning the type of perspective that will work best for you in Perspective Article two, and the value of Self-perspective in this Article three. Make sure you access all the Roundabout Hero articles including three on Position, and look for three more articles on Life Purpose to successfully exit your roundabout.
We overcome our limiting beliefs by challenging them.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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