Alternate Reality: Trump, Clinton, or Your Ex-Spouse?

debateAs I watched the first presidential debate and the ensuing commentary, I began to analyze the human dynamic unfolding before me. What I saw was an exaggerated, dramatic, extreme example of what is part of our human nature and what I notice in particular with my divorcing clients.

Here it is in a nutshell: We see what we want to see, not necessarily what actually is. Just as we see whichever candidate we support as preforming better and telling the truth, we see our own reality as the accurate one in contrast to whomever we are disagreeing with. The higher the stakes, the more tunnel vision develops. Whether in politics or in a personal feud, our perception is often too black and white and not nuanced as the truth actually is.

In following the post-debate commentary, I noticed that depending upon who is reporting and who is viewing, even seemingly objective measures completely conflict based upon human perception, including fact checks and polls. Similarly, each divorcing client brings forth evidence of his/her perspective which is believed to be compelling and indisputable by that client and his/her supporters.

Let’s take this phenomenon a step further into the post-divorce world of dating and in fact, into the entire sphere of “looking for love.” Here as well, we see what we want to see during our initial dates and not necessarily what in fact exists. For example, when we are in the throes of physical attraction and our own needs and desires, we often dismiss our inner voice in favor of the reality that we wish to create, ultimately leading to disappointment when the truth reveals itself.  This phenomenon often brings clients to coaching due to frustration with the dating experience.

So, what can each of us take home from this debate experience and its dramatic expression of human nature? Let’s each make an effort to be more conscious of our tendencies to see what we want to see when we are evaluating politics, relationships, or another person’s perspective. Let’s keep in mind that almost nothing is purely black or white, no matter how clearly we initially see it that way. Let’s check in with ourselves around our own “alternate reality” so that we can make wiser and more insightful choices in all aspects of our lives; political, personal, and professional. If we don’t become more conscious of our human tendencies to see only what we want to see, aren’t we really becoming more like the supporters of whichever presidential candidate we are criticizing?

Getting Comfortable Not Knowing

smiling student with blank text bubbleWhile engaged in conversation, we appropriately ask questions, and then we listen to the answers. The key issue is, when we listen, do we already have a predetermined hypothesis as to what the answer will be? Have we already formulated a guess, an assumption, or a judgement as to the reply that will come our way? As a result, have we prematurely tuned out of the listening process?

One of the most powerful lessons that experience has taught me in coaching my clients is that when I ask questions, I strive to consciously clear my mind of any expectation about what the answer might be. I have learned repeatedly, that in doing so, I consistently hear answers that I would not have imagined on my own. If I had predicted the answers, I would have clouded my understanding of what the client was trying to explain. As a result of my expectations not being injected, clients express themselves more freely, accurately, and effectively and this type of communication is extremely empowering to them.

The same is true in all of our day to day conversations, professionally and personally. Whether we are conversing with a brand new acquaintance or a long term friend, when we give the gift of that open space for listening to whatever the answer may be, we in turn give ourselves the gift of learning more than we ever could have if we had allowed our own expectations and forecasts to cloud the process.

If you  try consciously injecting this method into your discussions, you are likely to find more engaged clients, more interested social contacts, and much newer, fresher, and richer information than would have been possible before. So begin learning and mastering this technique today, and watch your rapport and connection deepen and expand in a satisfying and transformative way.

Contact Heidi at Reinvention Life Coaching for one to one coaching to expand upon this and other communication skills or for a customized presentation for your group, board, or organization.

Change Your Lens to Change Your Life

Young businessman looking through magnifying glass isolated on white

The lens through which you see the world and through which you view your experiences is a crucial variable in what you achieve in your life. If you look at your surroundings through a blue lens, you will see absolutely everything as blue, but if you switch to a yellow lens, suddenly everything is yellow. What lens might you be viewing your world through? How is the lens that you are choosing coloring your life?

In what aspects of your life is your lens tinting your experience with a touch of victim mentality which may include hopelessness or guilt? Where in your life are the anger, conflict, and resentment lenses causing you to blame other people or situations for what blocks you from your goals?

The great news is that you can change your experience by consciously selecting a different lens. What type of lens would ignite positive change at work and at home? What would it be like to view the world through the lens of complete responsibility for your reactions without taking things personally? How might a lens in which you see collaborative opportunity in everything around you change your experiences?  What about a lens in which you see ways to give genuinely to others wherever you look or you view acceptance and nonjudgment everywhere? How about seeing the world through a lens of inner wisdom and intuition? Imagine switching back and forth between those lenses throughout the day to really experience being “in your natural flow” professionally and personally; when you’re just effortlessly connecting, creating, and expressing your talents and gifts.

Instead of your reactions overtaking you, what would it be like for you to shift your energy and consciously select the reaction that would suit each particular situation and relationship best? The powerful choice of lenses is yours.

The first step towards selecting the lens that will feel best for you is to become aware of the lens that you are currently utilizing in each situation. So, you will need to pause and observe yourself with honest self-reflection. One of the crucial keys to this process is learning how to take that powerful pause versus automatically reacting through your predominant lens. Some ways to create and utilize this pause are: Take a deep breath, commit to doing nothing at all for a moment, and ask yourself if your reaction is typical for you and what could be a different response. This process might require restricting the most reactive parts of you.

Now that you have enabled the possibility of choice, you will need to familiarize yourself with what it feels like to use various other lenses. Draw upon past experience, experimentation, and a vision of a more centered you for this process. As you experiment with each lens, evaluate the results in terms of your feelings, your stress level, your level of engagement, and the degree in which you accomplish your goal.

If you really want to ignite sustainable positive change in your life for this New Year, choose your glasses purposefully and keep them on consciously, even when the glare of another bright color threatens to overtake your field of vision. Toss your victim and anger glasses aside for now and pick up a new pair of lenses that support a more empowered and successful perspective. Then take meaningful steps to create the new year and the life that is truly what you desire.

*Concepts are based upon Bruce D. Schneider’s “Energy Leadership Index” from iPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching)

*Interested in a more individualized opportunity to benefit from these transformative concepts in your personal or professional life? Contact Heidi Krantz at www.reinventionlifecoaching.com to schedule a unique Energy Leadership Index Assessment and Debrief designed for you, your organization, or your team, and experience the powerful results of changing your lens.