By Lisa Slayton, reprinted from The Tamim Journey.
This is the sixth in a series.
It has been a while since I have posted-nearly 3 months- with a big project and some family obligations to tend to, I needed to step back from writing for a bit. And I left you hanging in the disruptive season! My apologies! But I am back and will finish the series before the summer is over; there will be 3 or 4 more articles including this one.
A small shift in perspective is often all you require to gain the new insight needed to get unstuck and make a small but significant shift.
Years ago I abandoned making useless new years resolutions, and instead opted to choose a word or two to guide me through the year. One year the word a chose was ‘perspective’. I had it on a yellow sticky on my computer and in a few other strategic places and every time I thought i knew enough to make a decision or move a plan forward, I was reminded that I would benefit from gaining a bigger or broader perspective.
Perspective Definition (full definition Merriam Webster)
1 a: mental view or prospect
b: a visible scene especially : one giving a distinctive impression of distance
2 a: the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed
b: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance trying to maintain my perspective
3: the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions
As we emerge from the season of disruption, we have let go of attachments to things that no longer serve us and we have suffered some grief and loss, there is light that starts to shine through. The perspective of the caterpillar is focused and narrow. It is on what is right in front of him, the leaf and the impulse to eat and eat. In the chrysalis that impulse is consumed and digested, and the new impulses are just being formed as the butterfly emerges. Its wings are starting to take shape, its eyes, its antenna and legs. All designed to give it new perspective and new purpose.
It can be quite tempting to look back and hang on to the old things. The old way of doing, seeing and being. But if we can shift our vision ever so slightly we can begin to gain the needed perspective to become something new, something more, even better
Years ago I came across this photo of camels in the desert. If you look quickly, it seems clear that the camels are the large shapes in the sand.
But look more closely. Where are the camels really? How often are we certain that we know exactly what we are looking at, when in fact if we would just slow down and examine the object, situation or opportunity more closely, we would see something quite different.
The ability to gain perspective is quite powerful. The good news is that it does not only come after a long season of confusion and disruption. We can access perspective anytime and anywhere if we are willing to slow down and step back from the press of the moment. A few simple questions can help here:
- What is missing that if it were present would help me see this situation more clearly?
- What am I most curious about?
- What is keeping me stuck?
- What do I need to learn, unlearn or re-learn?
These same questions will serve us well coming out of the longer, more challenging disruptive chrysalis season too. The world as we know it has been forever changed, but we are not yet quite certain how to comprehend what we now see and experience. Asking these questions of ourselves and of a few close trusted friends can make all the difference as we begin to make sense of the new world we are now occupying.
This series was started early in 2022 to address what we perceived as a missing piece in the #TheBigQuit phenomenon taking place in the work world. It has been fascinating to watch it unfold over the last 6 months or so as it has morphed into the #theGreatRegret and #theGreatReshuffle. Many people who jumped quickly from one job to another seeking more meaning or purpose in their work are now discovering that the new job, location or situation is no more purposeful or fulfilling than the last.
And what (or who) is the common denominator between the old job and the new? They are.
Without doing the heavy lifting and hard inner vocational work, dissatisfaction may follow them wherever they go.
As a wonderful mentor said to me many years ago: “I bring my calling, my fulfillment, my sense of purpose to my work. I do not expect my work to provide me with those things.”
I chose the word Perspective at the start of 2013 and that word held me tight for several years. It taught me quite a lot. Perhaps the most important lesson was that all my efforts would never give me God’s perspective. And I learned that I could trust Him. That He could see what I could not, and that he had it well in hand.
Next time we will explore the paradigm shift season as we move towards the closing of the series where we integrate the journey of (trans) formation and vocation.