If you stay rooted in your own opinions and have a narrow perspective on things, it can greatly limit your room to manoeuvre. Choosing to take a different view of a situation can greatly increase your choices and options about how to deal with it, increasing your confidence in dealing with potentially ‘difficult’ issues and relationships through a deeper understanding of what is going on. By having an all-round perspective, you can more easily identify the common ground where agreement and WIN/WIN solutions are likely to be found.
Consciously choose to take a different view
1. First Position: Your own thoughts, feelings and attitudes from your own perspective.
2. Second Position: Stepping into the other person/s shoes, seeing, hearing and feeling the world as if you are the other party.
3. Third Position: Metaphorically stepping outside of the relationship and seeing both parties as if you are an independent observer.
4. Fourth Position: Taking the ‘systems’ perspective. In other words noticing how this relationship is linked to other systems, and creates ripples and effects in them.
Here is a seven step exercise that will help you to practice changing your perspective on things.
1. Think about the situation from your own perspective.
- How do you see things?
- What do you think about the situation?
- What do you feel about it?
- What has been said by you / by others in the context of this situation?
2. Now step into the world of the other person and think about the situation from their perspective, from where they are, as if you are them (same questions a above).
3. Metaphorically step out of the situation and imagine you are an independent observer (helicopter view):
- What can you see / hear / feel about what is going on between the two parties below?
- Observe on the dynamics of the relationship.
4. Now return to your own position (being yourself) and note any new information or insights that may offer clues about solving the issue in ways that would work not just for you but for the other person involved as well.
5. If necessary repeat the process of being in second /third position.
6. Before taking action, play through any future consequences from the other person’s perspective as well as your own and readjust your plan if necessary.
7. If the situation involves more than one other party, you may need to repeat this whole process for each person or group of people.
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