“The lens that we put on will create the world that we see.”
Each day our experiences and interactions serve as layers that shape and create our perspective of and towards the world around us. We are constantly in a state of creating and recreating our reality…mentally disrupting our vision of the world around us.
It is this perspective, this frame of mind that we create, that eventually serves as a form of ‘mental glasses‘ from which we see and view the world. A lens that shades and colors our attitude and disposition towards our circumstances.
As a young man, I spent my summer vacations from high school and college working at a variety of jobs. Many of which were basic, manual labor positions…and very often in the extreme heat of the summer. Each of which provided the necessary funds to pull me through the school year to the next summer.
And while these positions payed well for a young man of my age…they were neither mentally stimulating or engaging…rather, they were very often mind-numbing, back-breaking work. Often providing too much time to ponder better ways of spending my summer vacations.
Too get through the drudgery of daily ditch digging…I had to create a different perspective, a new lens on how I viewed the work. I had to make the work more personally meaningful.
For that reason, I mentally chose to approach the job as a work out. A chance to improve myself physically…to increase my strength and stamina. Instead of digging a trench being a laborious task…it became a chance to strengthen my body. This mental mind-shift changed my entire demeanor towards the job and the work itself.
I found myself looking for opportunities to improve myself…jogging to the next task, volunteering for the difficult work…and I found myself feeling happier about my situation. And it showed. It just took a shift in my perspective and in my mental lens.
As leaders, we have to look for opportunities to pull back from our day to day work and examine our perspective, our mental lens…reflecting on our outlook and how we view what we are tasked to do or what we are facing in our lives.
We can use these opportunities to hone and refine ourselves and our leadership. To extract the opportunity in the task…to discover the diamond hiding in the coal.
To lead effectively, struggles and hardships will be faced…it is just a constant upon the leadership landscape. And while we don’t have to openly embrace our struggles, we can change our perspective, our mental lens, towards these trials and tribulations.
It requires a learner mindset.
Instead of approaching these trials and tribulations with a sense of dread…we can look to learn from these struggles. Instead of asking “Why me?” We learn to ask, “What can I learn from this experience?” “What do I need to take forward from this?” It is here that we forge leadership wisdom and strength…not in our successes, but in those struggles. It is in our struggles that we hone and refine ourselves and our leadership.
The learning is all but lost when we lack the right perspective or mental lens.
We have to be able to see the diamond in the coal. To see the opportunity in the task. To find the learning hidden within the struggle.
And when we do…
It brightens our outlook, lifts our spirit…and models for those you lead that the trials and tribulations we face, those difficult times, do not have to drag us down and destroy our spirit. Rather, they can serve to hone and improve us.
When we change our perspective, our mental lens. We can emerge on the other side of our struggles stronger than before…giving our leadership a sense of grit, resiliency, stamina, and strength of spirit.