- On April 13, 2018
Have you ever been to the optometrist to get fitted for new glasses? Staring at the eye chart, you strain to assess magnification acuity.
“Which one is better? Lens A?” Click. “or B?” Click. “A?” Click. “or B?”
What if we used this idea and looked at the world through a different lens every day?
I often get so busy with Things To DO, I forget about how I want to BE. We lead such busy lives, crammed with expectations, deadlines, obligations, responsibilities, and just plain old information overload.
Yet I’ve noticed that even as I check off the To DOs, at the end of the day I can often feel more bereft than accomplished. Yes, I’ve cranked out tasks, but have I really come closer to how I aspire to BE in this world? You know, things like confident, generous, kind, optimistic, appreciative.
I’ve been trying a new exercise for the last couple of months—My “BE” Lens of the Week.
Every week I pick out a word, something aspirational that reflects how I’d like to BE, how I’d like other people to experience me. I write that word on a post-it near my computer and mark it in a bright bold marker at the top of my daily To DO list. The intention is that I will use that word as a lens and notice what happens.
My word this week is “Gracious”. What shifts for me or others if I bring “Gracious” to my next meeting, my next phone call, my next email note? What shifts when I look through the lens of “Gracious” when I talk to my husband, my family, my friends? I’ve noticed that I feel more confident when I look through the lens of Gracious. And more open to trying to understand what other people have to say.
A few weeks ago, “Curious” was my “BE” word. That was an amazing week! My word was a reminder to suspend judgment, so I could see differently. I learned so much by asking questions out of curiosity, instead of assuming what had been said was all there was to the story. I had two powerful interactions that week and I doubt they would have happened with that much impact if I had engaged with my normal task-oriented focus.
Coming at things with a lens of Curiosity creates a different focus from the lens of Gracious. Both impacts are valuable to notice. For me, it is a way of getting in touch with the ‘true north’ of how I want to BE, and a good exercise to stretch emotional effectiveness and its impact on others. I still get things done, I just do it with a different lens and perhaps a different outcome.
If you are having trouble coming up with a positive lens to look through, here’s a link that includes a list of positive and professional attributes that will help you get started on stretching into how you want to BE. http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-attributes.html
What comes up for you when you focus on how you want to BE?
Photocredit: Luca Iaconelli at Unsplash.com/@luxdamore