We all see the world through certain lenses.

We didn’t necessarily choose our lenses, because it has a lot to do with encounters in early childhood and what we made those events mean.

In layman’s terms, our lenses can be summed up as confirmation bias.

Everywhere we go, everything we do, we’re always out to prove that our lenses are right – even when there’s no inherent value, advantage, or benefit.

My lens? That I don’t matter.

I came face to face with this lens today, while in conversation with my coach. And I can see its presence everywhere. What I didn’t notice before, I now see clearly, and I can’t un-see it.

I can see that I’ve gone through life with this lens and have only found more and more reasons to confirm it with every new task, program, project, business, community, or relationship I take on. I’ve collected a mountain of evidence for my lens.

In the coming weeks, I will be disappearing this lens with my coach.

What lens is running your life? What have you collected a mountain of evidence for?

Once you see it, you won’t be able to un-see it.

But to be free of it, first we need to see it.

You Can Never Know

You Can Never Know

What it’s like to be another person.

You judge them based on their appearance, what they say, how they do life. And you form your impression of them.

I’m not talking about the cleaned up, G rated version of how you talk about them.

I’m talking about the way you judge people as if you were god himself:

“They’re ugly.”

“They’re slow and stupid. Are they even capable of learning?”

“I don’t like them – I wish they would die.”

Don’t look at me with self-righteous eyes. I know you’re thinking these things too.

Are you a horrible person for thinking these things? That’s not the point.

The point is that your thoughts, opinions, and judgements are emanating from a single source – you. They aren’t coming from anywhere else.

Sure, sometimes you agree with others and their opinions. But all opinions you hold as true are your own. You can’t shirk responsibility.

What you hold as “truth” is fundamentally just a perspective.

I know you want to hold on dearly to what you call truth. But it’s not truth. It’s just your version of truth.

So, you simply can’t know what it’s like to be in another’s shoes.

We say to “walk a mile in their shoes” but when it comes right down to it, it’s just grasping at straws.

Someone says they’re depressed. You think they can just think their way out of it or go do something to feel better.

But if you’ve experienced depression, you know it doesn’t work that way.

You will never know what it’s like to be in anyone else’s shoes.

So, are your judgments warranted?

Maybe you could begin listening from understanding, or compassion, or opportunity. Maybe that would change the relationship.

The reality is, you can listen to others from any space. It’s your choice.

But don’t assume that you’re always right. Don’t take truth for granted. Don’t pretend to know what something is like if you haven’t experienced it yourself.

Instead, become curious and seek to understand. You can’t claim to be empathetic if you don’t at least put in the bare minimum amount of effort required.

What’s in the Way?

What’s in the Way?

Know it or not, there is something holding you back. Something all-pervasive. It’s been with you since you were young. And the longer you’ve lived with it, the more you’ve accepted it as the status quo. It’s the predominant way you view the world, and because of that, the results you get in life are largely determined by it. You may step outside of it on occasion, but like a momentary lapse, it never takes.

This is the lens through which you view life.

The lens through I which I view the world is something along the lines of:

The world is unsafe, and I’m not important.

Your lens is probably some other flavor of the same ice cream.

I’ve been sitting with this lens since yesterday when I had a conversation about it with my coach. I’ve been reflecting on the impact that this has had on my life.

Now, it’s easy to say, “it impacts everything,” and that would be true. But I’m also looking specifically at how it has impacted me. Without becoming present to its full impact, it’s hard to cause completion with it. And if I don’t cause completion with it, I will continue to live with the impact.

One thing I started to see was that this lens a) stops me from asking, or b) stops me from making powerful asks. Not always, and not every time. But much of the time.

Imagine a life restricted by requests not made, as well as requests not made in a way that’s gotten by others, or requests made in a way that doesn’t land for the people being asked.

This has produced a lot of ambiguity in life.

I’ve come far on this journey, and I’ve accomplished a great deal. But most of that has come without the active participation and agreement of others.

I’m glad I’m in a leadership and management program that’s having me confront what’s in the way. Because I know I will ultimately be able to rise higher faster and with purpose if I’m fully unleashed in communication.

So, here are some questions for you:

  • What is your all-pervasive lens of the world?
  • What impact has this lens had on your life? Don’t just look at the surface level. Dig deep and discover specifically what’s there for you.
  • How has your life been restricted to this point? What opportunities have you missed? If you were fully self-expressed, where could you have made a difference? Who could you have contributed to? Get present to the many ways you have been stopped in life.
  • Would you like to cause completion with this lens? Speculate on conversations you could have to drop your need to look good or avoid looking bad.

Take a moment to reflect.

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