This post is all about seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. And no, I’m not talking about empathy. I think empathy is powerful and important, but I want to push you to look through someone else’s eyes for a different reason.
Instead, this idea is about shifting your perspective and trying to see the world through the eyes of a person who doesn’t have the same limiting beliefs as you.
You may want to read that again.
See the world through the eyes of a person who doesn’t have the same limiting beliefs as you.
When I run a workshop that uses the immunity to change approach, one of the goals is to uncover our assumptions and beliefs that influence our behaviour. For example, Dan may uncover a belief that if he puts himself out there, he will look foolish.
So, Dan is not putting himself out there, and of course not. He doesn’t want to look foolish. That’s not a good feeling at all.
But, we know that never putting yourself out there is really limiting.
Beliefs Act Like a Lens
We all view the world through different lenses. It’s like we all have a pair of glasses on that change how we see. That’s how glasses work. They alter our vision.
Beliefs are the same way. They alter how we see the world.
So what if we try on someone else’s glasses as an experiment?
Let’s use the earlier example. Dan isn’t putting himself out there since he believes he might look foolish. Dan’s best friend Karen, however, has no issue putting herself out there regularly. Whether in her personal life meeting new people or at work with sharing her ideas.
How would Dan act if he “borrowed” his best friend’s perspective? Would he introduce himself to a new person? Would he speak up at the next meeting? Yes. He would. Because Karen doesn’t believe putting herself out there will make her look foolish.
Karen knows not everyone will like her or her ideas, but her experiences over time have taught her it’s okay, and nothing horrible will happen when she puts herself out there.
If Dan starts to see the world through Karen’s eyes, he might step a bit further out of his comfort zone and see what happens. Chances are, he’ll come to find it’s not so bad.
And what if one of the times he puts himself out there he does look a bit foolish. Maybe he repeats an idea that was already said moments earlier by another person. He was so nervous to speak up that he wasn’t paying close attention. So, yes, he may look a little foolish, but so what? Is it a dealbreaker? Or, does everyone move on and barely think about it afterwards?
Dan may realize the benefit of putting himself out there more often outweighs the rare occasion when it doesn’t go quite right. He starts to become more resilient, like Karen.
Whose Glasses Would You Borrow?
Maybe you aren’t even sure what lens you are wearing – you don’t quite know what your limiting beliefs are. But, there is a good chance you know whose glasses you would want to borrow.
Think of those people who are out there doing the things you wish you could do. You see them acting without reservation, and struggle to picture yourself doing the same. It means you are wearing different glasses. You see the world differently. You believe something bad will happen if you act the same way.
So what is the negative consequence you believe might happen if you act the same way?
That’s your limiting belief.
That’s the belief that is holding you back. And that other person you are watching – they don’t share that belief. Or, if they do, they have a more powerful belief that even if the negative consequence happens, they will still be okay.
How would you act if you were wearing their glasses?
Try it. Act like someone who doesn’t have your limiting belief. See what happens. Then really pay attention. Chances are, you come out just fine on the other side. Maybe you realize it’s time to throw out your old lenses.
Maybe you will have taken the steps that take you closer to who you want to be. But first, you have to try.