A Matter of Perspective


“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

-Maria Robinson

2011 has delivered an annoyingly slow start to spring .  Most everything in my garden is 3 weeks behind.  Last week I was in Ottawa.  It was supposed to be the start of the Ottawa Tulip Festival.  This year, the festival has the particular distinction of being bloom challenged.  The weather has resulted in no blooming way from the tulips perspective!

Similarly, reports from the west coast are even more soggy than usual.   The prairies are experiencing record floods and weather patterns worldwide seem a little out of sorts.  These events combined with the end of the world doomsday reports signal what could be a very discouraging time to be living on the planet.

It got me to thinking about perspective and how the world around us and our perception of it, informs our daily lives and our attitudes.  Not surprisingly, this theme came up in the course of a coaching conversation.  The conversation was about  living your passion.   This particular client is passionate about nature.    The focus of the conversation was transition which incorporated discussions on change, challenge, fear and loss.

At some point in the discussion, my client began to describe a nature walk that she had recently participated in.  She described the leader of the walk as being so focused on the plant life, which was interesting and beautiful enough, that she was completely blind to the wildlife all around her.  The singular focus, by the nature walk leader, eventually led my client to “ditch” the tour so that she could focus more actively on the abundant  and exciting wildlife.    I jokingly interjected, as we continued the conversation, that it was my observation  that she had a tendency to be more “Fauna than Flora.”

That one statement resonated and brought into focus the struggle that had been plaguing my client. The search for answers based on doing the “right thing”, the “best thing”, the “practical thing”, the “planned thing” had led to a one dimensional view of an issue and had hidden the other endless and wonderful opportunities that were all around.  Much like that nature walk guide, when we focus our attention too much on one thing we don’t see the beauty in other things that can also inform our world and our choices.

While it’s great to be focused it’s important to remain open to both the “Flora and the Fauna”  Perception, after all, is fluid and can change depending on time, location and state of mind.  “Autumn or Spring” really does depend on which hemisphere you reside in.

Time to ask yourself some important questions:

  • Is your focus well balanced?  Do you see all possibilities?
  • Do you allow for other ideas or input to challenge the status quo?
  • Can you be open to change if all indicators are pointing to a new direction?
  • Can you freely decide to “ditch” the current tour if the interest and passion  is taking you in a new direction?
  • Just because you accepted the original plan do you have to remain dedicated to it if it isn’t meeting your current needs?
  • Is it time to step back and check if you’re heading in the right direction and adjust course if necessary?

I know that spring will come and that the tulips will soon bloom in Ottawa.  I know that the floods will recede and the land will recover and provide again.  I know that the “end of the world” will come around to challenge us again in 2012.  Experience has provided me  a certainty about these things.

I can’t control any of it but I can take comfort in the pasts ability to inform the present.  It is with this knowledge that I have had the courage to step up and reinvent myself when reinvention was the only solution.  I know I can change course when I need to.  I know that I will always find new things to challenge and inform my focus. I know that not everything will happen as it always has and that change offers new opportunity for growth and renewal, even after the most devastating of times. If we stay open to all that is around us then opportunity is always a companion.

After all perspective is really just a fluid marker of time, space and place, isn’t it?  You get to decide for yourself.