I did a Thursday Thought recently entitled “A Perspective Twist”. The thought came about from a conversation I had had with my husband on our summer hiking trip: what would 2002 Julia think about 2022 Julia?? Over the course of my life, I have looked forward, and I have looked backward too, but rarely had I looked backward to look forward! 😉 And it was a really interesting new perspective. I had some significant insights into my life over the past 20 years; insights I hadn’t had before.
And that perspective seemed to strike a nerve with others too. That Thursday Thought generated a lot of conversation, comments, and dialogue – exactly what I hope for when posting my thoughts!
Which got me thinking about what perspectives we have in our lives. What lenses we view the world through on a regular basis. For example, in Mary Ann Sieghart’s brilliant, must-read book, The Authority Gap, she writes that “On average, women read roughly 50:50 books by men and by women. For men, the ratio is 80:20.” Men, in this case, are getting their perspective largely from other men.
But it has been definitively proven that diversity of thought brings more creativity, smarter decision-making, reduced turnover in corporations, better problem-solving, and a host of other advantages. Yet how much of our regular life is influenced by diverse thought and different perspectives?
So this week, let’s dive into just that! New perspectives, and hopefully new thoughts, ideas, and knowledge!
PERSPECTIVE: WORKING FROM HOME…
I greatly admire Malcolm Gladwell and his way of exploring new perspectives. This interview with Dan Harris on the 10 Percent Happier podcast was a fascinating discussion. Gladwell is particularly eloquent in this episode, describing seeing some of his endeavours as a journalist from a new perspective and the humility of that lesson. He also offers a fascinating viewpoint on why we shouldn’t do away with working together in the office altogether: we learn from each other, and while perhaps you are at a stage in your career where you are happier working solo, you may be depriving someone else (someone potentially at an earlier stage of their career) of the learning they would have by working with and collaborating with you in person. That was an argument for office work I hadn’t thought of before. A new perspective!
PERSPECTIVE: DIFFERENT PROCESSES…
How often have you felt you weren’t doing things “the right way”?? We can easily get sucked into the false belief that there is only one right way to do things. Want to be productive? Use the Pomodoro Technique! Want to be a successful leader? Get up at 5am! Want to have mental health? Meditate!
But of course, there are as many ways to do things as there are people. What is right for you might not be right for me! As I mentioned in the last newsletter on Productivity, I am a morning person – getting up early to get things done works so much better for me than working late. My husband is the opposite. And that’s okay! My process isn’t his process.
This podcast on Different Processes highlights exactly that perspective. We shouldn’t necessarily blindly imitate those we admire, because what makes them good at what they do is their process, not ours.
It seems self-explanatory that tools should be constructed for us, not us constructed for tools, don’t you think?? And yet, that is so rarely the case!
Did you know, for example, that when pianos were first invented, they came in a range of sizes? Just as violins, and flutes, and other instruments have different sizes, pianos were constructed to fit the player. Cool concept, right? Except at some point in the late 1800s, pianos became a standard size. So that nowadays “the standard piano keyboard is too big for 87 per cent of women and 25 per cent of men”?? What a loss of potential talented pianists, just because their instrument is the wrong size. Isn’t that a strange perspective?
PERSPECTIVE: SKILLS AUDIT…
One of the areas we rarely see from a different perspective is our own strengths. Sure, we’ve all answered the “what are your top 3 strengths?” question in an interview, and hopefully you do know that you have a few more strengths than that! But as Gill Whitty-Collins so convincingly states in her interview on the Story of Woman podcast, “They [the 7% of women CEOs] all knew from really early in their lives and their careers, they knew their strengths. They knew their superpowers. They knew what they were good at, and they leveraged it.”
So how do we go about getting a different perspective on our strengths? One way is to do a Skills Audit! Sit down and literally start making a list of all the skills you possess. It will definitely be a much longer list than you anticipate now!
Another option is to do a professional Skills Audit. I absolutely love this concept and it’s on my Wish List for this year. To really get a broader and deeper perspective of where my strengths lie. We (well primarily women) spend so much time concentrating on our weaknesses, and not nearly enough on what our strengths are and how we can leverage them!
WHAT I’M READING…
Years ago I started a virtual book club on Facebook. As an avid reader, I love having friends to discuss books with, and also to get new book recommendations. The virtual book group is an absolute treasure trove of book suggestions!! And I know that if someone in that group recommends a book, I’m almost certainly going to like it.
The fun part of that is that I’ve discovered many books through this group that I would not have picked up on my own! And so it was when someone recommended Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. It’s the story of two friends who meet as tweens in a hospital and bond over their shared love of video games. The pair go on to become video game programmers and build one of the world’s most successful video game companies.
Now as someone who never really played video games, this doesn’t really sound like a story I’d be into. But it was SO good. Zevin does an absolutely masterful job of creating beautifully 3-dimensional characters whose story engages and captures your interest. The video game plot line is surprisingly interesting, and the friendship between Sam and Sadie is so real. You can really empathise with each of the characters – their decisions, their misunderstandings, their motivations. It was wonderfully realistic, and I found it a great read.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO…
Given the theme of this week’s newsletter, I am going in a new direction on my Listening recommendation this week too! I listen almost exclusively to podcasts and audiobooks, but my sister introduced me to a phenomenal artist by the name of Maggie Rogers. Her album, Surrender, is incredible. Like insanely good. It’s been on constant repeat for weeks! Absolutely brilliant. I love every song!! So that’s a new listening perspective: music instead of words! 😉
I had a fantastic two-day visit to Rome this week to give a workshop on creating a professional growth and development plan. It was far too short a visit to such a historic city, but the workshop was wonderful!
Kind of hard to believe that it is October starting on Saturday!! Not sure how that happened?! 😉
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!