Want greater control at work? Shift your lens!

October 28, 2017 Glenn Case

Today's workplace can be a demanding environment. We are often asked to do more with less, required to work in larger, cross-functional teams that brings with it interpersonal challenges, or forced to deal with external change and uncertainty. 

All of this change and associated emotion can make one feel strained, adrift and powerless.

So, how do you regain a measure of control over your environment? Perhaps, even, become a positive change agent for others around you? Here are four suggestions to help...

1. Pinpoint your mindset

Consider the following: it is your perspective, not you circumstances, that define your experience. You may want to read that one again. In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the influence that life's experience and learning have had in creating our world-view - the Dream of the Planet, as he calls it - and in determining our actions. Understanding that we are pre-programmed, so to speak, is the starting point to positive change. One must first recognize this overarching perspective before actions can be taken to change it.

Ask yourself - what lens am I looking through? There are many dis-empowering perspectives that can lead to a feeling of frustration, negativity and dissatisfaction at work. Some common examples include:

Polarized thinking - looking at the world in black and white terms

Personalization - viewing the situation as a personal affront

Filtering - focusing on only the negative aspects in your situation

Taking a honest look at your current perspective and determining if it is one that disempowers you is a great place to start. If you feel a victim in any way in your situation, it is likely you are harbouring a disempowering perspective.

2. Reframe your perspective

If you have isolated a perspective that takes control out of your hands, challenge yourself to see things differently. Ask yourself, "What's another way of approaching this?" If, for example, you find yourself placing blame on another person for how you're feeling, what would it feel like to take responsibility? This doesn't mean you are taking full responsibility for the situation - simply, you are acknowledging that you can play a part in its resolution. Once you take it back to yourself, you now have regained a measure of control. How might this influence how you feel about things?

Another often eye-opening question to build self-awareness: "What if what I believe is an assumption and not a fact? " How often our worldview, beliefs and behaviours are governed not by fact, but by assumption! Think about it!

3. Lighten your load

Having isolated a limiting perspective and challenged yourself to looking at things through a more positive lens, you are on your way to regaining the control you rightly deserve. Removing focus - or significance - from the negative is the beginning of lightening the load that is weighing you down.

Mindfulness practice can also help you to recognize in the moment behaviours or thought processes that are holding you back. Interrupting the negative self-talk feedback loop that we humans find ourselves in can be an effective means of instigating change.

Meditation can also be helpful. In the calm and stillness that meditation provides, we tap into those places where solutions reside. After all, we all hold within us our own answers to the challenges before us.

And, by the way, give yourself gratitude for who you are and what you have. And acknowledge what you contribute to your company, to your family, to the world. Expressing gratitude and acknowledgement can have a powerful impact on how you view the world around you.

4. Set a clear intention

What is your vision for success, for a more fulfilling work experience? What does great look like when it comes to your job and your life?

There is power in being clear on what you want to change, why change is important, and what it will feel like when you get there. Not only is a clear vision empowering in itself, it acts as a guide along the path to keep you focused.

And, don't forget to ask for help. 

You have people around you only too willing to support you along the journey. Having an objective viewpoint can be a potent ally in your quest for self-empowerment. A trusted manager or other colleague is a great place to start, or an external coach that can offer full objectivity.

As your perspective and attitude changes, you will notice so too that of others around you. You will find that your growing sense of self-empowerment is now creating an external wave of positivity impacting others.

Glenn Case is a Success and Leadership Coach focused on guiding others to career success and overall fulfillment. He can be contacted at change@glenncasecoaching.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/glenncase. 

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