A few months ago, when I caught myself buying into all of my woes and pains, as if the world was conspiring against me and me alone, I learned a powerful lesson that reminded me of what matters most. Turns out, I am not the sun and all the planets do not revolve around me. We are the same, you and I, and we’re lucky to have each day to connect, build relationships, coach, love, inspire, and work with passion and commitment.
Here’s where it started…
My son was at a play date and I promised the parent that I would come and get him as soon as my daughter got off of the school bus. Well, I was sitting at the bus stop in my car and as soon as the bus was 10 minutes late, I started with my first lament: “I didn’t even bring a book to read or my iPad. I’m seriously wasting time sitting here.”
I decided that I’d amuse myself browsing the Internet on my phone. I passed the time reading the top headlines about Kim Kardashian, Lance Armstrong and the Hunger Games. I was more than a little restless and annoyed when the bus was 30 minutes late. My second lament: “Ugh! I’m now going to be really late picking up my son. That mother must think I’m awful.”
After 40 minutes my phone rang and another mother let me know that the bus did not come to school to get the kids so they sent another bus. Our kids should show up at the bus stop about an hour after their regularly scheduled time. This is when I really threw myself into my final lament: “Not only am I late to get my son, and bored but also an hour late means I’m late to do homework with my daughter, get dinner on the table and the whole evening will be backed up.”
Clearly the world was conspiring against me and I was doomed to a crappy evening ahead.
The next day…
The next day I got a call from my daughter’s school guidance counselor. She informed me that the bus did not show up to school because earlier in the day the bus driver unexpectedly died. DIED. I had the privilege of being late and annoyed while her family was missing her and her unfinished life. Um, I think one of us had a worse day and it was not I.
Talk about getting a new perspective.
Time to refocus and get centered…
What a swift and powerful reminder that life is not against me… it’s just called living. The most powerful thing I can do is to get out of my self-absorbed world-view and make a CHOICE. I can choose happy. I can choose blessed. I can choose opportunity over adversity. You can too.
The self-centered leader believes that the world is there in service of them. Truth is, leaders serve their teams and their organizations every single day. Big egos aside, leaders have the most impact when they choose positive perspectives and make the choice to be centered, not self-centered. Scott Mabry put it so well when he wrote: “Leadership can only fill the space that your ego has surrendered.”
Choice is a conscious effort that’s worth it…
A few days later, stuck in traffic longer than expected, instead of cursing and getting frustrated I played spelling games with my children. We talked about our highs and lows of the day. I consciously choose the perspective of lucky and you know what? I was.
Ask yourself today…
– What perspective are you choosing today?
– Is it possible that you could be wrong about your situation or another person?
– What do you notice when you’re conscious about shifting your perspective?