Quick Tool for Perspective Shifts

You are not going to like everything you’re doing all day. You won’t like all the meetings, you won’t like all the tasks and you sure won’t like all the people you’re assigned to work with. This is real because nothing in life is perfect; even dream jobs have wrinkles.

I’m explicitly leaving aside Big Issues in this post. If you have Big Issues with something or someone in your job, a quick perspective shift will be a band-aid solution and this tool will seem shallow and silly. This tool’s purpose is to help you get through today because the ability to self-regulate and get work done even when you are a little bored by it is a very valuable thing.

Grab your notebook and scratch responses down to these prompts; I think it should only take about 5 minutes. Read through the examples before you try it so you get a feel for how it works.

Today’s topic (a meeting, a person, a task): ___________________________________________________________________________

Current perspective: ______________________________________________________

Desired perspective: _______________________________________________________

Three things I can do to get me ready for my desired perspective:

  1. ______________________________________
  2. ______________________________________
  3. ______________________________________

My first step is: ____________________________________________________________


Today’s topic: the stand-up happening this morning
Current perspective: I’m uninspired, low energy, dreading it
Desired perspective: I’m curious and looking forward to getting clarity on my projects
Three things I can do to get me ready for my desired perspective:

  1. Make a list of 3 things I want to learn in the meeting
  2. Find that spare notebook and my fancy pen
  3. Listen to good music for 10 minutes beforehand

My first step is: Press play on good music.

Today’s topic: my coworker, Joe
Current perspective: Joe is not welcoming, doesn’t share information easily when collaborating
Desired perspective: I got the information I needed from Joe
Three things I can do to get me ready for my desired perspective:

  1. List 5 things that I enjoy about this job.
  2. Set my intention to be straightforward with Joe; I need 2 pieces of info from him, that’s it.
  3. Write the 2 pieces of info I need from him on a post-it. Now I have a visual to wave at him during our Zoom meeting to suggest that I’m prepared to be efficient and direct.

My first step is: Grab a post-it, identify the info I need from Joe.

Today’s topic: figure out the 401k benefits for employees
Current perspective: This is so boring and it’s the least-favorite part of my job. 
Desired perspective: I got it done and helped our team plan for their futures.
Three things I can do to prepare me for my desired perspective:

  1. Find the phone number for the HR representative.
  2. Make tea in my favorite mug.
  3. Write the names of the employees who have been asking about it; put it next to my computer so I remember who I’m helping by doing this work.

My first step is: Get mug, put water on to boil.

Repeat, as-needed. And remember – if you’ve got a Big Issue happening with something at work, mustering the energy to get through it every day (day after day) is going to burn you the hell out. Big Issues require Big Explorations — those are best done via honest time alone or a manager/coach. Good luck!