“Perception like possession, is nine tenths of the law”
I was talking with my Sister-in-Law about the power of perception and the fact that our perception quite simply becomes our reality. We all believe that we live in a real-world, a world based in reality, and yet the truth is that we all live in a world of perception, of perspectives, each of them different. Mine, yours, your families, the person next to you, the person you work alongside.
All of us have a slightly different perspective. Our perception of what is going on becomes our reality. Perception like possession is nine-tenths of the law. If we perceive it to be true, it will be true. It simply becomes our reality. Having learned this, I have been able to use a straightforward technique to help me to change my perception and in changing my attitude, changing my reality and that is what I want to share with you.
Learning to change my perception
I first learned this when I was working at Sage. I was Head of Sales for the UK, a fairly big job, and I was going through a real period of self-doubt. I was struggling with my inner imposter. My Imposter Syndrome was at its height, and I was scarily fighting for control. I went to my coach and spoke to them about how I was feeling and that I was struggling with an overwhelming sense that I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t a good leader, that I wasn’t good enough.
They asked me a few questions that made me think. The first was ‘Why do you feel like that?’. I thought about it, and I couldn’t think of anything, I just knew that was how I felt, I couldn’t explain it, it was just how I felt. They asked me another question – ‘What facts are there to support my perception?’. It was a difficult question, so I gave it more thought, and I couldn’t think of any.
They asked me ‘What facts are there that disprove my perspective? That maybe made it not true?’ Again, I gave it some thought, and I couldn’t think of anything. So, he gave me his three facts.
– I had just won Leader of the Year
– I had the most engaged team – my employee survey had just come back, and I had the highest score in the company (the score was above the 5-year aspiration for the company
– I had just hit my third consecutive quarter of double-digit growth
When faced with his three facts, I found myself struggling to not agree with his perspective and not to make that my reality and so I did, and I chose his viewpoint.
Three simple questions to help you reframe
We all hit a wall and run into situations where our confidence is challenged. When you hit a similar wall, you can ask yourself the following three questions.
– Why do you feel like that?
– What facts are there to support my perception?
– What facts are there that disprove my perspective? That maybe make it not entirely true.
By asking these three questions, you can first understand how and why you feel as you do. You build on this with any facts or evidence that support your current thinking – this is where we usually stop as we are almost predisposed to only look for the evidence to support our thinking.
We are a culture that makes decisions on emotion and then look for facts to quantify our choices. By asking the final question, we push ourselves to see a full picture, our view and any opposing view, and in doing so, we open ourselves up to different perspectives.
The results can change your world
So, now when I find myself really struggling, really facing that self-doubt, I ask myself the same three questions.
Why do I feel like that? What facts are there to support that perspective and what facts are there that disprove that perspective? In those three questions, I can find my reality, and I can see my new viewpoint, which enables me to move forward positively and achieve my goals.
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