being lawyers · leadership · professional life

Power of Perspective

Recently, the good ol’ socials shared with me a really interesting (and funny!) TED Talk video. It was about an inventor who liked building robots but would regularly “fail” (see my earlier post on Failing for that ol’ chestnut!). This inventor purposefully changed her way of thinking about her ‘failures’ with her robotics, and instead decided to explain ‘why you should make useless things’ and set out to ‘fail’ at making these crazy robots every day. This way, she considered, she would enjoy a 100% success rate. She changed her perspective when approaching her projects.

It got me thinking about perspectives and how powerful (and sometimes debilitating!) they can be and how we hold the key to opening the door for growth and our own self care.

perspective (noun)

‘a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view’

attitude (noun)

‘a settled way of thinking or feeling about something’

Looking at these definitions, I see one thing in common; it’s internal. Your perspective and attitude are both things that are internalised which means, you control them. You choose to either accept or reject a perspective or attitude, because they are within you, they are in your control.

Considering this in practice, our clients, our colleagues all have different perspective. They are driven, encouraged and grown from their own background, experiences (good and bad) and will ALWAYS be different to yours.  This does not mean, however, that they are wrong or right; they’re just different. I think it is fair to think that some people acquaint the word “different” with some form of negativity; I challenge that. Being different comes with it’s own motivations and creativity. Imagine if we were all the same and how dull life would be. We wouldn’t have the intensely inspiring debate that we have in our Courts, nor be inspired by the great legal minds we have had the privilege of enjoying in our justice system (#KirbyFanForLife).

Changing your perspective, even for a short duration, can mean the difference between being a barrier and a solution. Our clients may have had difficult experiences in their life with lawyers. Maybe they feel they have really struggled with communication with their last lawyer and that has created trust issues, or maybe they didn’t get the outcome they thought just. That will change their perspective on engaging with us. It may mean that we have to work a little harder to ‘win them over’, but it also means that you have the power to change their perspective and attitude toward the legal profession as a whole. That is powerful stuff.

Conversely, you can change your own perspective or attitude toward a situation in your work environment. Your colleague may be quiet, introverted and not outwardly spoken as other colleagues; this may be perceived by others as being unsocial or uninterested or even rude. But, is it? Your attitude toward someone harbouring those traits may be wrongfully conceived (and that’s OK, we are human and we make mistakes) and now, it’s up to you to learn more and possibly correct that ‘settled way of thinking or feeling’ and changing your perspective of that colleague which may change your perspective of your workplace for you, your quiet colleague and maybe even the entire workplace by creating a more inclusive workplace. That is powerful stuff.

Next time you face a challenge, consider the perspectives being adopted. Learning about and taking different perspectives is incredibly powerful stuff. All you need is an open mind.

As Simone Giertz, the inventor who makes useless things, says “The true beauty of making useless things [is] this acknowledgement that you don’t always know what the best answer is. It turns off that voice in your head that tells you that you know exactly how the world works. Maybe a toothbrush helmet isn’t the answer, but at least you’re asking the question.’

You are not always going to know the answer, but at least you are asking the question.


Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash with grateful thanks.

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