How are things with you? I’m just returning from a holiday in the Forest of Dean, a self catering lodge in the middle of the forest. Loved it!
This was the third time we’d visited this same location and, completely by chance, we’ve been in Lodges 47, 45 and this time, 43… adjacent lodges, maybe 50 yards apart, overlooking “the same” piece of dense woodland. But was it?
On our visit to Lodge 47 our first encounter with wildlife was a nuthatch that swooped across our decking area to land on an adjacent tree. That visitor was the first of many nuthatches who spent their time creeping up (and down) the tree trunks and investigating any crumbs or seeds we left after meals. We grew very fond of them and familiar with their habits.
On our next visit to Lodge 45, the view of that same patch of woodland from our deck area seemed dominated by robins – they were everywhere, branches, posts and around the edge of our decking. They would sit for minutes at a time, proclaiming their presence and no doubt asserting their claim to territory – and I think, although we were just yards away from Lodge 47, we saw but a single nuthatch.
This time, from the deck of Lodge 43, a few shy robins patrol the trees but we are overwhelmed by wrens. Some we see, darting from branch to tree and into their little nesting hole but oh do we hear them, calling to each other – and not a nuthatch to be seen.
Have we lost our beloved nuthatches or is their territory restricted closely to the environs of Lodge 47?
I’m sad to say that I can’t answer that question for you but I can share some of my reflections on this.
On our first visit it seemed the woods were full of nuthatches. It never occurred to me that a neighbour just two doors down would swear they’d never seen a single one! We tend to believe our view point is so true, or common or sometimes even obvious – and maybe fail to realise how niche our outlook might be.
I was working with a coaching client on something similar recently. In a meeting at work she felt she’d been harshly treated by a more senior manager, her status disrespected, her views discounted…
Now I’m not trying to justify unprofessional behaviour but I did want to give her a different perspective on a situation that had left her feeling very disempowered… and I invited her to look at the situation from the perspective of her manager, taking into account all that he knew, his situation, his constraints, “the view from his deck”.
Immediately things changed. She could see he had much bigger concerns, a drive to make big wins and quickly, much more to lose by being cautious and everything to win by taking risks and yes, his deep vulnerability and potentially tenuous grip on power within the organisation. She paused as she took this in…
And a third perspective I invited… what would that encounter, that situation look like from the perspective of a disinterested observer at the meeting? Hmm, her care for her team would be obvious, her courage in standing to protect their rights, setting boundaries around their workloads, his narrow focus on making a prestige project succeed, a potential for profit, asserting authority or grasping at power and realistically, the likelihood that he may no longer be with the company in 6 months time.
Hmm. So, the tiny patch of the Forest of Dean overlooked by our lodges contains nuthatches, robins and wrens in abundance – but what you see, what you notice, the stories that you tell – it all depends on your perspective.
What might you see differently if you looked at it from another perspective?
Wishing you a wonderful week!
PS: My Confident Speaking at Meetings programme is now done and dusted. “What to say, How to say it. How to feel good while you’re saying it,”
If you want a sneak preview of some of the lessons, do look here:
Confident Speaking at Meetings
Vimeo Showcase link:https://vimeo.com/showcase/9573160 Password: TrainCoachLearn
Do let me know what you think!