Have you ever heard the phrase “Perception is Reality”?
I first learned its application in the corporate world. Working in a department that was responsible for giving out, rather than bringing in, money, we felt pressured to manage others’ perception of our actions.
In a down economy, we made sure employees understood that our contributions to the community were made for critical reasons, not for frivolous ones. For example we might choose to invest in a homeless shelter whose numbers had spiked, rather than naming the new wing of a museum. A few too many calls to senior management might result in our budget getting cut disproportionately.
The value of actively managing our own perception is even more vital outside of corporate politics.
In our daily lives, the difference between perceiving something as a threat and perceiving it as an opportunity can change our entire experience.
For example, I was laid off last year from a lucrative, high profile job. It was a job that many people saw as a dream job, and that gave me a clear and healthy balance between my work and my personal life.
When I was laid off, I had a choice. I could perceive the experience as a threat or I could see it as an opportunity.
Reasons to view the layoff as a threat:
Because my job search would be motivated by my perception that the layoff had created a void in my life, I’d be looking for a new job to fill that void. Prospective employers and networking contacts would sense my neediness, which would raise a red flag.
Given the economic climate, it might take me months to find my next job, and my doom and gloom prophecy – layoff as threat – would have been fulfilled.
How else might this scenario play out? Let’s shift our perception to the sphere of opportunity.
Reasons to view the layoff as an opportunity:
The bottom line?
Our perceptions – which we can consciously choose – shape the actions we take and, therefore, the results we create.
The next time you are threatened by something in your life, step back and consider how else you might look at it. This small perceptual shift could make all the difference.