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Life Lenses: Understanding Perspective to Communicate & Work Better

December 13, 2010

“We all only see the world from our own perspectives.  We all assess the “truth” based on our own experiences.  And when we argue, we don’t ask questions, we don’t listen, we don’t seek to understand the reason why someone would so vehemently disagree with us.  Instead we dismiss them as fools and press forward based on our perception.” Simon Sinek.

What are Life Lenses?

Essentially, Life Lenses is a series of questions that unveils the specific filters you use to process information, which in turn determines your individual perspective.

The Lenses are a series of 4 pairs of values. Each pair represents a broad spectrum: you can be at either extreme or just a nudge away from center. For example, you’re either a carrot or mountain lens. You naturally lean towards the big picture or the small details. Whether you’re just barely a carrot lens, majority mountain or 100%, without a doubt, carrot will affect the way you see the world and the way you approach projects.

So, let’s talk Lenses.

Where exactly do I fall on the spectrum?

I am a mountain lens.

I see the big picture. I like strategy. I find patterns in what others see as chaos or confusion. I enjoy connecting people. I focus on what’s ahead, the next or newest thing. This makes total sense given my love for mining information to find correlations, connections. Unlike the carrot lens, I may miss important details. I have a harder time zeroing in on the nitty-gritty, the minute.

But, I need a carrot lens on my team. I need someone who has that laser-concentration to create and follow systems. Who is confident handling the details.

I am a journey lens.

This I knew. I’ve always been focused on the journey, not the destination. A firm believer that how we get there is more important than when. It’s all process, baby. For me, the creative process. Detours and turns are welcome as I believe they are intrinsic to learning.

I need a destination lens on my team to make sure we get where we’re going. To keep us on deadline. To assure that we’re making progress.

I am a tweener stop lens.

(Tweener means I’m close to the middle of the spectrum, but tilt just a bit towards stop.)

I will admit this lens surprised me. I had this romantic notion that I would be a go lens –spontaneous and nimble. Alas, I like to plan. Analyze. Consider carefully. I’m cautious, both socially and in making decisions.  I’m a realist. Sometimes I overthink and end up paralyzed. Sometimes, I need a push to be more impulsive.

I am an extreme heart lens.

(Extreme, as in 100% percent. As in I have a million times the benefits, but also a million times the negatives.)

Intuitive. Subjective. Focused on feelings, not facts. Guided by my gut, an intangible inner compass. This: “You may not know why you know something, but you know it with certainty.” I’ve learned that can be very annoying to those who rely on logic, evidence, the facts jack.

How My Life Lenses are Affirming

That is, how they support what I already knew to be true.

I’ve been called the most pragmatic person in the room. I’ve been celebrated for my ability to spot trends, to see what’s next. These two strengths, based in being both mountain and stop lenses, led me to coin the phrase “pragmatic visionary.” It is incredibly descriptive of the way I work. It’s only now that I understand the roots of this label.

The stop lens is the source of my love of research. The tendency of a stop lens to analyze and reflect merges with my mountain lens to create a big picture strategist. A trend spotter. An avid consumer who culls what she reads and sees for patterns.

Ok, So What are the Practical Applications?

Yes, taking the evaluation is personally enlightening and a worthy exercise in and of itself. But in the event that you’re interested in more than personal development, I’ll go ahead and outline a few more benefits.

1. Perspective & Teams

Life Lenses helped me understand the way I approach the world. The problem-solving techniques that I gravitate towards. My natural strengths. The blinders I inherently wear.

Knowing that my lens directly relates to how I plan my work –and define success– is invaluable. Understanding where I am on the spectrum means that I can start to communicate better with team members who are on the opposite end. By being aware of the roots of my views –the values I prize—I am better able to listen, respond and work with others.

Over the years, I’ve learned that my view, my process, my way isn’t the end-all, be-all. It’s right for me, that’s all.

Imagine what can be accomplished by a team who is acutely aware of their own + each other’s perspectives. A team who understands what they need to thrive & move forward, but can also understand the needs of others. A team that can appreciate the diverse skills represented and utilized to reach the same goals. A team that can communicate effectively and work together. Sounds pretty awesome, right?

2. Using the Lens to Illuminate Enoughness.

We all gravitate to one end of the spectrum. We find ourselves on either side of a pair. And, that’s ok. Normal.

I used to compare myself to coworkers on the opposite ends. And I’d make myself feel bad. Less productive. Less useful. Look at those systems! Such detail! Why can’t I do that?

Looking at all the lenses made me see that no lens is better than another. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Each is valid.

I’m doing myself a disservice by not honoring what I do well. My combination of lenses is awesome. And mine. And to be appreciated, celebrated and harnessed.

3. Determining your true work.

Danielle LaPorte talks about finding your true strengths in The Firestarter Sessions – the sweet spot of things you enjoy doing that also make you feel vital. By acknowledging what comes most naturally to me, the Life Lenses illuminate my true strengths. Point the way for the type of work that will utilize my assets.

My Proclamation

After reviewing the results of my assessment, I was asked to make a proclamation. I have included it below:

I, Leigh Morlock, do herefore, therefore, wherefore, and what for proclaim that as a result of seeing more clearly with Life Lenses™ I will cater to my true strengths in building my business; unapologetically trust my gut; embrace my birthright as a pragmatic visionary; and create art that soothes & nourishes my soul.

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Many thanks to Lee-Anne Ragan for hosting a Life Lenses Giveaway. I was lucky enough to win a free evaluation, which I have found enlightening and valuable. I highly recommend the Life Lenses Evaluation.

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