Perspective | jennwhitmer.com

Sep 24, 2019

Perspective

I could not see the giant Schnucks shopping cart. Rolling down the interstate in the Odyssey, my 10yo keeps pointing, trying to help me see the 13-foot cart.

“Mom, it’s taller than that truck. It’s going up the ramp. Look, there it is again.”I kept seeing the hill of exit and the flat side of an 18-wheeler, never the cart.

From the middle seat of the van, she had the angle I did not. The glory that is the giant Schnucks cart was hers to see and share with me.

A sign of maturity is recognizing we each see the world differently. I cannot see all there is to see, nor can I expect others to see as I do. A self-awareness framework, such as the Enneagram, not only allows me to see my need for the perspectives of others without discounting my own way of seeing, but also give me language and method to assess the health or unhealth of those perspectives. Including my own.

By human nature, I will place myself—my values, my conclusions, my emotions—in the center. My specific personality type is “self-referencing.” That’s the nice way of saying I have a particularly strong bent toward believing my ideas the best. Anyone relate? (Assertive triad, I see you.)

If I put myself in the center position, I’m in a false place. I’m not actually in the center. I’m a part of a larger story that began before me, continues around me, and carries on after me.

Limited perspective stunts growth, creates conflict, and hampers leadership. We need others who see the story differently.

So, about that giant Schnucks cart…

I could have easily rejected the perspective of my daughter. I mean, a giant grocery cart? On the interstate? You must be mistaken. 

Instead, I kept asking questions. Even though I never saw the cart, I believed it was there, turning its way through the streets of St. Louis. (And how fun is that? A giant grocery cart?)

Questions help us see what we can’t see. Ask a question. And then another. Check you understand. Allow the new way of seeing to expand you.

I made some suggestions for phrases if you want some ideas. See 20 Phrases to get a free download!

How do you discover others’ perspectives? How do you put them to use?

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