It’s All In How You Look At It

Past group coaching client, Ian, describing one of his commissioned paintings.

A Client’s Presentation

This last weekend I drove up to wine country to support one of my past group coaching clients, Ian, a professional illustrator.  Ian was speaking on “The Power of Story in Art.”

As he spoke on symbolism, perspective and sharing a story through art, he showed examples from Leonardo da Vinci, Norman Rockwell, Ernest Hemingway (yes, the writer) as well as examples of his own personal pieces.  The audience enjoyed his presentation so much they asked for an encore.  Ian was flexible and able to pull together a second presentation in a matter of minutes.

It’s an incredible feeling to watch a client succeed.  To soar.


Reflecting on Ian’s presentation (the prepared one), I can close my eyes and see the lines he drew on a da Vinci painting to explain perspective.  The perspective draws viewers in and directs their focus.

Let’s take that thought – that perspective directs focus – and apply it to our own lives.

Work Feedback

I am an advocate of the 360-degree employee review.  As an advertising creative, your growth may depend on what not only your Creative Directors think of your work but also how the Account Directors like working with you, how receptive you are to the Planners’ recommendations, how much other creatives like partnering up with you, whether or not clients like you and so on.  Without the different perspectives, you don’t know where to improve, where to focus.

Life Feedback

Outside of work, others’ perspectives can help you see blind spots too.  How does your family perceive you?  What do your friends think are your strengths?  What is your reputation in the community?  What do others constantly wish you would do but you are clueless about?

Why not ask?

Ask your network – your brother, best friend, neighbor, the waitor you see weekly, your kids’ babysitter – what they think about you.

    • What are your best skills?
    • What are your talents?
    • How would they describe your personality?
    • What do they admire about you?
    • How would they like to see you change and grow?
    • What do they think you would really love to try doing?
    • What would they like to say to you but haven’t before?

You can come up with scales for different qualities that are important to you.

For instance, on a scale from 1 to 10 how ______ are you?  Where the blank can be filled with:

    •  Confident
    • Patient
    • Open
    • Fair
    • Accepting
    • Creative
    • Fun
    • Loving
    • Thoughtful
    • Giving
    • Dedicated

But can you really ask for perspective?

Yes.  But asking people you know to tell you how they view you can seem scary.  So the question becomes: Which is stronger – your desire to grow and be better OR your fear?  You can always ask via e-mail or ask them to submit their thoughts in a sealed envelope to a third party (e.g., your significant other, a friend, your mailbox, your doorstep).

People who are willing to give you honest feedback, will; those who aren’t, won’t.  There’s no harm in asking.  And you’ll never know unless you ask.

Imagine if you found out something that could save you time, energy, money, etc.  Maybe your friends would rather connect over Skype than at fancy dinners.  Maybe you find out that your nephew really wants to spend one afternoon a month with you.  Maybe it’s revealed that the many hours you work are causing your relationships to suffer.  Maybe whatever you’re doing isn’t working and you don’t even know it.  Maybe whatever you’re doing is working but you’re too close to it to see the effects.

Maybe this exercise is exactly what you need to create a more satisfying life.

Use perspective to guide your focus.


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