July Challenge

Shift My Perspective

Palm Trees Viewed from Below

This month my goal is to explore the framework with which I see the world and make decisions. What do I believe to be inherently true that can benefit from re-examining? How can I change my perspective to open my field of view?

I firmly believe that our perspectives shape everything in our world. Both the way we remember the past and the way we collectively react and drive the present. We each rewrite history every day by coloring facts with our own perceptions before filing them away. I’m reminded of this every time talk I to my BF about past events and we inevitably remember them differently (I’m usually right though 😊)

In July, I am challenging myself to re-examine the way that I see the world. While I recognize that my own thoughts, preconceived notions, assumptions, background, and past experiences greatly color how I see every situation, it is difficult to maintain enough self-awareness in the present moment to overcome self-imposed limitations driven by my belief baggage.

A major source of motivation for me to do the work associated with this month stems from one of my yoga classes. I have an amazing yoga instructor, Justin, (@thetatooedyogi) whose Dharma talks always leave me inspired to look at the world a little bit differently. To be perfectly honest, the Dharma talks were the main reason I kept going to his class in the beginning, when I felt wholly inept and inadequate in any of the actual yoga poses. Most outstanding to me, of the 30ish Dharma talks I’ve heard, was one that centered around cleaning off and examining the lens with which you see the world. This has stuck with me over many months, and I will keep it in mind as I move through the July Challenge.

I have done some past work on understanding the framework with which I see the world. And this month I am revisiting my old notes and further examining those beliefs that may limit or no longer serve me.  A few of the things that have come up for me upon some self-reflection are listed below.

  • I often feel like I don’t have the right skill set to start something I’m interested in. I feel like I should be an expert on any topic before I do any work in that area. For example, who am I to start a blogging project? I’m not an expert blogger or an expert at personal growth. I should probably take a class, or get a degree before I continue down this path. This perspective holds me back from starting and creates a huge amount resistance (see challenge month 1). This month I’m going to challenge this with a new though – starting something new is the catalyst for learning about it and maybe eventually becoming an expert.
  • I’m too old to start something new! I’m 39! That feels ancient to me in numerical terms. While I am much more comfortable in my own skin then I was when I was 20, I am often held back from starting new projects by the recurring thought that I am just too old to start something new. If I really do need a degree to pursue blogging, for example, I won’t be ready to start for another 4 years. At that point is it even worth beginning? I am trying to challenge this belief with a new thought when this comes up: In a year from now, I would have wished I started today.

I identified a few additional beliefs that I will focus on in upcoming challenges. It’s interesting that when I wrote the challenges I did not have these beliefs in the forefront, but when I look at them now I see that moving past these ideas aligns well my established monthly goals.

  • People are inherently focused primarily on their own advancement. Even though I think that so much of working through life is about communicating what works for you, asking questions, and making connections, I still find myself hesitant to approach people to collaborate, ask a question, or ask for a favor. I have decided to spend a whole month challenging this thought, when I work through my month of collaboration.
  • There isn’t enough time! I am interested in many things, and want to do all of them, all at once. I’m often overwhelmed by my perceived time constraints. I’m also always trying to fit in one more thing, and I am usually late. Generalizing this, I have found that I sometimes operate from a framework of scarcity – approaching time and sometimes money, skills, and beauty as a finite and limited resource. I’m very interested in the impact of approaching life from an abundance perspective, and I have chosen to spend a month understanding the differences that occur when I consciously try to switch between a scarcity and an abundance mindset.

This month’s topic is vast and I could (and likely will) spend a year or a lifetime examining this one concept. While each one of my challenge topics could be expanded significantly beyond the month I am allocating, this one is the most daunting to right-size for a month of learning and self-reflection. However, I am reminding myself that the purpose of my 1 year challenge is to move through topics quickly, learning what I can, to create a snowball effect of small actions and continued learning. In some ways, this topic will self-extend throughout the year. I think it’s an important one to cover early on and go back to as I move through my remaining challenges.  As I continue to break past the boundaries of my comfort zone, I expect that my perspective will continue to naturally shift, especially if I remind myself that many of my limitations are self-imposed.

About the Photo

Palm Trees Viewed from Below

I took this photo on a busy street in Sarasota, Florida. Although it was near a beach, I was surrounded by asphalt, shopping, and other people. However, I just needed to shift my perspective and look up at the sky to be reminded of the natural beauty of the world.

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