The holidays are upon us! Most of us will be surrounded by family and friends more often than usual. We want to share three gifts that living unlayered will bring you this holiday season: understanding perspectives, developing connections, and building bridges.
This isn’t the first time you’ve heard, “Each of us has a unique perspective.” Yet, how often do we get so caught up in our own point of view that we forget how many other valid perspectives exist in the world? The holidays are the perfect time to embrace new perspectives, as you’re surrounded by loved ones that, let’s face it— you may not be totally aligned with. Embracing new perspectives doesn’t require that you adopt them as your own. Rather, simply affirming other perspectives as valid, though different than yours, will open up opportunities for growth and connection.
When perspectives are limited, your decisions are limited. Your perspectives are valid, and they matter, but they are limited by your own experience. This is true for all of us. If your experience doesn’t cover something, turn to someone who has the experience you lack. Build an arsenal of perspectives to use when life brings you into uncharted territory. Opening up yourself to understanding new points of view will expand your options and ultimately improve the pool of choices you use in your decision-making.
Understanding different perspectives will also help you develop more authentic connections, which brings me to gift #2.
Developing Authentic Connections
Living Unlayered is impossible without authenticity. Honestly sharing your perspectives and inviting others to share their own is an excellent way to build trust within your teams and with the people around you. Leaving that open line of communication generates feelings of significance in others, which bolsters your connections and relationships.
In physics, Newton’s 1st Law of Motion (simply put) is: an object at rest stays at rest, or if in motion, remains in constant motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Surprisingly, this principle is also true for our relationships and connections with other people. You are the outside force! If we want to make a difference in others’ lives, unless we make a direct connection, there is zero chance that our ideas are going to make any impact. The object will stay at rest. Focus on making the authentic connection first, and your influence and ability to make a difference will follow.
One great way to develop real connections is to be purposeful about finding common ground. T.D Jakes said, “I like to see myself as a bridge builder, that is me building bridges between people, between races, between cultures, between politics, trying to find common ground.” Chapter 5 of Slaying the Onion is dedicated to mastering this skill.
“Your opportunity is to learn to listen, hear and confirm your understanding. The message you give back is, “This is what I heard you say—tell me more about this—” You will start to watch each person you walk with slowly start to release a bit of their guard.”
As you traverse this path, one other item to remember at this very sensitive time is to not to attempt to move anyone over to your side of the bridge. It’s so easy for us to want someone to experience our conversations from our side of the bridge— forcing them into our perspective. A bridge with only one anchored post is bound to be unstable! Yet, to be powerful and effective bridge builders, we must not lose the opportunity to root the foundation posts on both sides. Our relationships have to be deeply rooted on each side to withstand any weight. Otherwise, the bridges we build have no integrity and are quickly destroyed. We get to show each other the value of our initiative when we meet them where they’re at.
Want to learn more about what it means to LIVE UNLAYERED? Join one of our pilot groups of The Living Unlayered Challenge here. We are offering a very special price for the holidays that won’t last long!