Ask yourself two questions: “In the big scheme of things, how important is this?” and, “How would I view this if I wasn’t taking it so seriously?” In the moment, particularly when we are stressed, things can lose their relative importance or feel magnified. When this happens, it’s useful to to zoom out on the situation to gain a more grounded perspective. Some people call this “going up to the balcony” for a better view. From there, you can see the full landscape and yourself in relation to others and the situation. Are you catastrophizing? Holding onto tasks that can be delegated? Struggling to trust others? Being a perfectionist?
A client recently zoomed out from her stressful corporate role to recognize that she was assuming ownership for a risk that was completely out of control and that assumption of ownership was causing work to bleed into her evenings and weekends. The extra work was causing exhaustion and guilt. After recognizing that she did need to assume ownership, she raised the risk she was quietly managing to leadership who established an entire taskforce to do what she’d been doing.
Left to our own devices, we rarely do our best thinking.
Having reality checks with yourself and with your support system is key for finding the perspective necessary to identify what’s going on inside of you that’s causing you to grip so tightly in the first place. Though, as we have all experienced, simply knowing the issue does not lead to action. There is a chasm that often exists between knowing and going. Ask anyone who has determined they need to “care less.”
Strategies for gaining perspective:
Identify who grounds you
Maintain a journal and keep these prompts handy
How important is this?
How would I view this if I wasn’t taking it so seriously?
Is this mine to own?
Who can I share responsibility with?
What does help look like in this scenario?
What am I avoiding?
Ready to keep going? Learn how to create priorities across every domain of your life.