A loss of idealism creates a teachable moment. Those I'm mentoring become temporarily open to a broader perspective when their bubble has been burst. It feels to them like their closed minds have been broken open to consider new outlooks, premises and purposes. This moment calls for balance from me between objectivity and subjectivity. The many imaginative possibilities need to be grounded in what actually happened. Otherwise this exploration of abstractions will not connect to their future actions.
Here are seven places I go when mentoring others to take a broader perspective:
Taking it literally
It's always inside our comfort zone to react to incidents with dichotomies. We automatically think in terms of either/or categories and draw the line divisively. We orient ourselves with pure objectivity: "just the facts Ma'am" and "No further questions your Honor". We strive for accuracy in our reporting on the assumption that incidents are meant to be taken literally.
Taking it creatively
It's always possible to explore what-if questions when idealism has been lost. We can imagine that what happened is like solid contents are in search of an appropriate container. We can change the definition of the problem or the interpretation of the presenting evidence. We can go outside the box provided by the incident to connect the dots differently than before. We can play around with imagery and comparisons to get a different feel for the obvious facts.
Taking it developmentally
Anything that happens occurs in a sequence. There's a context of what led up to this and what is ongoing through this. We can consider an incident as a sign of growth, an indication of a process or a step in a progression. When taking things developmentally, we use words that end in "ing" like the title of this blog. We see patterns of processing, regressing, changing, realizing, fulfilling, and transforming.
Taking it cyclically
Our solutions may boomerang and give us a taste of our own medicine. We reap what we sow by how we treat others to where we're coming from. We ask for trouble by giving others trouble we believe is necessary under the circumstances. What we dish out to the world haunts us or hunts us down. We cannot escape the unintended consequences of our actions until we change what we put into the endless cycles. We can only be the change to change the way the world treat us. Life is a circle game.
Taking it reflectively
What shows up is a mirror reflection of what's been on in our minds and in our hearts. We get to see what we've been imagining with lots of feeling by what appears and disappears in our world. Anytime we are pointing a finger, we are pointing three more at ourselves. We can blame the reflection for making us look bad or take it back on ourselves as a creation of our outlook. When we become fascinated by what appears in the mirror, we will be shown what we're missing, overlooking and dismissing. We'll see how we created the problem with the same power to create a solution.
Taking it empathetically
In order to get along with other people, we need to look through their eyes and see their point of view. We when get in their corner and back up their position, they feel collaborative and accommodating. When they know how much we care, they can then care how much we know. It pays to invest in a the mutual fund account by seeking first to understand, before making withdrawals by seeking to get understood. When we can speak their mind, we can work a much better deal with them and for them.
Taking it spiritually
It's possible that what happened is a big mystery to us both. Perhaps it pays to not know what this is, what this means or what to conclude about this. Then we are open to revelations about how it is perfect as is. We will be shown what to let go of in order to go with the flow right now. We'll realize how to be free in this appearance of entrapments, entanglements and fears. We'll see how to be in this situation in a way that is congruent with our soul, calling or highest purpose. We see so much good in it we'll then come from a place that exudes gratitude, fascination and satisfaction.
With so many different frames of reference to use, my logical mind is routinely overwhelmed. The only way to be effective is to take it all spiritually, face it as a mystery and receive what comes to mind that responds to the teachable moment before me.