It was hot. The kids were hungry. The crowds were huge. My feet were tired from a full day of walking and standing. My patience was all but gone. Is this how I wanted to spend my vacation?
We were standing in front of Hogwart’s Castle at the Universal Orlando Harry Potter experience. We had been there all day, visited all the Harry Potter shops, and ridden the Harry Potter rides. I’ve never even seen one of the movies, so a lot of this was foreign to me (wife and one of my kids are huge fans). All that was left was to see the light show they display on the castle after dark. After the light show was a long walk through the park, through the parking ramp, and a traffic-filled drive back to the hotel. Can this be over?
As I stood there stewing in my little pity party, I looked over and saw a group standing next to a small child in a wheelchair. The child was hooked up to oxygen and a number of monitors, all attached to the wheelchair. Everyone was smiling, laughing and holding hands. They were completely entranced by the light show. Then I noticed their shirts; Make A Wish. My perspective changed.
Perspective can be defined as an attitude toward or way of seeing something. It’s your point of view. Life’s many challenges can give us a negative outlook, especially on those tougher days (let’s be honest, there’s a lot of negativity out there right now!). I’ve had my struggles with this, and when opening up about them, find others have very similar situations.
In project management, we deal with a lot of issues and problems getting thrown at us daily (sometimes hourly). Constant negative input can create struggles and put us in a tough spot mentally. Here are some things I’ve been doing to help change my perspective. Maybe one of them will work for you!
Look At It From Someone Else’s Point of View. Everyone’s perspectives are different. Early in my project management career, I would get anxious about the smallest issues. Looking at issues through someone else’s point of view taught me to take a step back, get input from those smarter than me, resolve and move on. My anxiety was self-induced.
In the instance of the Harry Potter light show, seeing a family having an awesome time changed my perspective. Trying to see it through their eyes, my attitude changed. I found myself looking at my two healthy children and realizing I had nothing to bitch about. After that, my night was awesome.
What’s the Impact? I ask myself, if shit goes really bad, what’s the worst that can happen? My imagination can make it WAY worse than reality. A couple years ago I was talking to a graphic designer about this topic and I mentioned a quote by Jordan Peterson, which she created below. Sums up this point nicely!
Narrow Your Focus on the Top Priority. This is one I’m not sure we can ever master, but have under relative control. Our lives are busy. We have TONS of priorities. Whether work, home, kids, or combo of the three (or more), there’s a lot thrown at us daily. Our projects can have a lot of priorities, too. Therefore, when things arise, which they do often, prioritize! If you try to focus on everything at once, you can feel overwhelmed and stressed. Focusing on the top priority will help change your perspective and go after what’s most important.
As far as the Make a Wish family, I don’t know their situation but pray everything is good with them. Their happiness definitely impacted me and changed my perspective that night, and in future situations. With all the negativity that can easily creep into our heads and projects, it’s easy to realize stress and anxiety. Do your best to change your perspective but looking at situations through others point of view, assessing impacts, and prioritizing what needs to get done.