I recently came across this posting by Liene Stevens on her blog, thinksplendid.com. She covers trends in the event industry and here she’s talking about two of her favorite designers. You don’t need to be planning a party to appreciate Stevens’ insights –
I’m always amazed at how Beka Rendell and Kimberly Fink of Styled Creative see things. They can walk into any dilapidated venue and see it transformed into something magical. They can take a piece of what the rest of the world would consider garbage and turn it into art. This skill transcends events and design.
We see what we look for. If you look for cynicism, you’ll find a cold, hard, gloomy world where everyone is completely focused on themselves. If you look for the silver lining, you’ll find a world of joy, creativity, generosity and simple pleasures.
A few days after reading this post, I had a rather bizarre experience that brought Stevens observations home for me.
This past Christmas I threw a holiday party in my new home. Two of my closest friends weren’t able to make it. Norman lives in the South Pacific and Anthony lives in the Bay Area.
Last Friday, Norman flew into town on his way to Rhode Island. I picked him up at LAX and by the time we got back to my place it was 11:30pm. As I was pouring each of us a rum-and-coke the phone rang – caller i.d. indicated it was the building’s front door intercom.
Since I wasn’t expecting anyone, I presumed the person hit the wrong button. Moments later, the phone again rang. I ignored it. Norman asked if I was going to answer. “No, they’ll figure out what’s going on.”
But, the phone rang yet again. This time the person left a message. He sounded drunk and said he was “Roger” looking for Norman. I’m now officially annoyed as my New York instincts kick into high gear!
Norman blanches. He confesses he’d reconnected with Roger, a college friend, on Facebook and when he learned they would be in LA at the same time, gave him my address.
“WHAT?! Phone rings. Now I answer. Yep, it’s Norman’s Roger.
It’s after midnight and I tell Norman this guy can’t stay long. As we head to the lobby, Norman announces he’s heard from friends that Roger has a drinking “problem.” NOOO! I’ve now got a Friday night drunk on my hands!
I enter the lobby and Roger is standing outside the glass front doors –.long hair, goofy/drunk smile, holding a cake box and a “happy birthday” bag. Ugh! He’s just come from a birthday party and he wants to continue the party at my place! I frantically think how I can get rid of him.
As I open the door, Roger grins and says, “Hi! How ya doin?” My smile is forced. I can’t see Norman and am annoyed he’s not stepping up. Roger just stands there, smiling, and again says “hi.” I lamely smile back.
Norman suddenly grabs my arm and laughingly gasps, “It’s Anthony!” Huh?
Turns out, “Roger” was my friend Anthony – and I didn’t recognize him! He’d made no effort to disguise himself. I hadn’t seen him in a year; he had longer hair and a scruffy look, BUT I didn’t recognize him and I’ve known him for half my life!!!!!!
The two of them had hatched this scheme to surprise me, though, neither imagined that I wouldn’t recognize Anthony. The ultimate surprise was on them!
I’m stunned as I write this AND I’m unnerved – what do we really see of reality?
Why do we see what we see and don’t see what we don’t see?
This is the #1 question at the heart of what I do in my communication skills workshops and coaching.
I wasn’t expecting Anthony. I was looking for “Roger.”
When I spoke to “Roger” on the phone, he sounded German and drunk. In an agitated state, I went to the entry door looking for a drunk, European. And that’s what I saw!
Yes, I was tired and, no, I hadn’t been drinking – I saw what I wanted to see – a drunken college friend of Norman’s.
I’ve been thinking about this ever since.
What else distorts my vision of “reality”?
What distorts your vision of reality?!
As Stevens wrote: we see what we look for.
The Business of Confidence is the work of becoming aware of what influences the way you perceive other people, how you interpret their behavior and talk and how you engage the world.
Yes, it is the old – do you see the glass half-full or half-empty and why?
A creative person sees a glass, sees water in that glass and so sees a glass holding the source of life – water.
We see what we look for.
What are you looking for?
Is there more that you could see?!
If you want to expand your sights, become more expansive in your work and thinking,
please contact me to explore coaching options.