It is a great privilege to be able to experience the West Coast in South Africa especially during the ‘flower season’. Although the magic of the natural phenomenon of the flowers bursting into bloom is a great attraction, there is so much else to appreciate. For example, being the West Coast, the sun sets over the sea and the sunsets are magnificent.
As I stood on the beach marvelling at the great beauty of the sunset near Lamberts Bay, I was intrigued by the sound that my shoes were making on the sand. I looked down and was surprised that I wasn’t standing on sand… there was a layer of shells.
Often we may be engrossed using one of our senses in capturing an experience. However, if we consciously use other senses at the same time, we can expand and include different dimensions to this overall experience. In the above example, I was using sight to focus on the beauty of the changing light during sunset. It was almost dark and it was my sense of hearing that alerted me to the fact that I wasn’t treading on sand which is what I’d expect on a South African beach. The thick layer of shells fascinated me and raised many questions in my mind regarding the reasons for this volume being washed up on the beach. I still don’t know the answer – do you?
So here we are considering different perspectives. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. So where I come from, KwaZulu-Natal I’m accustomed to watching the sun rise over the sea. Watching the sun set over the sea provides a shift in focus. Another change in concentration in my example above was looking out to sea, a horizontal view. Looking down towards my feet meant a vertical shift. I also changed from using predominantly sight to capture the experience of sunset, to noticing sound and therefor shifting my view to the shells. What are you doing to shift your perspective?
We were privileged to see the flowers at their very best this year. Yet, another focus of reflection is the context within which visitors are able to experience this wonderful natural phenomenon. We were able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the local people who are passionate about their surroundings. And this created the framework in which we were able to experience the magnificence of the natural phenomenon like the flowers, sunsets and beautiful scenery.
These are amongst my ‘touchstones’ which I define as those experiences, sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings which bring out the best in me and make me feel ‘whole’. I consciously try to incorporate these into my life wherever possible. I encourage my clients to do the same – to identify and then incorporate their touchstones into their lives whenever possible.
My questions for you are:
- How can you train yourself to take in more aspects of an experience by using various senses?
- By changing your perspective, what else might change?
- What are you doing to shift so that you can see things from different perspectives?
- How can this help you to become more curious?
- What are your touchstones?
- How can you incorporate more of these into your life?
- How else can you broaden the range of possibilities in your life?
- By paying more attention to the framework that is making your experience possible, how can you see aspects of your life in context?
- As a result of reading this article (experience), and answering these questions, what other reflections do you have?
- In one sentence, please crystallise the meaning you have gained from your reflections.
- As a result of this, what action are you going to take?
For further information on Executive Coaching or Leadership Development please see www.strategy-leadership.com or contact Brenda on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 82 4993311.