What does it take to transform someone’s perspective?
This is a question we continually explore at meus, as we help people relate, contribute and grow in and through their work.
One source of inspiration for my own enquiry into this question popped up recently in the form of some shadow sculptures by Tim Noble and Sue Webster. Built from haphazard clumps of discarded wood and rubbish, the assemblages look a mess. But seen from a particular angle, under a certain light, something remarkable happens! The sculptures transform into people and we endow them with wholly different meaning. Our perception shifts!
I needed this reminder, as I am working through a conflict in my life right now that has, at times, had me questioning my self-worth. I’ve also been questioning the worth of the other, and have temporarily lost faith in our way of relating. I’ve lost sight of the beauty that is always below the surface of the most difficult situations, if only we can perceive it. The shadow-sculptures helped me reconnect with the value of seeing beyond the mess, to the magic we each bring to our situation. One of the interesting things that happens in my work, ocassionally, is that at times of deep personal change a client project pops up that seems to mirror something about my personal situation.
So it was, earlier this morning, that I found myself called in to an organisation to help resolve a conflict between two Directors that is having a devastating effect on their teams’ ability to collaborate and therefore on the organisation’s ability to deliver excellence. In terms of my client's situation, the shadow-sculptures remind me that what we see depends on what we choose to illuminate in a person or a situation.
Perhaps we first need to be willing to look beyond what seems like rubbish, to the hidden symmetries that are always there. This kind of consulting and coaching is highly creative in the way it humanises and – in shining a light on what is not always so obvious - offers the possibility of transformation.