Suspend Your Seeing

My daughter came home with an art project. It was a still life drawing of a pail, some books, a bottle and a pitcher.

She was having difficulty with the perspective and with the shading. She was feeling frustrated and perplexed at why her drawing didn’t resemble the still life she was trying to duplicate.

As I looked at the art work she handed me, I realized immediately what was keeping her drawing from looking like the original.

I asked her, “Did you draw the books, bottles and pitcher the way you think they are, or did you draw what you actually see?”
At first she didn’t understand what I was asking.

I explained to her that when it comes to drawing, we need to stop our habitual way of seeing and perceiving. We need to pause and see what we really see – Not what we think we see or what we think we know.

I told her that though she might think she sees all of the angles of her objects, the reality is that she only has a partial view of each of the objects.

She smiled. She saw instantly where she had gone wrong.

In business, just as in drawing, once we correct our seeing and start suspending our perception, our perspective becomes clearer.

When we draw, when we speak, when we lead others, when we are looking for change in our organization, there is always much more than what we initially see.

A simple adjustment in our perspective can give us the true dimensions of our organization.

The slightest pause in self reflection can give us greater insight into our relationships.

We all make decisions, we all make moves, and we all see. But still there are failures.

Some change initiatives end up going nowhere, not because they lack vision or noble intentions, but because our everyday awareness is based on what we think we see. If we want to succeed in this rapidly changing world, we must learn to see reality.

Seeing reality involves suspension.

It’s about pausing…

Not destroying, deleting, or discarding what we think we see.

Suspension requires hanging onto to our assumptions that are right in front of us, while keeping our minds open to what can’t always be seen initially.

Suspension means noticing our perceptions, our thoughts, our mental models, and our habits as the working models of our mind, and not what actually exists.

Most of us accept reality the way it is presented to us. However, when we can suspend, we can begin to see that our thoughts and assumptions have less influence on what we see.

Suspension allows us to “see our seeing.”

Lead From Within: When we are learning something new, we can often feel confused, perplexed and disappointed.

Our “not seeing,” can keep us from staying fresh, current, and from keeping things in perspective.

Where can you learn to “suspend” so you can have a new perception?

Where can you redirect your attention so you can see the new perspective?

Drawing: By Zoe (still a work in progress)

 


N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Additional Reading you might enjoy:


Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

26 Responses to “Suspend Your Seeing”

  1. Kim E Williams

    04. Dec, 2011

    wonderful. i needed this right now for two reasons: 1. i need a shift in perspective at work. 2. i needed a word for this Word Wednesday over at the blog. I now have one: Suspension.

    Peace.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach

    04. Dec, 2011

    Lolly,
    This post is inspirational and practical, applicable to people of all ages, and a winning synthesis for innovation and growth.

    When I need to see things differently — create a new training program for exajple — I get away from my desk since it normally puts me into noncreative thinking.

    Your daughter is lucky that she has you to show her so early on how to succeed beyond any obstacle.

    Warmest regards,
    Kate

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      04. Dec, 2011

      Dear Kate,

      Thanks for stopping by and grateful for your kind comment.

      You are correct when we need to create something new – the best practice is to take ourselves out of our “normal” or usual environment so we can see-feel-create something different.

      I am not so sure my daughter feels her luck yet 🙂

      Blessings
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  3. Cdsmeaton

    04. Dec, 2011

    I think often the change process hits the barrier of what we believe we see rather what really is. That barrier is easily understood because what may be fact may be difficult to admit. I learned a long time ago that people would rather do the wrong thing competently than the right thing incompetently.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Jesse Stoner

    04. Dec, 2011

    Wonderful post, Lolly. I am reminded of the Anaïs Nin quote: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
    You offer great advice on how to see things as they really are – by using “suspension” – “noticing our perceptions, our thoughts, our mental models, and our habits” and recognizing them as” working models of our mind.” By allowing ourselves to “not know,” we can then see what actually exists. Your daughter’s frustration with her drawing project is a metaphor for our lives. Thank you for so beautifully and clearly sharing your wisdom, Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Dec, 2011

      Jesse,

      Your comment moved me because Jesse I learn from you on a daily basis

      ……You have helped me with my perspective and it all stems from your caring and suspension of being that allows me to grow.

      Thanks for all that you do and continue to do.

      I see in my seeing. Your generosity and grace.
      Thanks
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  5. Simon Harvey

    04. Dec, 2011

    First, I must start by saying that I love Zoe’s drawing just as it is. For me her perspective is perfect, as it is her perspective at that time. That is the beauty of art, that it comes from within as much as it does from what you see, just as poetry. To replicate what you see is an art, but to draw what you see is art.

    Perspective, I love perspective, I love to look and see that it is close to impossible to see the same perspective as someone else, because as soon as you get to where they were, things have changed. There is a great systems thinking exercise that opens doors to how perspective can affect the actions we take in life, and how we get stuck seeing things from within systems rather than standing back and looking at the system as a whole.

    Try this is you have not before: Follow step one and two before reading the question at the bottom of my post.

    1.Grab a pen or pencil and pretend to draw a large circle on the ceiling in a clockwise direction. (arm extended up to the ceiling)

    2.Slowly bring your arm down (keep drawing the large clockwise circles) so you pass your face (nearly feels like you are stirring a big bowl) and on down until you are looking down on top of you circling pen. (now read the question)

    The amazing thing about perspective is that what we see is our reality at that moment, changing perspective changes reality, it allows us to (as you say suspend our seeing) suspend that reality in order to see another. We live in a three dimensional world, yet there is time within these three dimensions. So as we change perspective we are changing reality and somewhere in there time, we just can not stop time.

    As you pointed out to your daughter, you can only see a certain amount of the things you look at, in fact your brain can only process a certain amount of information at at time, just as your computer. So it cheats and fills in from old mental models to work more efficiently. As you point out, suspension allows time to share your mental models, even if it is just with yourself, to reflect on what we see, what we know, and what we do not know.

    Look at the works of Dalí or how different a piece of classical music can sound when played by different musicians.

    I love that you picked this subject and the way you put it using suspension, it fits so well with leadfromwithin. Thanks so much for such a great post.

    QUESTION -What direction is the pen moving when you are looking down on it ?

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Dec, 2011

      Simon,

      Firstly….

      I wish you were Zoe’s art teacher. Her teacher keeps telling here…. it is not Prefect…… it is not fine….so when you come to NYC. The job is yours.

      Secondly,

      I just loved your exercise on preservative. As always you bring new vision, new thinking, new innovation, new creativity to my thoughts.

      Thirdly

      I am honored you stopped by, I am grateful that you spend the time to share and comment and teach and share.

      Fourthly

      I look forward to your thoughts. they always add the extra spice my post always needs.

      Adore you
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  6. Wayne McEvilly

    05. Dec, 2011

    Lolly:
    I enjoyed reading this post for several reasons – first, it gave me a little glimpse into your daily life, brought you into a perspective I had hitherto missed, in you role in my mind as a rather enormously influential icon in the Twitterverse – second, as always with your tweets and posts, I found it useful (one of my favorite words) and applicable to the present moment, one which is centered on extending the vision into a longer range, and third, it provided another way of looking at one of my very favorite core beliefs- that what we call “thinking” is more often than not a self-limiting setting of boundaries within which we move and from which we believe (erroneously) there is no escape. The great yonder of “within” is also the great yonder of the beyond – beyond our present focus, hopes, dreams, expectations,
    Your LeadFromWithin twitter chat is a constant source of vital energy – Thank you from the inner chambers of my heart.
    Wayne

    Reply to this comment
  7. lollydaskal

    05. Dec, 2011

    Wayne

    WOW!

    LOVE YOUR THINKING….about vision….

    “thinking” is more often than not a self-limiting setting of boundaries within which we move and from which we believe (erroneously) there is no escape. The great yonder of “within” is also the great yonder of the beyond – beyond our present focus, hopes, dreams, expectations.

    ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT and most certainly powerful
    THANKS for sharing Wayne.

    Blessings from the heart
    Lolly

    Reply to this comment
  8. Joseph Bernard

    05. Dec, 2011

    Lolly, Thanks for spreading your light and insight. I experience seeing on a number of levels.
    I see not only through my eyes but through my experiences which too often shade what I am looking at.
    I see through my intuition, which guides from a deeper knowing.
    I see through my ability to step back or rise above the story or drama I am caught in, when I step back and watch with impartiality. This watching comes from my higher nature.
    I see through the longing of my heart wanting to connect to others in meaningful ways.
    I see through the collective consciousness of understanding and insight.
    I see through my soul which has this infinite perspective.
    This inspired me to write a post about seeing soon.
    Joseph http://www.explorelifeblog.com, at twitter- explorelife

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Dec, 2011

      Joseph,

      Love your poem
      I see not only through my eyes but through my experiences which too often shade what I am looking at.
      I see through my intuition, which guides from a deeper knowing.
      I see through my ability to step back or rise above the story or drama I am caught in, when I step back and watch with impartiality. This watching comes from my higher nature.
      I see through the longing of my heart wanting to connect to others in meaningful ways.
      I see through the collective consciousness of understanding and insight.
      I see through my soul which has this infinite perspective.
      This inspired me to write a post about seeing soon.

      Thanks for sharing.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  9. Jon M

    05. Dec, 2011

    Insightful post, Lolly. The concept of suspension is a good one to think through and grasp. It is interesting though. The last words in your post are so true, especially in light of what you discuss. We are all “still a work in progress” – with the brackets removed, so we can see beyond any perceived boundaries! Thanks! Jon.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Dec, 2011

      Jon, Yes we a work in progress…. we will be until the end…. think of the brackets at the end of the post as hugs…..

      You are the {{{{best}}}}

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  10. KenMilloy

    05. Dec, 2011

    Lolly
    Thank you for this post…absolutely a beaut and it gets my vote for best post of the yeah on the web….so important…

    Thanks and onward, Ken

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Dec, 2011

      Ken

      Thank you so much for the sweetest comment. I will tell Zoe you said so…..as she frowns at me…

      I see I have much to learn from you. Any tips on perspective in leadership vs golf?
      Blessings
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  11. Lorena Heletea

    05. Dec, 2011

    Thank you Lolly,
    We learn so much from other’s prospective, not only about the subject at hand but I feel we grow in awareness each time we really stop and understand how others see or hear or think and then after that new understanding, because of the new awareness we think, hear, or see new circumstances or people totally different.
    Sending good to you and your sweet daughter.
    To success.
    Lorena

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Dec, 2011

      Dearest Lorena,

      Thanks for stopping by. I totally agree with you….
      We learn so much from other’s prospective, not only about the subject at hand but I feel we grow in awareness each time we really stop and understand how others see or hear or think and then after that new understanding, because of the new awareness we think, hear, or see new circumstances or people totally different.
      Very insightful and filled with wisdom. I learn so much from you.
      Thanks for sharing
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  12. Umair Khan

    05. Dec, 2011

    Lolly,

    What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it. I genuinely enjoy all the comments in addition to your post.

    I learn so much about myself and others reading through these journeys. I love seeing each persons take-away.

    I’m reminded, I can be the source of inspiration to many; do I chose to suspend my thought long enough to gather all the info? Or am I “Coach Obvious” confusing potential and then sending them away?

    I see the sight and I hear the words, can I listen long enough to give them what they deserve? Inspire the fire.

    Cheers to you both!

    Umair

    Reply to this comment
  13. Dr. Ada

    05. Dec, 2011

    Lolly,

    When I work with businesses helping people with dialogue, Suspension is one of the first things we talk about and work with. I often illustrate the concept (which you explained very well) as when we suspend, or stretch out a canvas on the wall, and take a few steps back to see it from a different perspective. We are not eliminating our thoughts or pre-perceptions, just suspending them out there for others and ourselves to see.

    As Jesse said, we get comfortable with the “not knowing.” We don’t know what else we are going to see, or hear, or share when we take a step back. We might find our picture “good enough,” or find all kinds of wonderful ways to make it even better.

    It’s always great to see someone else saying similar things in a different way. Always refreshing and reaffirming also. Thanks for a great post!

    Dr. Ada

    Reply to this comment
  14. Richard Anthony

    07. Dec, 2011

    Lolly,

    I just happened upon your thought-provoking post about “seeing” and though I must confess that many of its subtleties elude me, I did glean from the example in Simon’s comment that objective reality can be actually subjective, i.e. that the direction the pencil travels changes from clockwise to counter-clockwise depending upon whether I am looking up at it or down at it. Actually, what I want to know is whether or not after hearing your advice, Zoe took another attempt at her still life drawing, which you said was “a work in progress.” If so, was the end result any different? It would make a powerful BEFORE and AFTER comparison to reinforce your point. Would be nice know!

    Best wishes,
    Richard Anthony

    Reply to this comment
  15. Aziz Denian

    08. Dec, 2011

    Any Integrative Data “Thought” That Finds Its Way To Get Realized In Visualized Dimensions Could Be Called A Work Created By A Creative. This Is A Creative Work, Well Realized.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Ujwal

    08. Dec, 2011

    Really Dear “The slightest pause in self reflection can give us greater insight into our relationships”

    And this is true that Your daughter is lucky that she has you

    Reply to this comment
  17. Akos Fintor

    11. Dec, 2011

    Hey Lolly,

    Very nicely written content.
    I must agree: ” Perception is everything” or as Wayne Dyer puts it: “Look at things differently and things start to change.” -at least that is my experience.

    Thanks for the share!
    Akos

    Reply to this comment

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Leadership Development Carnival, Part Two December 6, 2011

    […] you seeing what really is? Lolly Daskal offers great questions for reflection in her post, “Suspend Your Seeing,” at Lead From […]

  2. December 2011 Leadership Development Carnival | Bret L. Simmons - Positive Organizational Behavior December 7, 2011

    […] I also really enjoyed “The Accountability Contagion,” by Jason Lauritsen, and “Suspend Your Seeing,” by Lolly […]

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