A Perspective on Bum Raps

A Perspective on PerspectiveStill on my Dr. Beverly Kaye kick from the ASTD Leader’s Conference Keynote at the end of October.  She’d discussed the “5 P’s of Development,” and asked us to ask a few questions about ourselves for each of these Development Categories.  Because, truthfully, we have to look to ourselves for development, no?  Even the best teachers cannot teach one who is not ready to learn.The first two P’s were Place, and Person.


The third P is: Perspective.  Rather than discuss that everyone has a different perspective or talk about walking a mile in another’s shoes, Dr. Kaye asks us to ask ourselves this:
“What one bum rap was laid on you in the last eighteen months?”

THAT is a loaded question!  How often has the following phrase come out of our mouths:  “Can you BELIEVE this happened to me?”

Havi Brooks calls this “having a shoe thrown at you.”  She believes that not addressing the reasons for others “throwing shoes” is something that can cause “stuckness.”  In other words, that you can enter into an inimical cycle with that person that produces no results. Projects stall.  You don’t move further.
Havi suggests that there are five ways one could react to the situation, the most base way being to internalize your anger and frustration at being stuck with the critique, the most enlightened way to not identify an intent behind the criticism, but to acknowledge the situation occurred and move on.  And right in the middle is to acknowledge the emotions that well up from the criticism, to remind oneself that the person giving the criticism has a perspective that causes them to criticize.

Once you’re at that point is where Dr. Beverly Kaye suggests that you consider that person’s perspective. Is there a Grand Truth behind that criticism? she asks.

When I first heard the “What one bum rap..” question, my immediate response was to think of a singular person critiquing me.  But here’s the thing behind a “bum rap.” It may be one person’s criticism, but it traveled, and it stuck.

Yes, somehow, somewhere, something has caused a person to see you in a certain light. Not an epic enemies sort of light, no “You killed my father, prepare to die!”  Rather, a light filtered by a value or a vision.  Perhaps a temperament.   That person may be a “green,” an “ESFP,” while you’re a “red,” an “INTJ.”

But one person’s perspective does not a bum rap make.  It’s that perspective reaching others, forming in the minds of your co-workers, your boss, and sticking.

Thus:  “What one bum rap was laid on you in the last eighteen months?”   Within that question, and a few others we’ll consider this week, could lie the One Grand Truth that exposes an area of yourself worth developing.
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