Perception versus reality 

Screenshot 2017-02-08 14.57.48Take a look at this picture. What do you see? Abstract swirls of colours? The butterfly in flight? A young woman looking up to the sun?

The essential point is what you see is what is in the picture. There is no distinction here between facts and alternative facts, between reality and a post-reality world. If this pictures conjures up particular emotions and feelings for you, then those are the emotions this picture projects.

It doesn’t matter how others experience this image, the way you experience it is real. It is how it is to you. Every individual’s experience is unique, a very personal composite of her own innate personality, her environment and the interaction between the two.

So why am I rabbiting on about this?

From the psychotherapeutic perspective, if someone in your team has a view about something that seems weird, irrational or just unreasonable that is causing problems, describing it as such is not going to get you anywhere. If that is their perception, then that is their reality and if it’s a problem in the business environment you need to be open and flexible enough to see things from their perspective.

From the communications perspective, it matters because whatever you think about your business, what counts is what your customers think. If you’ve got your business strategy right, you know exactly what your business is about; you know what it stands for. Your marketing collateral will embody and bring to life everything about your business that you believe is special and the focus will be on the benefits of buying from you.

But what if this doesn’t resonate with your customers, clients or consumers? What if you’re talking about benefits that don’t matter to them? Or even worse, what if what you say seems to bear no connection to their experience of your business. You’re saying working with you is fun but their experience is of a sluggish and tired business. This is an extreme. It is more likely is that you will say you are innovative and creative while their experience of you is as generally straightforward with occasional good ideas.

It’s incredibly easy to think we are projecting the impression we want, but the problem is often that another’s experience of us is something quite different. It may be enmeshed with their own life experiences, but if we don’t take the time to find out, our messages are going to miss their mark.

According to Beisser’s Paradoxical Theory of Change, personal development is only possible when we understand exactly what and where we are. The same is true of all organisations. You can only move in the direction you want if you know where you are today. And that means taking the time to find out where your targets are at and how they view you. There is only one way to find this out. You have to ask, and perhaps more importantly, ask with a very open mind. Otherwise you will hear what you want instead of what you’re being told.

I have developed a relational perception audit that will give you the information you need. Give me a call if you want to find out more.

Categorised as Newsfeed

By Cathy Connan

I'm an integrative psychotherapist. I help people invest in their wellbeing and live the life they want.