Shifting Lenses

Shifting Lenses

Embracing who you are

Have you spent years perceiving yourself that you ARE your work, your relationships, your roles? Many women have. In times of transition— when our job no longer defines us because we retire or choose less-lucrative but more satisfying work, or, when our parenting role changes when our last child leaves home—it’s no wonder we may get confused or depressed. Especially during such times when our outer lives have shifted that it’s wise to shift our personal lenses of how we see and express ourselves.


We don’t see things as they are, we see things as WE are. Cicero


Seeing yourself through your personality styles is one way to identify and honor core components of who you are. We suggest that you place yourself along an opposite-poled continuum for each of these five-categories*. Shifting lenses isn’t about changing yourself but rather recognizing and embracing that which you see.


Equality vs. Hierarchy

Equality:  You believe, let’s say men and women, should be treated the same. While you may follow the rules, you allow for exceptions and may bend them. You challenge people in power and are self-directed.

Hierarchy: You expect men and women to behave and be treated differently. You prefer taking direction from those in power and respect rather than challenge their opinions because of their position.

Think: In your family or workplace are there distinct roles? Are men and women treated equally?  Do you all know who is ‘boss’?


Direct vs. Indirect Communication (verbal, nonverbal, and written)

Direct communication: You feel comfortable openly confronting issues or challenges and do so straightforwardly. You engage in conflict when necessary and state things clearly, not leaving much open to interpretations.

Indirect: You focus your communication more on how it will be received over the integrity of your message. You avoid conflict if at all possible, discreetly avoiding difficult topics and contentious issues.

Think: Do you say your piece with family members, co-workers or friends? Do you highly regard everyone’s feelings before speaking? Do your words move right to your point or meander with hopes you’ll get to say what you really feel?


Individual vs. Group Initiative

Individual: You make your decisions individually and are a nonconformist when moving in and out of groups as needed or desired.

Group: You are a team player and like to act cooperatively and establish group goals. You make loyalty to friends a high priority and determine your identity though group affiliation, putting the team before your individual self. You conform to social norms and keep your group memberships for life.

Think: Do you value each person with unique contributions to make? Do you believe in socialized medicine, nationally funded education? How do you interact with total strangers on the street?


Task vs. Relationship Oriented

Task: You move straight to business and keep most relationships with co-workers impersonal and superficial. You may sacrifice leisure time and time with family in favor of work and allow it to overlap with personal time.

Relationship: You establish a comfortable relationship and sense of mutual trust before getting down to business. You have personal relationships with working subordinates, often getting to know them in depth.

Think: Is your style “business before pleasure” or “pleasure before business”? Do you define people based on what they do or who they are? Do you feel for a vacation to be successful you need to see all the sites, visit all the museums?


Risk vs. Caution

Risk: You embrace change in your life. You don’t worry too much whether ‘things’ are going to work out. You are willing to plunge into new ventures.

Caution: You do all that you can to eliminate uncertainty and ambiguity. You wait until you absolutely need to make a move and do so, only after careful planning.

Think: Is your style of planning and decision making ‘Ready, Aim, Fire’? Or are you more comfortable with ‘Fire, Ready, Aim’? Where do you spend more of your time—planning a project or jumping to implement it?


Put blinders on to those things that conspire to hold you back,

especially the ones in your own head. Meryl Streep


There is no right or one way of being. Shifting lenses is about seeing yourself from different perspectives. Being ‘you’ but with a fresh self-awareness of the other aspects of your person that you may not have called on before. Today is always the day to embrace both the ‘old’ and be open to the ‘new’ you—the whole package for today’s relationships and roles and creations.


Mucha, Rochelle T. Aesthetic Intelligence: Reclaim the Power of Your Senses. S.l.: S.n., 2009.

*Peterson, Brooks. Cultural Intelligences. Boston: Intercultural Press, A Nicholas Brealey Publishing Company. 2004.





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