When I’m talking about what it is that a coach does, I use a short little narrative that never fails to get someone’s interest and attention. That’s because it makes for a very big BFO – Blinding Flash of the Obvious. What makes it a BFO is that it really is so very obvious, but until you actually say it and follow the logic of it, the inherent magic of this little narrative remains a buried treasure for change.

Depending on who I’m talking to, it goes something like this: You know, the way that you perceive something is the way that you will react to it, right? And the way you react to something will determine your behavior, right? And how you behave is what gives you your results in life and at work. So, bottom line, it’s your perception of something that really gives you your results.

Blinding flash of the obvious. Professionals call this your “perceptual filter”. Simply, it’s the way that you distinguish, recognize, see, make out, pick out, identify, observe, notice, take in, understand, comprehend, become aware of, or realize or make sense of something.

You intuitively know that there is power in getting someone to change their behavior by changing their perception. When is the last time you said to someone: “Look at it this way”, or “How would you feel if . . .?” By using such questions, you were attempting to get that person to change the way they were feeling or behaving by getting them to change their perceptual filters.

These ways of seeing things have a profound effect on how you feel and react. They come from all the beliefs and underlying assumptions that you hold in your mind from your education, spiritual or religious training, the community you were raised in, your social status in that community, your education and teachers, your economic prosperity or poverty, your family and friends, fashions and others opinions, TV and advertising, and even from world events of your time in history like the depression or the Viet Nam war. All of the events, beliefs, reactions, learnings, are like a tapestry woven together making you who you are today. And then you unconsciously and from habit perceive your world through this unique and rich lens of installed beliefs and assumptions.

The beliefs and assumptions that make up your filtering got “installed” or integrated without your even being consciously aware that anything was being installed, let alone of what was being integrated. Until you can figure out how to change your filtering, to a large extent, you are at the mercy of your unconscious “perceptual filtering”. Unfortunately, those around you are at the mercy of your unconscious “perceptual filtering” too!

Now, based on this BFO – that your perceptions dictate your reactions and your reactions dictate your behavior, and your behavior gives you the results you get in life - if you want to change the results you are getting in your life and in your business; the best place to start is in your perceptions. So, the first step in getting the foundational start of changing your results is to carefully examine your perceptual filtering process of what you perceive and then react to. What good real information out there is getting through the filtering, and maybe even more importantly, what are you unconsciously filtering out that might help you get the results you want?

You can also call this filtering a mindset. You will want a mindset or filter that works for you, allowing in information that benefits and enhances, allowing you to feel more resourceful and powerful and secure. You also want a filtering system that filters out erroneous, inaccurate or demeaning information that makes you feel powerless, or undeserving.

But here is the problem. How can you begin to see anything differently than how you have always seen it? Albert Einstein said “The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level at which we created them.” What he meant in other words is that you can’t change your behaviors with the same perceptual filtering lens that you have habitually been using.

And you can’t see what you can’t see, and you don’t know what you don’t know. That is why changing your unrewarding results to results that give you success is something not easily done alone. Few people can easily see their world with new lenses of their own means. You have to get different lenses to change your filtering to solve your issues and challenges. That is most easily done by borrowing someone else’s filters to get a new perspective.

That’s why mentors, mastermind groups, informational books and autobiographies, and modeling experts in your field works so well to move you along your path to success. You get to borrow their perspective and see what options are available to you with the new lenses.

That is exactly what a good professional coach does for you too. They get you to change your mindset and your perceptual filtering, in a way that makes it possible to react positively and creatively. Next, a good coach will hold you accountable for what you said you wanted and for how you behave to help make you successful. Who will you choose to help with altering your perceptions today?

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. Anais Nin

Author's Bio: 

Denise Pederson, Coach Companion, presents an exciting new model of personal development. We empower busy professionals to experience their life and work to the fullest potential through coaching and training with an emphasis on self perception and goal setting to achieve rapid results. Get your success tips at www.coach-companion.com